Monday, 13 December 2010
Two Wee Nippers!
I thought after a long day it was time for a bit of indulgence, and time to bust out the old snifter! The two beers on tonight were rather nice indeed. The first - O'Hanlons Brewers special reserve - 12.9% 25cl bottle. The second - De Molen Hemel & Aarde - 9.5% 18cl bottle; two wee nippers! Both have a little of a story behind them so I shall unwind my tale.
To start with I shall begin with the O'Hanlons. I bought this beer from the shop where I work. From the get go this looked like it would be a top notch beer, and it did not disappoint. Rich abundant flavours abounded. It was a thick resinous beer, full of caramel and dark toffee. It was alcoholic with hints of sherry coming through, it also displayed a great nutty character with after-tones of rum soaked oranges. Truly a great beer in its own right, but there was more. I heard from a source that this beer could be the re-branded version of Thomas Hardy's Ale! Please correct me if I'm wrong but I was told that O'Hanlons could not renew their license to keep brewing T.H.A. so it was rebranded as Brewers reserve. A shame for T.H. no doubt, but it's great that people still want to get this beer out after so many decades.
The second beer has a bit more of a personal story behind it. I first tried Hemel & Aarde at the Great British Beer Festival 2 years ago. It stood in a large barrel (not a firkin, a barrel) which had previously been used to age Bruichladdich whisky. It was one of the best imperial stouts i've ever tried. My college was surely convinced. When given to Zak for a taste we made sure to tell him to swirl it round his mouth for quite a while, to which he responded "come on guys I know how to taste beer." After he swallowed he didn't say anything for about 30 seconds but gave us a look as if to say "Oh Yeah!!" No words needed to be spoken, it was one of those moments when you knew you'd found a very special beer.
Now of course a tiny bottle of the same beer would be no comparison to a hefty barrel of the stuff but there was still enough essence of the beer to be able to take me back to that day, and what a great day it was! Proper nostalgia, as I sit getting powerful aroma whiffs from my empty glass, sometimes a wee nipper is all you need for great memories.