Sunday 30 January 2011

Open it! Don't open it...

Open it! Don't open it... OPEN it!!!


ok do... *sigh*

Yeah so it's the end of January and I'm still catching up on some interesting threads from last year. Who knows? Perhaps by the end of 2011 I'll have dealt with all the loose ends rather than sitting in the larder looking at the 'collection' of beers I've managed to gather up, painstakingly working out which one is the PERFECT beer for this particular moment...

I was semi-inspired by an initiative towards the end of last year from Mark Dredge called 'open it'. Essentially a rallying call to beer types to get out those beers that have been lingering in the cellar. Those beers that have become resident, hoarded or stashed. Those special beers regarded by oddballs like myself as to be worthy of not being drunk just yet, they are being saved for the perfect moment.

If you have a bottle of Ambrosia - do you drink it straight away? Or do you save it for the evening before the Great Reckoning?
Well the gods seem to have omitted guidance on bottle ageing and certainly didn't give a fuck about best before dates or suchlike.

That's the problem with collections you see.

I suspect that most bloggers/experts/aficionado/nerds are collectors or indeed hoarders. It doesn't necessarily mean they all have cellars full of hard to find delights (they do). It does mean they collect experiences, tastes and memories (and beers). That's what's unsettling about an initiative like 'open it'.

I regularly find myself sitting in the larder procrastinating over my small but respectable stash, angst ridden, attempting to decipher which particular drink fits the moment perfectly. That's also why I'm ohhh 7 weeks behind the rest of the beer blogging world (and a comfortably detached 52 in the wikio wankings).

So in mitigation...

I did open a few from the stores over December they were lovely, I'm not going to brag... but they were all rare and all aged to perfection! HA! You see I run a brilliant bar, as such I drink fair bit and drink well. I drink fresh beer, aged beer and everything in between. I constantly train people and I sell people stuff that they have never tried before (it's ace!) It's my bread and butter. I also quite like drinking brilliant beer in the company of friends, in bars and sometimes in a state of disrepair. This clearly does not lend itself to good writing and thus, reader, I have spared you the details.

Apologies to Mark Dredge


Hitachino Nest - Red Rice Ale - 7%
Hmm, now then, Rice Ale? Now of course I've slagged off the use of Rice in beer on many an occasion, Budwieser are the most prominent 'bastard adjunct' brewer but this is different of course and is a beer brewed with Red Rice - apparently it's ancient. It certainly makes for a bonkers ale.

Golden amber with a reddish tinge, strawberry scented, grapey and tangy with gentle fermented rice almost miso edge.

There's a little bit of umami soy sauce-ness there along with Blackpool rock. It's a bit like a tripel in body but is tangerine-tart enough to quench a 10 hour bar shift or indeed a 3 am thirst.

People who I have spoken to about this brewery have variously described their beers as OK, brilliant, cute or intriguing. I am falling in to the latter camp, this is a very good beer - it takes the japanese sweet/savoury umami sensibility and holds fourth a complex, slaking, oddity of a beer.

Oh yeah and it's dead fucking cute and their website is suitably bonkers...