Drinking Outside The Box

With Simon Woods – wine for people who have a life

To beer or not to beer April 5, 2009 at 10:25 pm

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My first liquid love is wine, but in my youth, it was beer that ignited my passions. Not beer of the wife-beater variety, but beer that tasted of beer, as opposed to all that chill-filtered, ultra-smooth pap that people seem to inisist on pouring down their throats in unfeasibly large quantities. I used to even make the stuff, thanks to a book called ‘Brewing Beers Like Those You Buy’ by a chap called Dave Line. My version of Greene King’s Strong Pale Ale prompted someone to say, ‘If you could play guitar like you make beer, you’d be Jimi Hendrix’ – left unsaid was the fact that if I made beer like I played guitar, it’d be Skol…

Anyway, tonight, we’ve supped a nice bottle of Rioja (1998 Lealtanza Reserva) but I was still feeling thirsty come Match of the Day. So I turned to beer, in the shape of a rather large bottle of Innis & Gunn Original, which has been ‘carefully matured [in oak barrels] for 77 days prior to bottling’. At 6.6%, it’s not a shy fawn – the vinous equivalent of maybe Shiraz from the warmer bits of South Australia, or Californian Zinfandel. Some versions of such wines have a cerebral side to their brawny physique; others don’t. And sadly, this falls into the latter category. I like its richness and full flavour, but it lacks the hoppy bite to rein in the flesh – think of a slightly overweight person without the necessary corsetry. On second thoughts, don’t – you may have bad dreams…

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