Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pack Yer Bags

Sunday morning was perhaps the most challenging time of my trip to Oxford, not because I was hugely hungover - quite worryingly I wasn't. When Mrs Velkyal's conference had finished we headed back up to Bicester for dinner, which my brother cooked - all the men in my family, all 5 of us (dad and 4 boys), love to cook.

So while Scott was making dinner, I decided to try a couple of beers that I had bought in the shop, first up was the Triple B from Bicester's local microbrewery, Oxfordshire Ales. The picture above is the same beer, but on draught from the King's Arms. This is a very nice ale, beautifully hoppy and smooth in the mouth. at only 3.7% ABV, this is a dream of a session beer. Next I upped the ante by opening one of my bottles of Fuller's 1845, which is 6.3% ABV and matured for 100 days. This is a BIG beer, a seriously fruity, full bodied beer which is far smoother than a beer of this strength has any right to be.

After dinner we headed off to the Oxford Arms in the village of Kidlington for a last couple of pints. The Oxford Arms is a lovely country pub, which keeps the finest traditions of a British style coaching inn - bare walls, roaring fire and an eclectic group of drinkers, from across the social strata enjoying a well poured pint in their local. Next time I go to visit my brother I hope to visit the Oxford Arms again and write up a full and proper review. I was intriqued though that they had Staropramen on tap, and was very tempted to try a pint but given my experience with heads over the last few days I decided to stick with the ale.

Over the few days I was in the UK, I had picked up various bottles for my little cellar, mostly stouts which I got in the Bicester branch of S.H. Jones, including several from the Samuel Smith Brewery in Tadcaster and three bottles of Punk IPA from BrewDog. I was worried about getting all of the bottles home to Prague without breaking, so they were all rolled up into t-shirts and jumpers and laid in my rucksack, which thankfully worked and I managed to completely re-stock my gap behind the wall with a load of, hopefully, superb beers. The stouts will be kept for my stout tasting that I plan to do sometime after I get back from Ireland in November.

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