Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December 8th: The Constable Copper Ale

December 8th: The Constable Copper Ale, 345ml, 3.4%, 0.9 standard drinks.
Price: $4.09
Why I picked it: Kinda wanted to know that a "copper ale" was.
Colour: Pantone 7571 C
More stuff: On Saturday night, with my airconditioning unit chucking a hissy fit in the 35 degree heat and the day off on Sunday, I figured it was a good time to drink through all the beers that I had accumulated that hadn't made it into the tree, one of which was the Nine Tales Amber Ale in the same range as this beer. My notes for the night (I was getting quite boozy by this point) read: I like this one, not in an "omg this is my new drink of choice" way but defs in a "this is what I wanted from that last one" way. It's bitter like I want it to be but not like it's trying too hard, like, sure, we're trying, but it's almost effortless."
Drunk me likes to quote Gina from Brooklyn Nine Nine.
I'm giving this context so I can say this about the copper ale: it is trying too hard. Maybe I'm just missing out because most of the stuff they've written about on the side of the bottle is talking about the "nose" of the beer, and that all that stuff is needed to make the bitterness more interesting. Instead, drinking this beer feels like when you're chatting with the douchey pseudo-intellectual hipster who's (possibly unconsciously) doing their darndest to exclude you. It is, I suppose, exactly what I would fear craft beer to be, going into it.
But they're right about the lingering bitterness.

December 7th: Young's Double Chocolate Stout

December 7th: Young's Double Chocolate Stout, 330ml, 5.2%, 1.4 standard drinks.
Price: $5.49
Why I picked it: You know how double chocolate chip cookies are better than the single kind? I didn't have a single chocolate beer, but I realised a couple of days after first filling the tree that I had two flavours of mudshake in there, so this replaced the chocolate flavored one.
Colour: Pantone 7533 C
More stuff: Finally, we get to one that I don't like. It started well; I poured it into a little glass and marveled at the foamy head, something I'd been missing in beers from a bottle compared to beers on tap.
Sadly, this was the end of the good stuff. I really don't like the taste. Compared to the nice charred meat and vegemite taste of the other very dark beer I drank on my practice night, this tastes like something that shouldn't have been burnt.
I don't think it tastes like chocolate. But, just to be sure, I had a lick from the tin of cocoa powder in the cupboard. It didn't taste like that, it doesn't taste like dairy milk, and all the dark chocolate in the apartment also contains mint. I tried it with Cadbury Coco (a 70% cocoa with mint chips) and discovered that I also really don't like that chocolate either*. Also, it didn't taste like the beer. I considered actually burning some chocolate, to see if that was what it tasted like, but that seemed like a waste. So I ended up drinking the chocolate mudshake too.
It was fucking delicious. If you like beer, drink beer. If you like chocolate, have a mudshake. Also, I hear the Baileys chocolate is delicious. The bottle was too big for my tree, which is a shame.
*what little mint flavour it has appears to be spearmint, which is a rubbish choice: spearmint should only be utilised when the surrounding context is cool, such as for a milkshake. With the richness of dark chocolate, the coolness of peppermint is needed to cut through it, and in much greater quantities than the meagre 8% mint chip content of this variety.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

December 6th: Absolut Botanik Berry Apple

December 6th: Absolut Botanik Berry Apple, 330ml, 5.7%, 1.5 standard drinks.

Price: $5.49

Why I picked it: I wanted a vodka, but didn't have enough Thursdays to throw back on to have a Cruiser, and this looked interesting. 


More stuff:
While this tasted nice, I retain a deep deep distrust of anything that refers to itself as "lightly sparkling" - just make it bubbly, so I don't get indigestion. Flavour wise, it is very fruity; it tastes like a Sommersby pear cider would if you were eating fruity mentos at the same time.

I like it, taste wise, but don't like the fact that it isn't bubbly. If it was cheaper, I'd consider getting it and giving it a whiz through the soda stream machine to see if that helped. Instead, I think in future I'll just drink Sommersby, while eating mentos.

December 5th: Mildura Honey Wheat

December 5th: Mildura Honey Wheat, 330ml, 4.5%, 1.1 standard drinks.

Price: $3.99

Why I picked it: I like Mildura, and I like sweet things.

