I’m sat on my sofa. I’m bored. Nobody wants to go out until half 8. City Arms shuts at 8. This is a dilemma. Actually it isn’t, I just get up and set off for the pub.
Llinos the trusty bar person tells me I’ll like the Hopcraft Citra Plus. I do but it’s quite dry. It made me thirsty. 81 IBU. Hoppy. I kind of want a lemonade now.
Chris, the manager of Urban Tap House arrives in the pub. This is handy. I go for the opposite of lemonade, a Two Brewers’ Bitter from Banks And Taylor. It actually quenched my thirst. Light, not too hoppy. Not strong either, long night ahead.
On to Tap House. I’ve tried almost everything here so reluctantly go for the Tiny Rebel Old Stock Ale. This is weird. I used to drink lager because I didn’t like old man bitter, then I got into craft ale and they’ve made an old man bitter!
Chelle has finished her shift and wants to get into this reviewing lark. We share a bottle of Wiper & True Winter Rye. Crisp and dry but not like the 90s chip oil. Clearly that was bullshit. Amber. Doesn’t taste like a spirit but acts like one.
Chelle – like walking into your house from the snow, crisp and refreshing and gives you a warm glow.
Wild Brewing Company. Sourdough. This is a Chris recommendation and he’s now joined the review panel too, along with Sian who’s just arrived. This is actually made from bread yeast. It’s lovely but reminds me of being at a music festival, it’s first thing in the morning so you’re on the breakfast alcohol. You’ve had one can of Strongbow and need to ease yourself into the crate of lager that’s warming up in the tent so you’ve poured a bit of lager into your cider to stop the heartburn. Smells like the back of my record shop when the crab apples have fallen off the tree and are fermenting.
Chelle : Tastes like a clean dirty pint. Fresher than Das Boot in ring of fire. (No, I don’t know what that means either.).
Chris: Like a slighty sour Berlinda Carlisle (Berliner Weisser) less like cider than Oliver’s that tastes like a fermented septic tank.
Sian: Smells of cola bottles left in a gym bag.
But we all genuinely like it.
Two men chatting in toilets complaining that the Batman noise prints (Kerpow etc) ruined the Marvel theme of the artwork. Brilliant. I like this level of decor criticism.
We move on to Brodie’s Hackney Red. It smells of conkers on a school yard and tastes of fierce competition.
Chris: Dry, grassy, hoppy, resin nose. Refreshing mouth feel. Like kicking a pixie to liquid and drinking it.
Chelle: Sweet start, weak finish. Like Southampton. (I probably added the last bit).
We then ventured to Dempseys (“to see the fireworks” – Sarah Crosbie). I had 3 pints of Brains SA Gold, danced to the Happy Mondays, saw no fireworks whatsoever, have no idea what time I left, got on a free bus and spent 36 hours in bed. That’s the way to start any year.