It’s officially Midwinter today, the marking of the shortest day, looking ahead to the renewed light and the hopes of what a new year will bring whilst looking back on the days that have passed.
It’s been my second full year of blogging as ‘Look at Brew’ and it has been filled with many beer soaked moments. Some of this year’s highlights have come from the opportunities I’d have not had if it weren’t for writing about beer. I’m very grateful for those moments and look forward to seeing what next year brings, indeed, I hope I can keep this blog going for another full year and with that I can only hope to improve the site and my writing.
One of the beer related highlights and a stand-out night of the year was taking up the invitation to experience London pop-up (now permanent) restaurant Beer ‘n Buns. The atmosphere, the enthusiasm and knowledge of the staff, the décor, music and most importantly the beer and food came together in a perfect package, balanced just so to create a very unique, very special place to eat, chill and experience Japanese beers that are truly exciting. If your palate fancies a shake up from the usual IPA’s and Porters, then get to Beer ‘n Buns and work your way through the beer menu, soaking it up with some of the very best wings ‘n buns you could ask for.
With that in mind I come to Day 3 of this 12 beer run with Espresso Beer by Niigata Beer. A lot of husbands will occasionally treat their wives to a bunch of flowers, mine went out of his way to pop into Beer ‘n Buns last week to pick up a couple of surprise beers for me, who says romance is dead?! (oh and John, if you’re reading this, Mike says thanks again for the Prawn bun!)
Espresso Beer comes in a classy looking 310ml bottle, all black and gold with the lunar cycle on the cap (read anti clockwise)
It pours with a thickness, a fizzing excitable foam appears but blink and you miss it as it soon dissipates to leave a mere ghost at the glass edge. The aromas are enticing; dark chocolate, coffee and soy. It drinks smooth over the palate, the carbonation less than that initial burst of fizz when pouring would suggest but the flavours are full and ‘chewy’ and linger on the tongue; dark bitter chocolate, soy, an earthy character underneath it all and a sweetness waving above. The espresso is less pronounced than expected but it is there, balanced among the other characteristics which, combined, make for a hugely boozy tasting brew, drinking higher than its 7% abv. Yes, a much better treat than a bunch of flowers.
Happy Yule everyone.
If you’d like you can read my thoughts on Beer ‘n Buns and the Japanese beers.