Colour: Pantone 1345 C

More stuff: This beer is like the opposite of last night's - the beer itself I didn't love* but it gave me my best tasting burp so far. From the fact that it just says "Honey" on it in big letters I was expecting it be be a lot sweeter or more syrupy than it was but really it just tastes like a fairly boring not very bitter beer. There wasn't much of an aftertaste until I neared the bottom and it was getting warm (thanks to the mid 30s heat and the fact that my aircond has decided to die) but it still certainly wasn't bad, just, well, beery. Boringly so. I'd almost rather that I'd hated it, because then I'd have gotten to work out why. Instead I'm left thinking of all the other drinks that I didn't buy, that I look at at work every night and think "ooh that looks interesting" but probably won't bother with, because paying $4 a pop for all the individual bottles isn't a very economic way of buying drinks, and it feels a bit daft if you're doing it for no reason. This though feels like a missed opportunity. 

* "I didn't love it" is the ultimate form of me damming something with faint praise. Loosely translated, it means "I was actually super keen for this, but it ended up just being okay." 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Day Four: Miller Chill

December 4th: Miller Chill, 330ml, 4%, 1 standard drink.
Price: $3.99
Why I picked it: So that I could snapchat everybody "netflix and chill" jokes. I'm not ashamed to admit it.
Colour: Pantone P 10-6 U
More stuff: This drink is weird. Seriously. It is apparently made with "Real Lime" and for the first sip I thought, "ugh, it's like corona. I hate corona" but actually, it doesn't taste as bad as that going down. Firstly, when you take little sips of it (which I have to do from a glass bottle, since swigging it leads to it going flat and flat drinks leads to indigestion) it tastes like beer for a tiny second, then it tastes of lime, and then it tastes vaguely like you ate some lime flavoured lollies 3 hours ago. It was the fastest I'd ever had a taste leave my mouth.
Then, in an effort to preemptively burp out the indigestion, I got the blowback. Apparently, (according to Oz and James Drink to Britain, my go-to source of all beer facts*) the place you get the best idea of the taste of beer is in the burp. Therefore, I do not like this beer. This burp tasted horrible, and I am a lover of burps, because they give me life, while I cry in my car that I am dying while eating an entire packet of quick-eze.
This would be a huge shame but actually, I don't have netflix either.
*Except the few gleaned from people at work, in between the insanity of pre-christmas sales. Shout-out to Kyle and Tom in particular.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

December 3rd: Cruiser Mudshake

December 3rd: Cruiser Mudshake (Original Cowboy), 270ml, 4%, 0.9 standard drinks.
Price: $4.49
Why I picked it: I mentioned on day one that there were a few throwback drinks in there. This is one of them, though I'm pretty sure that back in the day they weren't secretly cruisers, but I could be wrong.
Colour: Pantone 4675 C
More stuff: I forgot how good these actually taste. I mean, milky drinks aren't good for a big sesh or a hot day, and they remain very much the twelvie version of Baileys, which is the soft old lady drink of choice* so they're not great for your drinking cred. But with a box of TeeVee Snacks (the original dark chocolate ones, obviously) and some Netflix Original Series, they go down a damn treat.
But I also have a story to tell with this particular drink, because I need to slybrag about what a good I did for my best friend's 24th. Since she grew up in a super religious household, she never got to twelvie, so for her 24th, when I surprised her by taking her to Ballarat so we could stay at Kryal Castle and watch jousting and do archery, I also got her two of them, because at 24 she was a twice twelvie.
I'm super exited now for our 36th, when, by that reasoning, we'll get to drink three.
*frankly though, soft old ladies are few and far between. Most of them drink port or something else fortified as strongly as they are, and say things like "there's no point if you can't taste it" and "would you like a glass of fruity lexia with breakfast" and "it's so boring here in the hospital, Sara, and they don't give you any alcohol. Can you go and get me a bottle of something?" while vehemently denying they even drink very much at all and refusing to put the alcohol on the back seat lest someone see them (Hi Nan!)

