I don't know exactly why, but I felt the urge to assemble all my current beers on my desk and give them a good look. I discovered that I had less than I thought, and perhaps more worrying, that I had only one Belgian ale. Given that Belgian ales are my addiction at the moment, I think when my stock runs down I'll be pretty much restocking Belgians exclusively - especially when you consider that I've never had any of the Orval, Achel or Westmalle ales. Also, some strong pale ales wouldn't go amiss. For now, this is what I'm working with.
First of all, let's address the elephant in the room. Yes, that's a six-pack of Westvleteren 12 with two branded glasses. I bought this in February for €50 - the same price you'll get anywhere, apparantly - as part of the monastery's efforts to raise money for renovations. If nothing else, the pack pretty much doubles the value of this particular collection, if not for it's monetary value then for it's quality, and I'm not just saying that - I had the first bottle a few days ago, expect a post on that soon. These packs are actually still around, surprisingly, and while it is incredibly tempting to have such a rare and beautiful beer so accessible to me, I can't really say any beer is worth €50 for six 330ml bottles. I think I'll be saving my next Westvleteren purchase for the abbey.
The other six pack you can see is Samuel Adams Boston Lager. This is one of my top three session beers along with Paulaner Hefe-weizen and Fuller's London Pride. I'll be putting this bad boy in the fridge for Ireland's Euro 2012 games - I reckon €8 for a six pack of my favourite lager over three games is better than standing in a crowded pub paying at least €4.80 for a pint of Irish craft beer. Good beer, sensible drinking, order a pizza and where could you go wrong?
As I said, Paulaner Hefe-Weizen is one of my favourite everyday session beers - in fact, this one's probably at the top. Since the middle of December, I've never been without a bottle of this, and now that I finally have a Paulaner branded wheat beer glass I can only expect that I'll be drinking more. I've had about four or five since starting the blog, and that's not including the ones on tap, so I will be writing about it soon. Summer is upon us (or has been for about a month, apparently) so when the weather picks up I plan on doing a week or five days of wheat beers.
One of those will be the Schneider Weisse Tap 7. Honestly, I've no idea why it's taken me so long to try this. When I first got in to beer proper, German wheat beer was my style, much like strong Belgian ale is now. Though my tastes have changed since then I still love a hefe (duh, Paulaner) so I'm really looking forward to this.
Weihenstephaner Vitus is a beer that's related, I guess, being a weizenbock. I've never had one of these so I'm also pretty excited for that one. As a side note, at 7.7% ABV I think this is currently the strongest beer in Tesco, and given that I seem to prefer the stronger ones these days the purchase was inevitable.
Robinson's Old Tom is another one that got me very excited, with it's lovely bottle and 8.5% ABV, I was dying to see could I find a British equivalent of my favourite style. Likewise, I was very excited about Porterhouse's Brainblásta, which did not disappoint.
I have my second bottle of Young's Double Chocolate Stout to finish, and like I said before, when I do feel like a stout (it happens!) I'll be very happy to have this smooth drinker, even if it doesn't pack the punch I was expecting.
Also in the stout category is the Porterhouse Oyster Stout. I have to admit - I've already had this one, so there'll be a post about that up soon.
Another that I've already had is Eight Degrees Brewing's Howling Gale Ale. I had it twice on tap, but a slightly chilled bottled version sounds better to me than the ice-cold, possibly nitrogenated pint (I'm only just starting to learn how to tell - I don't get out much).
For the hot summer sun we'll no doubt be getting, I'm saving my St Bernardus Wit. After going off Hoegaarden recently, I miss having a nice wit to drink, with my best previous experience coming from Wieckse Witte, a beer I can't get a hold of here.
Cooper's Sparkling Ale will be my first Australian beer, and I have to admit there's not a whole lot I'm expecting to get from this, so it may be the case of just ticking Australia off the beer map. We'll see how that one goes before buying the Original Ale.
Macardle's is one I'd never heard of until I spotted it in an off-licence in Kinsale a couple of weeks ago, and although it appears to be made by Diageo, I decided it would be an interesting one to try. Also, it comes in a proper pint bottle.
Finally, I picked up a bottle of Warsteiner Premium Verum, a German Pilsener that I remember as being decidedly average. The reason I bought this one was that I hadn't tried it in very long, and I do often crave a quaffable Czech or Czech-style lager. I think I'll be having this one with a chicken curry - I had my first Budweiser Budvar with a curry recently and I have to say it was one of the most simple yet ridiculously enjoyable pairings I could have imagined.
So there we have it, my plan is for these beers to see me through the next three weeks at least, so there will be a slight let up of new-beer-exploration posts while I enjoy my Sam Adams and watch the Euros. I do, however, have a backlog of notes that I haven't yet turned into posts so it won't be a desert blog.