When given the opportunity to combine two of my hobbies, I usually jump at the chance. Thus the adventure of a night on the ale, and a visit to the Theatre of Dreams proved too tempting. And what a night-pure poetry in motion and luckily I had a good view of the action. And that was just the barmaid in the Thirsty Scholar!
Pre match drinking was a leisurely crawl of the bottom end of Deansgate/Oxford Road, with the compulsory stops at Knott Bar, Kro Bar etc. Cask at the corner of Liverpool Road proved particularly popular, so much so, that it was chosen as first port of call on the return journey. It’s a small continental style bar that specialises in foreign beer, although, as the name suggests, it does sell cask ale. What sets it apart from the many clones that seem intent on promoting only Belgium beers is the range of German beers. I always think it’s a pity that more places don’t get some decent Kraut stuff in. Is it a case of don’t mention the war?
Anyway, going with the flow, I tried some of the Belgium delights. Vedett Extra Blond (5.2%) brewed by Duvel I believe, was indeed blonde and crystal clear. An initial sweetness gave way to a rather refreshing moderate bitterness. Westmalle Triple (9.5%) was hazy gold in colour with an aromatic mix of citrus and sweet malt on the nose. Complex tasting, it has tart fruit, hops and alcohol in the body. Another classic is Pauwel Kwak (8%) whose smooth taste belies its strength.
Crossing the Maginot Line, I tucked into Schneider Weisse (5.4%) and a Paulaner Hefe Weisbier, pretty mainstream, but proven quality drinking. The Erdinger Dunkel (5.6%) wasn’t to my taste. Sweet caramel and smoky flavours don’t do it for me. On the other hand Erdinger Pikantus, despite being 7.6%, was much better balanced, if not still quite the drink for me.
A very enjoyable session, with an unusual amount of time given over to our foreign cousins. If only they would return the compliment…