Lush Life

Bank Holidays are the perfect opportunity for family daytrips or simply sitting at home with your feet up watching The Great Escape. Or attending The World Gravy Wrestling Championships-as I was invited to. That would have probably made for an interesting, quirky blog post. However, after the excesses of a day’s drinking and a Sunday night spent at Outstanding Brewery, I decided to pass on the opportunity.

But they say there is no rest for the wicked and so it proved as a summons from the WHB brought me and Archimedes once more to the Trackside. I’d tried Buffy’s Bitter earlier in the week and been unimpressed. Trying Buffy’s Polly’s Folly did little to change my mind. This is supposed to be a mixture of “hoppiness, citrus fruit and malt” and have a “lively (?), satisfying feel.” In fact it tasted of burnt malt and no hops.

Prospect Silver Tally was only 3.7% but bland. Bowland Pheasant Plucker (winner of the most misquoted beer of the year award) was even weaker at 3.6%. This was nice and golden but had too much butterscotch in it for my taste. Alas-my kingdom for a crisp pint of Phoenix or Pictish. Waiting for the rain to ease, I settled for Happy Daze cider. This is the first time I’ve had this weak (4.5%) cider sober and I don’t think I will bother again-it’s rough and not a patch on Cheddar Valley.

Despite the presence of the WHB, we decided to go upmarket and headed for MALT. There could only be one choice-Outstanding Standing Out and we were soon enjoying a pint or three of this. Our meditations on the state of the world’s economy where interrupted when Eddie, the eager, legal beagle staggered in. Not being a work day, he’d abandoned all pretence and hit the cheap meths early. The smell was quite overpowering and I think it was this that made our thoughts turn to whisky.

First up was the Glenlivet 21 year old. This was a pleasant amber colour with a marmalade and oak nose. There’s some debate as to whether you should add water to this but without it, you got a full bodied blast of spicy oak, ginger and a slightly nutty, strong finish.

Next up was the limited edition Johnnie Walker Blue Label. For your £15 a shot, you get a delicate blend of some 15 rare whiskies. It’s initially surprisingly smooth but then you get the warm, slightly peaty, bittersweet chocolate taste. Unusual, but for my money, the Macallan 1841 is a better whisky.

Last stop was the Robert Peel and, having had beer, whisky and cider; it was obviously time for wine. A bottle of the excellent festival Sauvignon Blanc was quickly procured and despatched.

Having spent all my shopping money on booze, Monday’s dining had to be somewhat improvised. Luckily a six pack of McCoys Salt & Vinegar (not for me the exotic multipack) came to the rescue. This has two advantages-the flavour being satisfyingly strong and coming in individual bags, any remaining can be left for next time. And you can buy them in Poundland.


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