Last birthday, or perhaps it was last Christmas, Alexander bought me a book entitled "1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die". So far it has remained uninvestigated on my desk, but the other day I picked it up (as you can imagine it is not a light volume) and flicked through its pages and started to do a little graveyard calculating. Given that average life expectancy for a man in the UK is currently just over 78 years, that means that even if I started now and managed to find, sample and consume one of the selections every week, I would have to arrange for the final 273 bottles to be packed into my coffin with me. Given that I have always fancied donating my body to a Medical School for dissection practice, this would mean that the 273 bottles would fall into the hands of the medical students : and we all know they would probably finish the collection off in about 45 minutes. So it is time to start, it is time to launch a fine symbiotic dual quest : drinking more beer and living longer. It is time to tick off the pages.
We are lucky at the moment because there is such a wide and wonderful range of bottled real beers available, not just in specialty shops but also in local supermarkets. My first bottle (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale) was bought in my local Tesco store and, despite the fact that it had been lovingly brewed and bottled in Chico, California and shipped halfway around the world, cost me less than £2. Whistling the Star Spangled Banner I carefully poured the rich amber liquid into a Portland Microbrew glass (a present from a fellow blogger, thank you Christine) and read the Tasting Notes for the last time.
"Fresh grassy, resiny hop nose with orangy undercurrents; also fruity with maybe just a hint of peachiness. In the mouth, it is crisp and dry up front, with a slightly toasty malt character that then blends into a clean and assertive hop bitterness and a long perfumed bitter finish"
I won't pretend to have noticed a tenth of those flavours, perfumes or undercurrents and I will therefore provide a Yorkshireman's assessment of its' overall character : A GRAND GLASS OF BEER.