Like many others, I have been supping the odd beer at home, mainly, it has to be said, in the garden around five o'clock if the weather has been fine. It has on the odd occasion needed a fleece to keep warm, given that here, it never seems to be sunny but not windy. Somehow though it feels more conducive to enjoyment and also better for mental well-being, to drink a beer in the fresh air, rather than in a lumpen mess on the couch in front of the TV. I suppose too, it is just that bit more agreeable, with blue skies, a glass in hand and an overabundance of crisps or Pringles. In fact, together with the lovely E, it has been quite pally really.
Surprisingly, despite several weeks cheek by jowl, we haven't nearly killed each other yet. In fact, it has been pretty amicable. As an aside to that, I fancy the story might be a tad different if we had been marooned in our small London flat. At the very least I imagine, tempers would have become frayed, but here in the Centre of the Universe, we have space to get away from each other. The garden too has been a fantastic port in a storm and though it won't win any prizes, it is neat and tidy. (My main concern is that the neighbours don't get a petition up against us, so we are doing fine on that score at least).
In addition, we have a Zoom meeting every Sunday with our pals from the Tavern. It started off a little stutteringly, but just like the real thing, the Virtual Tavern has become more lively as we get used to the medium. Oddly - and you won't believe this - the sessions themselves get more animated and indeed vivacious, as we sup more ale. It was ever thus I guess and with some diehards staying yakking for several hours, not so bad really, though clearly we all yearn for the real thing, which we agree without dissent, is still a long time off.
I've been missing a decent pint of cask though and have been buying bag in the box stuff from our local PictishBrewery, but have been hankering after a cask conditioned stout. Thankfully I have located some and tomorrow (I think) five litres of stout will come from Blackjack Brewery in Manchester. It is described as "balances of malt, sweetness, bitterness and hedgerow hoppy aroma." That'll do. I have had it in the Blackjack Tap before, so I'm looking forward to it, even though it is re-racked, but like the Pictish beers, fine if you don't leave it hanging around too long. Not a likely outcome I can assure you. Since I don't have a bag-in-box adaptor - didn't anticipate the need sadly - like my Pictish beers, I'll rig up a workaround. Expect to see photos of tightly sparkled stout sometime tomorrow.
It is even more surprising that we haven't killed each other. The day after lockdown E suffered a sudden onset of rather severe sciatica, which is only now almost gone. Her Stoic nature alone made survival of that possible.
My other go to lockdown beer, as mentioned before, is St Austell Proper Job. Why not share your lockdown favourites here.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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