Verbatim: Fuller’s 1845 Strong Ale. 500ml, $5, 6.4%, 1/9/05. I’m old, and using a fake pen from Wallace. Watching Scrubs. It’s good n’ big. Ruby-brown. Light aroma, but quite nice and full. Very British. Methinks most people would like it. But it’s a bit like the Tangle Foot; sneaks right the hell up on you.
Verbatim Afterthoughts, November 2008: Just noticed this. Didn’t realise I’d had it before. — Got it in Sept? 08 at Malthouse. Loved the huge maltiness, when all around me was going for hoppiness.
Afterthoughts, October 2010: See? Afterthoughts are a great idea. There’s some actual handwritten ones! And I really should always carry my damn Diary.
Verbatim: Badger Original Ale. 500ml, $5, 4.6%, 12/8/05. Watching pirate West Wing. I really need to visit these boys. This is great stuff, too. It’s just a big, solid ale.
Afterthoughts, October 2010: The relative terseness of this note seems to suggest I was suffering from a sort of (enjoyable) Badger Goodness Overload, even three months after the most-recent Diary mentions. Perhaps I was still regularly quaffing their beers in the interim. Seems likely. That, or my note-taking was simply sidelined when I was distracted by good TV.
Verbatim: St Peter’s Winter Ale. 500ml, $5, 6.5%, 8/5/05. First off: most gorgeous bottle ever. Green oval, pure vintage. Looks like good medicine and smells a bit the same. Dark as dark, with a few brownish bubbles. Tastes mad. A little scary, even. Fruitcake flavours all over the place, a little spicy. Definately a flask of winter goodness. Goes seriously well with a big old stew, and that’s just what G.’s jigged up. Nice.
Afterthoughts, October 2010: I was massively impressed by this one, and recall it very well. I haven’t been able to find it since, sadly. The bottle is also sufficiently gorgeous that, when for a while they weren’t able to use the proper old-school ones (during a shortage or whatever), the beers actually came with a tag that apologised for their absence.
Verbatim: Badger Golden Glory. 500ml, $5, 4.5%, 7/5/05. Flat day. Smells all peachy and gorgeous. But as G. says, it’s one little weakness is like fruit tea: smells better than tastes — but that’s relative, as it still tastes seriously good.
Afterthoughts, October 2010: A rather-similar golden ale from the same place as the original. Lighter and even fruitier, if anything. These things usually do exceptionally well as ‘evangelistic’ beers to people who say “I don’t like beer”. It still didn’t work on my friend Robyn, though; I’m still trying.
Verbatim: Badger Golden Champion. 500ml, $5, 5%, 4/5/05, with sausages + Firefly. I’m visiting these guys and shaking the hand of the man what makes their beer. Gold, indeed. Really tasty. Warm fruitiness. Peaches, quite a bit. It’s really good. [Brewed w/ elderflower!]
Afterthoughts, October 2010: A nice early example of what developed into a very fruitful little obsession with golden ale. It’s a helluva useful style; the lightness and refreshingness of a light lager, but with the depth of flavour of a good ale.
A.K.A. Belhaven ‘Export’, A.K.A. Belhaven 80 Shilling (when it’s in casks). And, on the same day as the Diary gets its first English beer, it also gets this, its first Scot.
Verbatim: Bellhaven Scottish Ale. 330ml, $5, 3.9%, 16/4/05. Ooh. 1719 est’d. Darker amber. Very full taste. Nutty, in fact. But very well made. Good middle between darker ales + lighter stouts.
Afterthoughts, October 2010: Wait, what? “Lighter stouts”? I have literally no idea to what I might’ve been referring, there. It scarcely even makes sense if all you’re talking about is body, rather than colour. Sometimes I am a mystery to myself. I’d speculate that I was drunk, but this is an absurdly sessionable 80/- — maybe that Tangle Foot really did a number on me, as per its reputation.
This is a beer I’ve had on many occasions, and have a real fondness for. Its first Diary entry occurs here in April 2005 (also the first English listing) but even that mentions that it’s been enjoyed before. And the photo here comes from years after that, when I randomly spotted it in the fridge at the Malthouse. Saw it in a photo I’d taken the night before, in fact, and went straight back to have some.
I’d only just recently (at last!) gotten myself a nice digital camera (or a camera at all, if it comes to that), so the new-gadget enthusiasm coupled with the beer nostalgia made taking a photo irresistible, despite the funny looks that doing so drew. I liked how it turned out, and a habit was fairly instantly formed.
Verbatim: Badger Tangle Foot. 500ml, $5, 5.0%, 16/4/05. Loads of Brit stuff @ K&G’s. So the return of tangle foot. Love it. Amber ale. Quite distinctive, almost fruity. Mystery warmness to it. Can definately see how it was named. “Deceptively drinkable”, as they say. Badger was est’d 1777. Who knew? Coppery. Like the überhopped Macs, almost.
Afterthoughts, October 2010: The “überhopped Macs” I mention was their ‘Copperhop’, a now-retired IPA that I remember as being quite decent. A quick look at the reviews finds a decent amount of praise for its balance; malt and hops in harmonious presence. That could be what I’m on about, in my comparison.
Verbatim: Grimbergen Double. 330ml, $8, 6.5%, 3/4/05. Bless those Belgian monks. The Nobertines have made a great, accessable abbey beer. Dark red-brown, bubbly, but not overstrong. (Despite neat / freaky eagle on the label.)
Afterthoughts, October 2010: From this entry, and the previous, it appears I occasionally have trouble with spelling the word “accessible”. I’m also wrong to credit the monks; a lot of these Belgian “Abbey-style” beers are just Abbey-style, these days, with production done (as here, and with the Judas immediately prior) by giant commercial breweries who have either swallowed the original makers in the various waves of mergers and acquisitions that go on, or are just paying licenses for the name.
Verbatim: Judas. 330ml, $5, 8.6%, 19/3/05. Belgian Blonde. Cool, scary bottle; how could I resist? Nice golden cloudless blonde, bubbles don’t hang around much. Got a pleasant little fruitiness in it. Really very good, more accessable than you’d guess from its design.
Afterthoughts, October 2010: Well, at least the ‘Duvel as lager’ fiasco from the previous Christmas seems to be behind me by this point. That’s a relief.
Trying to re-discover this one on RateBeer.com took me through two placeholders that said “this name is just an alias for…”, sending me somewhere else. Beer marketing is a funny thing, and brews often wind up existing under different names in different markets or at different times, or both.
Verbatim: Moling’s Traditional Celtic. St. Patrick’s Day, 17/3/05. 500ml. $5, 4.9%. Dark with a nice red touch. Bubbles hang around alright. Very tasty, though not too strong. I’d like it heavier, but still. Perfect with burgers. Luckily, I’ve got some.
Afterthoughts, October 2010: I still do these day-appropriate tastings of new things, whenever I can; something Irish on Paddy’s Day, something Australian on January 26, that sort of thing. Any excuse, right? But it’s nice to see I started early.