These words were whispered in my presence by Eddie, the eager, legal beagle late on Friday night as we sat in quiet contemplation. But first, dear reader, let us go back first to a more innocent age. Let us go back to where it all began some hours earlier.
Eddie was recovering from his latest back, sack and crack wax-apparently it’s now compulsory before you are allowed to visit Ellan Vannin. Needing the anaesthetic healing properties of alcohol, he proposed some imbibing. I had reached page two of À la recherche du temps perdu so was naturally reluctant, but who can argue with an agent of the law?
A bus strike meant that Manchester was the only viable appealing option, so off we eagerly trod. First stop was the English Lounge, busy with the early Friday crowd, and an appointment with some Adnams. The Unicorn on Church St delivered some Golden Pippin in much better condition than my last visit and the Bank delivered up some decent Lancaster Blonde.
An interesting selection in the City Arms but we eventually settled for Hop Back Crop Circle, something I’ve not had on cask for awhile. Neatly side stepping the desperate students queuing to get into Revolution on Oxford Road, we headed for Odder. This trendy student haunt yielded up yet more Pippin, albeit at the dizzy heights of £3 a pint. Who says students have no money?
Down to Pevril of the Peak next and, er, some more Pippin. No wonder Copper Dragon are doing well! A short hop took us to the refined interior of the Britons Protection where Robinsons Unicorn was on top form and decidedly fruity. Now all this (pleasingly consistent) beer was all well and good but it was making me and Eddie thirsty. So, not wishing to waste valuable drinking time, a joe baxi was commandeered to take us up to the Marble Arch.
And it was here, at the Marble, that Eddie spoke his words of love. However, he hadn’t been overcome by my manly physique and this wasn’t some sort of homoerotic overture. No, the source of his admiration was our first pint-Pictish Sauvin Blanc. Presented here in top form, it merely confirmed my belief that this is the cask beer of the year. Beautifully aromatic, this 4.8% hop beauty is full of mouth puckering, tangy, gooseberries and is incredibly moreish. It’s a delight and indeed a privilege, to throw this nectar down your neck. Your palate usually starts to go after a gallon or so but this is just the stuff to revitalise it.
However, loose lips sink ships and Eddie couldn’t help but share his joy. Blabbing to all and sundry about its delights, the greedy bounders had soon drunk it dry. To be honest, it was probably a good thing, as Eddie had come over all Gollum-like and was muttering about "my precious". Being men of the world, we took this on the chin and drowned our sorrows with foaming pints of Pictish Alchemy and Marble’s very own Pint. Eddie kept looking hopefully over at the bar as the staff played with the handpumps but they weren’t pulling through any new beers-not at that time of night-but merely getting ready to shut up shop. So it was home, via some chips and dreams of Nelson Sauvin.