There’s a sense celebration here at Graham HQ this weekend, as I had my stitches removed on Wednesday (after this happened) and followed it up with a (seriously slow) ride this afternoon. I didn’t feel that bad today either, which surprised as I’ve done nothing aerobic for 4 weeks. The only stumbling block was that every corner I kept imagining myself hitting the deck again, picturing my leg swelling up in response. Silly mind games, I know, but distracting as hell (and I’ve got no idea how long that fear will last).
The other excellent development this week was that I handed in my last ever uni assignment. Last assignment, last ever subject – hell yes! This final subject, however, has been the most frustrating and poorly managed I’ve ever completed in both under and postgraduate degrees (at two different universities), which makes the paper hand-in even more satisfying. Assuming that I pass, I’ll graduate with a Masters in Wine Technology and Viticulture in about 6 weeks time. Sweet!
There hasn’t been much wine opened up to celebrate, but I’ve been topping up my fluid levels with a steady volume of IPA and some bad vodka last night. There is a healthy cache of Krug in the fridge though, just waiting for an opportunity…
Today’s beer of choice (bought from one of the better beer shops in the country) is the Stone Brewing Delicious IPA – a West Coast IPA from Escondido, California. The Stone Brewing gear seem to attract plenty of attention, though I’ve not had one before.
There’s certainly some promise in the back end of this IPA too, with a hoppy length that marks it as seriously fine beer. I thought the aromatics looked a bit dull, however, and it wasn’t until I looked at the best before date that it clicked why – this was brewed in October last year.
While technically not past the ‘best before’ date, these highly aromatic styles need to be drunk within six months or they just lose their freshness, and given the rubbish storage and transport conditions we enjoy(!) in Australia, they really need to be drunk closer to 4 months after brewing (why? Beer typically has no preservatives and is thus very sensitive to light and heat).
On that subject, it’s a constant source of frustration that most of the imported beers tend to come here by (very slow, unrefrigerated) ship, and it’s normal to see just-landed beer that is already 6 months old. That’s not the rule, of course, but in one of my past jobs I spent enough time in a liquor warehouse to know that it’s a scenario which is prevalent for even some of the better importers, with temperature control is a myth at any level of distribution. Even worse, I’ve watched deliveries of ultra-premium beers come in on the back of a truck where they’ve been sitting in 40C heat for 6 hours – enough time to cook your beer in a single day.
Sigh. When are we going to get serious about provenance? It’s the same story with wine – just look at the disgusting wasteland that is airport duty free shops.
If there is a lesson here it is that I need to be more vigilant about checking beer BB dates. Otherwise I’m going to be following the mantra of drinking as close to where the beer is made – lucky I have brewers like Nomad, Four Pines and Riverside almost on my doorstep!