Recently opened in Gijón is a new pub with a menu of at least 500 best beers of the world chalked on both sides of a cinemascope-size blackboard, of which this is a mere portion:
The 3 prices being for take-away, drink at the bar, or drink at a table; the bottles themselves being stored in glass-door fridges and in a mighty glass-windowed vault downstairs. El Coleccionista, long may it flourish. It’s named ‘The Collector’ because the glass tops of its tables cover collections of tin toys, of old comics, of coins, of banknotes, of vintage postcards, of stamps, of lego.
The inventive tapas accompanying beers are free, as usual hereabouts, but also on offer (except on Tuesdays & Wednesdays when the cook rests) are quite cheap full plates, best shared between two or three people. Such as cecina (which is to cows as cured jamón is to pigs) accompanied by goat cheese:
or a platter of German sausages along with sauerkraut:
Reclining there with a chum after a few delicious Left Hand Blackjack Porters and Milk Stouts from Colorado, I perceived that one item stood out from the rest of the booze on the blackboard as regards price, weighing in at 57 Euros per bottle take-away. Tactical Nuclear Penguin from BrewDog in Aberdeenshire.
Enquiry revealed that Tactical Nuclear Penguin is 32 per cent ABV. An imperial stout, triple-frozen, hence the penguin. So far, the landlord had sold two bottles. Such an enterprising pub deserves encouragement, and my chum was about to finish his first novel, highly original and interesting and well-crafted, judging by the earlier bits I’d read. Lulled by the preceding products of the Left Hand brewery, we decided that we must launch the finalised novel with a takeaway bottle of TNP (not TNT). Significantly cheaper than a bottle of Dom Perignon across the bows of the book.
Verily, so we did, a couple of weeks later at home:
The taste was as of an enhanced barley wine, the superbeer first brewed in Britain during the Napoleonic Wars as a substitute for unobtainable French wines. Yet the effect, we both agreed, was like becoming swiftly stoned on strong weed and staying so for half an hour with enhanced vision, after which we came down from the high and could resume drinking wine, rather as if the Napoleonic Wars had stopped. Not your normal intoxication at all.
BrewDog have now produced a beer named ‘The End of History‘ at 55 per cent ABV. Will this be like LSD? Since it costs 700 Pounds a bottle, and BrewDog only produced twelve bottles, I doubt I’ll find out.