“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Adventures In Liquid Refreshment

What follows is a compilation of some of the many beverages I have consumed over the past few months. I hope this makes up a little for the lack of frequency in my posts. 

This is, of course, me enjoying my blueberry gin and tonic (see picture below). Enjoying it a little bit too much, by the looks of things.

The aforementioned blueberry gin & tonic. Blueberry gin was made by myself. I bought a couple of punnets of blueberries in Waitrose last year. Normally, blueberries are very expensive but these were marked down so I took them home and put them in the freezer, the idea being that I would do something with them at some point. Later on,  I purchased a bottle of gin and when it was about a third empty I decided to put in the frozen blueberries. The act of thawing made the skins on the blueberries split and so the lovely juicy part inside began to infuse into the gin. After a few months, the gin was ready to consume, so I decanted some into an empty bottle and this summer,  during those really hot days, I polished it off.

A bottle of whisky my boss bought me for my 50th birthday. At first, I didn't really like it to be honest. Eventually though, I find it's actually pretty smooth and there's only a couple wee drams left!

Last month, we went to the St Michaels Party In The Park. St Michaels can be a bit of a hike especially with a 3-year-old in tow,  so we opted to take the bus. The bus stop is just outside The Vine Inn in Tenterden, and we had half an hour to kill, so we popped in for a swift one. This is a pint of Shepherd Neame's Whitstable Bay Pale Ale, and a tasty pint it is too.

When we got to the Party In the Park, the beer tent (which was run by The Crown  pub) had the lovely Sharp's Doom Bar ale on tap, so it would have been impolite not to have one.
Or two. With a gluten-free coffee and walnut cake on the side.
On a recent trip to Bluewater Shopping Centre in Greenhithe, we were planning to eat at Jamie's Italian. However, that day there was a half-hour wait and we had a grumpy teenager needing food on our hands. So we went for the nearest place we could see without a line outside, which happened to be Ed's Easy Diner. We ordered the usual burgers and fries etc. but I was delighted to see Sam Adams on the menu.

And a meal in a full-blown 5o's -style diner is not complete without a proper milkshake - Reese's Peanut Butter Cup flavour..

Later, I had a juice from Joe and The Juice, unsurprisingly a coffee and juice bar. This is the delicious and pricey carrot/apple/ginger blend.

A few weeks back Waitrose were marking down these lovely little lagers from Hells Brewery in Camden. They came in a little square red-and-white box that looked like a Christmas gift. The reason they were marked down? Well, the original price was clearly too high for the average Waitrose consumer, and being a new brewery people were not going to pay through the nose for something they had never heard of. Always the beer adventurer, I plumped for a box of these beauties. Glad I did, this stuff is delicious.  Going to try to get some more in for the holidays.

Another pint-while-killing-time-waiting-for-the-bus, Timothy Taylor's Golden Best. Served at The Woolpack and consumed outside on one of the outdoor tables while basking in the sun. Ain't life grand?

Not sure if this is even Amstel, but it's in an Amstel glass. Pint glasses are one of those things that can easily be cleaned up and put to good use, so I can say without any shame that we found this glass while out and about walking in the town, checked for cracks and chips, and when it was found to be perfectly sound, washed it thoroughly and it's now my favourite beer glass.
During the summer Marks and Spencer had some unusual and interesting imported beers available. They were expensive due to being imported microbrews, so I bought three bottles at £2 each. I would have liked more, as they were all fabulous, like this Hawaiian brew above.

As was this strong IPA from Sierra Nevada.

A couple sips of this and I was playing Dick Dale on my phone and trying out my surf moves.

Occasionally  I take upon myself to try out new products when they hit our shelves, so that I can share my findings with customers and recommend accordingly. This Wolf Blass Yellow Label 2014 Chardonnay is pretty nice, but not world-shattering. 

A nice golden ale from Badger Ales.

My son Charlie works in McMenamins in Portland, OR. They roast their own coffee, so when he came to visit in the early part of the year he brought me a bag of these magical beans.

Budweiser Budvar, the original Czech lager that was stolen by the Americans and made their own.

Tiger Lager, the perfect beer to accompany a nice spicy Indian or South-East Asian dish.

Sapporo and pizza. Why not?

Delicious Desperados Cerveza with a smidge of tequila. Nice.

Ice cold Beck's in the sunshine.

I bought some cans of this fine brew for the second day of Tentertainment. If I hadn't, I'd have been cleaned out of cash at the beer tent.
The Dutch know their beer, and so do the Germans. How fitting then, that this fine brew is called Bavaria Holland.

A fine brew from the makers of the original. Lovely smokey aftertaste with this one.

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