Just like anything worth doing is worth doing well — a hat-trick of great big black beers, all three of which are weird and wonderful in their own ways, just to pick an example entirely at random — so too is any pattern worth keeping at all equally worth smashing to pieces. So here’s me, leaping off my big boozy plateau into a delightful little mountain stream of midstrength loveliness — and writing up my second Liberty beer in a row, which helps make up for their relative absence from here (as against how often they were mentioned in the podcasts, and in person).
And I do bang on about session beer a lot, I suppose. Certainly more than Normal People. I first had this around about the time we recorded our podcast episode dedicated to mistrength beer, but it unaccountably goes unmentioned. Making up for that, as I put this post together, I’ve finally gotten around to adding a “Sessionable” tag, which will hopefully continue to attract a steady sequence of delicious pints of beer. Also, I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that I can now describe something other than my beloved Hallertau ‘Minimus’ itself as being broadly “in the Minimus mold”. The comparisons really are inescapable, what with this being a hoppy golden ale / very-pale pale ale and in the same booze-bracket as its friend from further North.
Hallertau have taken to slightly-tweaking Minimus in response to changing seasons / ingredients / random dice rolls / shifting whims / whatever / all of the above, and its ‘Winter’ incarnation had just hit the taps at work the night before. On blearily blinking into the unforgiving daylight the next morning — because it was morning, you understand, not because of over-indulgence: I was, after all, drinking Minimus — I somehow managed to read and comprehend a message on my phone to the effect that NZ Beer Blog’s Martin and Yeastie Boys’ Stu were having a beer at Hashigo and suggesting that I should join in. When I also read, on the Twitters, that they’d just tapped a keg of Taranaki Session Beer and that 8 Wired’s Søren was also on his way in for a pint, the thought of an Accidental Beer Nerd Convention was irresistable. And so off into this frequently-awful overlit thing you all call “daytime” I ventured.1
And well done, all of you that made my uncharacteristically-early start so worth-while. That beer was delicious, deserving of high praise even if I wasn’t such a weirdo about my midstrengthables, and the company was bloody marvellous. If anything, TSB was a touch sweeter than the Winter Edition of Minimus, and Liberty’s Joe had apparently tried some clever trick (the details of which were not entirely over my head at the time, but which have long since turned to mist and evaporated from my brainpan) with his water chemistry to help get around the basically-inevitable problem of the slight ‘gap’ in the palate that happens when you dip back down to this kind of weight. Even if you happened, at the time, not to care about the bonus of Something Sessionable, this is glorious.
It must be said, also, that if you can make a big-ass imperial stout and one of these with equal grace, then you’re doing very well indeed. After a few conversations back and forth, Joe floated the idea of me heading up to the ‘Naki to join in a Liberty Brew Day and maybe doing a ‘collaboration’ (ludicrously one-sided as it’d be, with me playing Second Assistant Who Tries Not To Break Things). Given the range encompassed by this thing and the one right-before it in the Diary, I’m rather deliriously spoilt for choice. (But I do have a few ideas…)
I’m glad I got the physical Diary in the shot, too. It’s been a while since it made an appearance, and I think I lined it up behind my pint after Stu commented that the thing-itself was rather surprisingly smaller than he’d assumed, after seeing its scans on here. My handwriting, just by the way, is tiny — when I started school, there was some horrible mental collision between those oddly-hugely-lined exercise books they make you use and the regular-random-notepaper my Dad let me scrawl in at home. It permanently broke my sense of appropriate scale for the handwritten word, accidentally turning me into a very effecient indeed user of paper. Even two-hour law school lectures wouldn’t see me use more than both sides of a single sheet of A4.
Verbatim: Liberty Brewing ‘Taranaki Session Beer’ 21/6/11 3.7% on tap @ HZ. Mini beer nerd convention by accident, with Martin + Stu + Søren. Towards the end of the keg, hazy barley-sugar orange. After (Winter) Minimus returned to MH last night. What a turnaround after the last three! This is similarly-pitched loveliness, maybe a little sweeter with slightly-less of that inevitable palate-gap, perhaps.
1: Anyone who bothers to check metadata would discover that my photo is timestamped at slightly-before 2pm. Which you might not think is “the morning”. But you have to remember Warren Ellis’a rule: if I’ve been awake for less than two hours, then it’s morning, no matter what the goddamn clock says.
— a: I mean the author, not the musician.
Originally posted: 22 November 2011