The tube pattern pieces

At A4 size, with the grid squares measuring 1cm each, these should wrap perfectly around a 375ml can, while also being sufficiently long enough to loosely hold a 330ml bottle. If you're definitely just going to stick with cans, and especially if you're drinking the little short 330ml cans, make them a couple of centimetres shorter to save on cardboard and tinsel requirements.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December 2nd: Herrljunga +46 Pear Cider

December 2nd: Herrljunga +46 Pear Cider, 330ml, 4.5%, 1.2 standard drinks.
Price: $3.09
Why I picked it: Sommersby Pear Cider is probably my most go-to drink, mainly because it tastes nice even though it is cheap and I am poor, so I went with a same but different. I have a few of these.
Colour: pretty much clear again (and I've just noticed the lack of very pale yellows in the pantone formula guide, which may become a concern)
More stuff: it's nicer than Strongbow pear and sweeter, almost more syrupy than Sommersby. I like it, but I don't know that I could have more than one - by the time I got to the bottom it was feeling a little sickly.

The actual how-to bit...

Tomorrow I am going to go up to uni to scan the shapes for the tubes, but I wanted to get this damn thing online. They'll be in their own post tomorrow arvo, I promise.

Cut the tube pieces:
-eight base pieces
-twelve middle pieces
-four top pieces

(This seems like a really easy step certainly: for all that it has pattern pieces, it doesn't use many words. In actual fact it will take about half your life, three or four different blades, and end with your index finger still hurting a fortnight later.)

this picture is totally wrong because earlier versions of the tree used the same shape for the top and middle rows, but I forgot to take another picture.

Make them roll nicely by creasing every second corrugation on the side with the wider corrugations. This will be the inside. It doesn't matter if occasionally you have double or triple creases. They are pretty likely with recycled cardboard. 

Roll the piece around an empty can to find out where the overlap starts. Use a knife to carefully cut through the surface layer on the inside of the bit that overlaps, and pull it off, before cutting through the exposed corrugation to pull that off too. 

Wrap it back around and tape it multiple times across the join, as well as lengthwise along the inside. Repeat for the other 23 tubes. This will take until probably next Christmas, and it's fiddly shit too unfortunately, so it's hard to delegate to a nearby child. I don't know if you could do it without the overlap - it would be quicker to make but I don't know that I would trust it to hold my drinks tbh.

To make the inner walls these tubes are going to be attached to, get the 9cm tall pieces of double corrugated card. The top pieces uses a 40cm strip for its four tubes, the middle two need 60cm for their six and the bottom needs 80cm for its eight. Mark every 10cm on the top and bottom of your strips and crease them the same as the holding tubes to make the four bigger rings onto which we stick the tubes. Tape it thoroughly into a circle.

I actually put them every 5cm because I forgot halfway what mark I was using on my ruler.

To attach the holding tubes, get a long piece of sticky tape (15ish centimetres is about as long as you can have it while still being actually usable) and tape one half of it along the bit where the overlap starts, at the biggest dip in the curve. Match this up to one of the marks, and stick the other half of the tape down the inside of the big circle. Then tape across the holding tube as close as possible to the edge to make sure that it doesn't come unstuck. These are the single most important pieces of sticky tape holding each holding tube up, so make sure they are stuck firmly.

excuse the snapchat diagram scribbles

Flip the whole shebang upside down and so the same thing with what will be at the bottom. It's also easier to make sure you're getting a good shape if you put your empty can in whichever tube you're taping, because even with the double corrugation they do still flex. For the bottom eight tubes, the bottom will end in a longer point, while for the others it ends in a second smaller dip. They should curve fairly well to the inner ring, though they aren't perfect. The inside piece of tape for this should overlap the inside bit from the top, and put another cross-over piece on the bottom too. 

Then just stickytape the shit over the whole thing. If you start from just either side of the first top piece of tape, and shape it to fit in the joins where the two pieces meet, it should naturally curl around the underneath along the holding tube, which is a good thing, and if you do it at a couple of slightly different points you should get a few good angles.

it looks like a slippery dip

When you're feeling good about it, wrap some pieces around the holding tube as close as you can get to where the two pieces meet. Then repeat this 23 more times. Your primary fingertip will probably be feeling a bit weird from all the tape that has been attached to and then pulled off of it. This happens, and it will distract you from the fact that pushing on things like your toilet flush with that finger inexplicably aches now. You'll end up with four rings with holding tubes sticking out of them at an angle.

Get the rest of your 9cm tall strips and crease them so they curl nicely. Then put them inside each inner circle and  push them out as much as you can to work out how much to trim from them. Cut them down to this length and align the join with the middle of one of the holding tubes, taping it from top to bottom. Repeat the first two taping steps (top and bottom, with the cross-over). Then add another inner circle of cardboard, this time taping along the gaps between the tubes and folding over to the inside.

