Monthly Archives: December 2014

New Beer! Winter Holidays Edition

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Since I introduced iDJ to the concept of Christmas ale/beer, he has embraced it wholeheartedly. He bought us two boxes of imported beer, plus whatever we find at Aldi or Lidl or Tesco.

Shall I do most to least favourite, or vice-versa? Oh, I think worst to best, as I’m probably funnier when complaining than when I’m happy.

Worst:

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Rogue Yellow Snow IPA, 6.5%. Oregon, USA. It’s meant to be bitter and it sure is. This I could not drink at all. Every sip left me making a horrible noise at the aftertaste. It felt like I was drinking poison. I’m sorry we have two more of these to drink, because I’m not touching it.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration, 6.8%. California, USA. I drank it, but again it was awfully bitter and didn’t taste of much else: not very Christmassy at all. I think it is safe to say that as a general rule, I do not like IPA.

Middling: From here on it gets tough, as I’d have all of these again!

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Bateman’s Rosey Nosey, 4.7%. From Lincolnshire, England, UK. Very easy to drink, and as we found it in Aldi, we have had more of this than any of the others so far. Not very much like a Holiday ale, but still a nice find, so try it if you can.

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Brewdog’s Santa Paws, 4.5%. Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK. Tasty, but not a holiday ale. Will never be made again, and I hope their next effort is better.

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Wychwood’s Bah Humbug, 5%. Oxfordshire, England, UK. Found in Aldi, yay! Very warming on fist taste, despite the relatively low alcohol content. They did a good job on the spices. They are famous for their Hobgoblin beer, which is probably also found in the USA. Maybe.

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Sierra Nevada Snow Wit IPA, 5.7%. This is a Belgian-style IPA, and as such an odd combination I loved it. Like drinking a Mandarin orange. Fabulous.

Best: The last three are a tie, I think…

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Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale, 6.9%, again from California (seeing a trend here?). Had this last year but it is still just lovely. The smell of milk chocolate very time you take a sip is just wonderful.

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Anchor Brewing’s 2014 Christmas ale, California, USA. They have been doing this for 40 years and certainly excel at it. Very very sad the label is torn, as we are saving any labels we can to make tree ornaments. They change the tree species every year, so it is doubly sad to have it be torn on import to us in Ireland. Always always drink this on the holidays if you can.

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Eight Degrees’ Belgian Dubbel, 7.2%, and from Cork, Ireland! We were surprised how much we like this beer, and it seems to be our favourite. They say ‘Christmas pudding in a glass’ and they aren’t wrong. So tasty and very very much the spirit of the season in a glass. Very well done – especially considering the decades of experience other breweries have had – keep it up, lads!

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New Stop-Smoking Method for Certain Phobics?

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I had something unusual happen to me this afternoon. Something that’s never happened before, something I have never even heard of in my over-40 years on this planet…

When I went for my usual 12:30 smoke break, my lighter wouldn’t light. It’s a disposable one, and it was sparking just fine so the flint wasn’t gone. I could see their was still fluid in it, too. Sometimes a cheapo lighter won’t light when it is too cold, but it was 10 C out, so that wasn’t the problem either.

I kept trying, as you do, while looking around for a fellow smoker to bum a light from if my lighter was truly dead. One two three four five six… suddenly there was a glob of something sticky and wet on my sparking-thumb. It looked like a bloody blackened booger (bogey).

“What the fuck?” said I, as I wiped it off on the wall. On further inspection, there was something slimy and brown on the roller wheel of my lighter. I had a tissue in my pocket and wiped the goop off, and as I did so I saw something inside my lighter.

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In there. (Chapstick tube for scale)

Now, I’ve found pocket-lint in that little space, but I have never seen legs before.

Legs that once belonged to a spider that got sucked up into the wheel and smushed onto my thumb.

I have to wonder how it got in there, and when. Overnight seems most plausible, which means it may or may not have survived a lot of small fires before I sparked it to death. But I suppose it could have crawled inside in the hour since my last cig. Wee spidereen could have fallen into my hi-vis vest pocket, and decided to hide in the smallest place possible.

But in any case: I had a spider just inches from my eyes, nose and mouth that could have – should have! – jumped out to safety onto my face.

If that won’t make any arachnophobic smokers quit, I don’t know what will!

Sadly, I’m rather fond of spiders, and my smokey-treats.

Ruined Aromas

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I’m hoping this will be a comment-heavy post. I think we’ve all experienced what I want to talk about, but I can’t remember anyone discussing it before. So off we go!

‘Ruined aromas.’ By that, I mean when a favourite (or at least pleasant) scent has been destroyed in your heart/mind/nose forever by an association that you just can’t break.

My examples that made me write this:

Back in my mid-twenties, I used to really like a certain spray air freshener. Forget what it was, something totally artificial and weird. Cranberry-mulberry or some shit like that. Thankfully, nothing that is found in nature after what happened to ruin it forever for me. In any case, I liked it, and bought it for light use at home – to cover smoking stink, dirty cat litter wafts, and various and numerable dog-smells.

Until…. someone bought it for use in the bathrooms at work. Now, while our own poo doesn’t smell of roses (if it does, you should see your doctor or change your diet), the smell of a stranger’s shit is just plain disgusting. The smell of a stranger’s shit with half a can of air freshener sprayed on top is worse. Oh so very much worse when that spray is familiar and a scent you used to) like. I tried to enjoy it again at home, and the smell-memory just wouldn’t leave me. Tossed in the bin – and you all know I hate wasting anything.

More recently, we got some lemon-scented antibacterial cleaning spray. It smelled nice; a light lemon scent.

Then the dog shit all over the spare room for two days and our only cleaner had a nice, light lemon scent. Let me say that the two odours didn’t combine well, and now I can’t use the stuff at all anymore without imagining that I also smell dog diarrhoea. You can also thank me for not describing in detail the visuals I also recall on smelling this particular cleaning product.

My disgust seems to center around poo. Hmmm.

While I probably border on being a super-taster, and super-smeller, I am sure that this has happened to you, too. Let’s hear it, and remember you can tell me all the really gross stuff and it will be fabulous!