I've not really been thinking too much about beer of late.
Sure I have been brewing various bits and pieces, and am planning to brew again this weekend, a new recipe for an English Strong Ale, hopped with First Gold and East Kent Goldings and then fermented with Whitbread yeast, hoping for a 6% brew which will be known as Winter Gold. Most of it will be going to Mrs Velkyal's uncle for his Christmas baskets for his clients, as will more of my Chocolate Foreign Extra Stout called Machair Mor.
I haven't bought a single bottle of beer for the cellar in over a month as I decided that it was time to trawl through the various gathered bottles already there. I have set myself the task of not buying any more bottled beer until the cellar is at least 50% less than it was when I did an inventory. I hope I am not the only person who keeps an inventory of what I have knocking about! Naturally the "beer for special occasions" sub-cellar will remain largely untouched, waiting for that undefined "special occasion", or some random Friday when I am feeling grumpy and fancy something a bit, well, fancy.
Some of my beers in the "not so special" section of the cellar have been knocking about for quite some time, so hopefully they aren't entirely awful. I have enough Dark Starr Stout from Starr Hill to do plenty of baking and cooking with it, just in case.
Another reason for not buying as much bottled beer at the moment is that Mrs V and I are planning to go to France for Christmas, and I would rather put that money to one side for France. I love going to my parents' place, about an hour from Limoges, in a tiny hamlet with bugger all there. A couple of weeks of quiet, mum's cooking and hopefully plenty of local beer to indulge in sounds like a pretty good antidote to life at the moment. It will be the first time we have headed back across the Atlantic since we moved here, and there is a 3 year old bottle of Orval waiting for me.