I over enthusiastically stickytaped my second layer to my first in earlier versions

From here on out, the photos get a bit more patchy, because a lot of them were taken while making an earlier version which didn't have the inner PVC pipe, but I think most of it is fairly self explanatory. Then again, I have made 4 of these, it is 2am, and I have had my first drink.

At this point, the top row with four holding tubes should be about the right size to fit over the outside of the piece of pipe, depending on how thick your cardboard is. If it fits already, just skip the first half of this step and wedge it on as is. If it's almost the right size, slide it on and wedge random, 13cm tall scrap bits of card into the gap, with the 4cm sticking out the bottom. Otherwise, get a 13cm tall piece of curled cardboard (it's at this point that you can switch to regular corrugated card, but you'll need twice as much as the double thickness stuff) and fit it into the insides of the four and six tube circles, with the extra 4cm extending out the bottom. Wrap three 4cm tall strips around this bit, taping down as you go, so that it becomes the same outer size as the circle to which the holding tubes are attached.

Add more 13cm tall layers to the insides of the six tube rows until they are almost full to the inside tube. If you want to, cut circles of thinner card with a hole the size of the centre tube in the middle and attach to the top of each exposed coil. When you get as close as possible to fitting around the inner tube's size, slide it on and fil in the gap with random little bits. Repeat for the bottom eight holding row, but with 9cm tall strips. 

Cut another circle for the bottom with a hole in the center for the inner tube. This should sit exactly level with the bottom of the tube. Tape from up inside the bottom of the tube across this card base and up the gaps between the bottom holding tubes. This way, you can just pick up the (empty!) tree from the top tube. Push all the other layers down so they sit solidly on this, with the two six tube layers arranged to sit in one another's gaps.

Make a little tub for the top holder inside the pipe from a thin piece of card rolled to fit the inside and sticky taped to a circular piece cut to fit the inside. Push it in till only the very top of the card tube its at about the right depth for your drink to stick nicely out the top, and sticky tape it down from the inside to the outside. If you want it to all match, wrap some brown paper around the exposed pipe at the top.

taken 15 minutes on my fully decked out final tree because I realised this bit was kinda confusing

Explain the idea of an advent calendar tree that holds 25 drinks to everyone. Explain to them that it takes literally a whole day to make so if they are willing to "pay you to make one for them" it will be like $200. Consider the possibility of speeding it up by using entirely PVC pipe and bogging it together for speed, but flounder upon realising that the curves can't be easily cut from the pipe. Quietly calculate the necessary angles to make a centre piece of stacked lop-top pyramids, but flounder again as you realise you don't have the material knowledge necessary to decide what to actually make this centre out of. Start a blog which includes discussion of this fact in hopes that someone will kindly give you information on an easily cuttable but strong and non-flexible plastic that can be quickly and securely glued at odd angles. Give up as you realise that increased material costs cancel out the saved time. Decide to just post instructions on you blog and leave it to someone else to figure out.*

The full one was my first, but it has moved out, the one on the floor has gone to dad's shack and while mine looked like the naked one, that one is now my sister Casey's

Decorate your tree and fill it with booze.

so majestic

*This step is not strictly essential.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December 1st: West Coast Cooler

December 1st: West Coast Cooler, 250ml, 3.5%, 0.7 standard drinks.
Price: $3.99
Why I picked it: Because I love West Coast Coolers, and I wanted something easy to start with.
Colour: Pretty much clear. I didn't know that. I'd never poured it out before. I'm going to ask everyone I know and see if they knew that West Coast Coolers were clear. I don't know if anyone in the history of ever has poured one into a glass before.
More stuff: When I was a teenybopper, cruisers weren't really invented yet. We had mudshakes (I have one in the tree, for reminiscence sake) and bacardi breezers and yes we had passion pop and goon sacks, but West Coast Coolers were the socially accepted single serve twelvie drink. They're pretty weak and they're small, so they're less than one standard drink each, which means you can't get drunk on them. As we've gotten older, that now means that they make the perfect roadtripping drink - when sticking to one an hour, you stay well under the legal driving limit, while letting your body know what's comming whenever you arrive at your destination. I suspect there are more empty West Coast Cooler bottles under my car seats than anything else.*
A couple of years ago they bought out a pink version, but tbh it's pretty shit.
Really, my goal in life is to work out which of the 750ml, 10-15% alcohol bottles of bubbly tastes like a grown up West Coast Cooler, and then just insist that everyone give up on fancy wines in favour of the brilliance of its "exotic fruit flavours". Buggered if I know what fruits they are but they're fkn delish. Well done, West Coast Coolers, for being the best tasting twelvie bevie of all time.
*actually, this is so that next time I am back home I can throw them in the ocean in an effort to maintain levels of prettily coloured frosted glass washing up on Shelly Beach into the future.

