Or porter? Or any dark beer? I’m not too fussy this time of year. It’s been colder than usual the past week or two, and that has provoked conversations about if we’re skipping fall and jumping into winter? Fall or winter, it’s all the same to me – when viewed through beer goggles. We’re in the chronologically/meteorologically less known but quite important dark beer season. Difficult to pin it precisely on the calendar, and the subject of some debate, which is why most (erm, all?) calendars skip dark beer season. Porter season? Stout season? Stout, you say? Sounds a bit personal; I tend to move out a belt notch or two this time of year, and wear a larger sweater…
All the above is a long winded way of getting to the lack of a point this week. We were in Victoria last week, and ended up at Spinnakers, and ended up in the taproom and ended up drinking their dry Irish stout and ended up having another. They’ve a good range of beers, but their best, to my mind, is the stout, closely followed by the nut brown.
If I was ever stranded on a desert island, and could never be rescued and was only allowed one beer to drink, I’d choose a porter or stout. I’d then sit in the shade wondering how it came to pass I was stranded on a desert island with only a porter or stout to drink for the rest of my life. Is that a punishment or a reward? Who would think of such a thing, much less write about it? These are the big questions, and like many big questions, answers aren’t always easy to come by. So I won’t.
Anyway, you’re (I’m) going to be on the island for ever, and that means you (I) have to choose the right porter. Or stout. Yes, there is a source of drinking water, and the weather isn’t too bad. Those aren’t important concerns for now. No, no internet. (I’m still not sure if this is a punishment or a reward?) Shall we get back to the important stuff? Yes, let’s! What stout – or porter – would you choose, PlaidCamper?
I’m glad you asked that. You’d want to get it right, because say you went for Guinness – a good choice, can’t go far wrong with a Guinness – but then after day 700, you suddenly had a hankering for a Murphy’s? There’s not too much between them, but I think it’d play on my mind. A sailor might get shipwrecked on your island, and it’d be awkward if they turn out to prefer Murphy’s…or they might have beer tastes that extend beyond the more mass market dark beers. They’re a sailor after all, adventurous – if not that successful – and a mere Guinness might not suffice.
I’m not even on the island, and the social nicety complexities are challenging. Time out isn’t easy. Moving on. History time. My first non-Guinness dark beer was a pint of Theakston Old Peculier. Peculiar in the spelling but not too peculiar in the taste. We were hiking in the Lake District with friends and, as the light was fading, we stumbled down off the fells and into a fine flagstone floored pub that catered for thirsty walkers. A pint of Peculier? Well why not, and goodness it was a revelation! Aside from Guinness, my beersploration at that time was fairly limited – pints of lager, the occasional bitter, and youthful hangovers that reflected how, in my case at any rate, youth is sometime wasted on the young. Theakston Old Peculier is a great beer. But is it a “the only beer for the rest of your life” beer? Pains me to say it, but probably not.
More recent history. The first brewery we visited when we arrived in Canada was Calgary’s Wild Rose Brewery. Based in an old Anderson shelter just down the road from our first Calgary home – no, I didn’t know it was there before we signed the lease, honest – we used to drop in after work on a Friday and enjoy the range of beers and good food. With the Calgary Farmers Market on the same site, Friday evenings were pretty well catered for. In winter, the Wild Rose produce a limited quantity of Cherry Porter. Now this is a seriously good beer. I don’t believe in Father Christmas, but he believed in me and would leave a bottle in my stocking. It was a large bottle, and kept me company throughout the festivities. Yum! But is it an all the time on a desert island drink? Probably not. Ouch! But on the plus side, perhaps the shipwrecked sailor I mentioned earlier managed to rescue their kit bag before the boat went down, and perhaps there’s a bottle of Wild Rose Cherry Porter tucked away – in a stocking – in there? That could happen, and it’s a bottle made for sharing.
Goodness, is that the time? I could share beer stories all day and beyond, and that’s just for dark beers. Imagine how great it would be if we moved onto pale ales? I can see you’re excited about that, but let’s leave it for another time. I know, I know…
Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
What’s that? You’re still here and you really do want to know the winning stuck on an island forever dark beer? Or porter? Or stout? See below!