Time for a cherry pie of an evening after a day of sunshine and the melodious sound of children's laughter. Or, at least, as close as one can ever actually get in reality that is not based on selected shots from those odd placeholder photo images you can get on the internet these days. As it is a cherry pie that we have before us I was rooting in the cupboard to find something suitable and decided upon the Brixton Brewery Windrush Stout that I got in a while back. Dry stout, chocolate malt and a sweet cheery cherry pie, what could be better?
There is also the fact that I am awash with ale at the moment and need to clear some space for the summer holidays, so any excuse is a good excuse, right? Would you like to know more?
This poured deep and dark and smooth without too much in the way of wasted action, forming a decent caramel tinged head that stuck around and behaved on the thinner end of stouts. Good bubbles up the sides of the deep and a pleasing darkness to the whole thing. It is barely translucent being held up to the sunlight and there is a good nose of bitter dark chocolate. Not quite as tart as the chocolate on a Black Forest Gateaux but heading definitely in that direction, none of your soft milk chocolate for this bad boy! There's a dryness and roast aspect to it on the very edge of the sense of smell, like the salt in the sea breeze at the ports, but it never quite makes it to the palate.
Once in through the hatch the real storm breaks. Thin and blasted, like rain in a sea-borne storm in the Atlantic, winds drawn up like armies and throwing the waves like weapon strikes to cripple and bow the steel sides of ships caught in their glare. Cawing seagulls accompany the first spume-ridden foray into the mouth, sour rather than sweet, across the tongue and then cascading like water against black rock in the gunnels of the cheeks and down the sides. Sloshing into the hold and causing wooden crates to float and crash mercilessly against the sides like a carbonated brew. Good quality strength here, fully expanding within the 5% ABV to punch at its weight and no more and no less. It is good and bitter, thinner than the stouts I have been having this year but well-matched to the cherry pie and the pastry.
The head remains, but is lighter now and thinner than before, with a bitterness to the whole affair in subsequent tastes that offsets the sugar added to deal with the cherry. Darkness remains, the black of shadow beneath the clouds enhanced by the lateness of the hour and the sturdiness of the malt. It is a dry stout, exactly as proclaimed on the bottle, and very much has me in mind of the air on the underground coupled with a rainy day by the river after hot sunshine and a heatwave. Don't look people in the eye, don't strike up a conversation and don't offer your seat to anyone unless they really need it. Dash between the trains using the free newspaper to keep off the drops uselessly, smile in that way British people do with nervous panic and then settle with some earphones.
This is best enjoyed on an evening in the Capital having walked through the Mall and past Westminster. Get a good tan whilst checking out the Tower of London and then get rained on as you dash between underground stations for the Hell of it. Seek out the different hostelries near the street exists and make a quick detour round to Euston to walk by the Nose Hospital because it is good architecture. Shake off the rain, pour yourself a bottle and loosen the tie and collar, you're in for a relaxing night.