What you need to tree...

A 70cm tall piece of 75mm diameter PVC piping (I paid $7 for a metre at Bunnings and chopped it down)
A lot of double corrugated cardboard, specifically:
  • 24 pieces measuring 15cm along the corrugations and 29cm across them for the branches/drink holding tubes (it will save you time if you can do them in twelve pieces 30cm along and 29cm across pieces)
  • Strips measuring 9cm along the corrugations (at least three pieces each of 80cm and 40cm, and six of 60cm, but they can be stuck together from little bits)
  • Strips measuring 4cm along the corrugations (at least three pieces each of 40cm, and six of 60cm, but they can be stuck together from little bits)
In either double corrugated or single corrugated:
  • Strips measuring 13cm and 9cm along the corrugations (enough to fill in the layers, but you can cheat and leave gaps)
A couple of bits of thin card to neaten the visible edges, for the bottom, and for the top holder.
Lots and lots of sticky tape, in a decent brand (not the cheap shit) in one of the medium widths (I think they're 18mm and 23mm). More than that, probably. Seriously, buy another roll, just in case. It's not like you wont need it later if you don't use it all now, and it will stop you needing to go back for more. Also make sure you have a good dispenser, one that's nice and heavy and sharp enough that you can tear a long piece one handed. I had to buy three to get one I liked.
A cutting mat.
A ruler (a big flat quilting one is recommended, to reduce the chance of injury*)
A craft knife/scalpel/box cutter/whatever blade you feel most comfortable cutting cardboard with. I highly recommend a Victorinox serrated tomato knife for the straight lines.
A thin tipped permanent marker.

An empty can for measuring references.
Whatever you want to decorate the tree with (Crepe paper, cellophane, tinsel, a can of spray paint, whatever)
10+ hours of your life.

*I didn't cut myself with a knife at any point through making these but I did get lots of paper cuts. Note that I said "while making these" - I have cut off a fingertip while quilting.

On Cardboard...

Not all cardboard it created equally, a fact I think I found out entirely by accident.
My craft experience recently has largely been fabric based. I know what I know from a lot of trial and experience, and while that happened with these trees, it was in the minutia of the design process, not the materials. I got lucky.
Having decided that this was going to be this years project of evil* I headed down to Officeworks to see how much it would be for some nice cardboard. Had I still been working at a supermarket I would have just grabbed some old boxes and been done with it, but the boxes are a lot smaller at Dan Murphy's.
This turned out to be for the best, because the lady I asked must have misinterpreted my request for "some thicker cardboard, like, sheets of corrugated, to use for craft" to mean specifically the thicker double corrugated stuff.
See, most corrugated cardboard is made up of 3 pieces, the two edges and the wavy bit between them. But there also exists double corrugated cardboard, which has a flat middle with two corrugated bits either side, then the flat edge bits again. The lady at Officeworks came back a couple of minutes later with a few boxes made of this stuff that she'd taken out of the rubbish for me and asked if they'd be okay. Without this nice lady, the whole thing might have failed.
See, when you bend corrugated cardboard along the waves, it loses that gap and therefore a lot of it's strength. Its those gaps that make the whole thing work. And with double corrugated stuff, you still have one layer of gaps intact when you bend it nicely, so you get a nice shape and still keep it strong enough to hold 9ish kilograms of beer, plus all the glass its in.
The next time I went into Officeworks I found out that they actually sell moving boxes made of the double corrugated stuff, but I think it'd be about $20 to get enough cardboard. Fortunately another staff member got me more for free, which was lovely of him.
The last lot I got from Big W, entirely accidentally. I thought I was done after the third one, but there was a trolley of the stuff just sitting there, like it was waiting for me. I know a sign when I see one.
When I went home for a few days last week dad and I debated the possibility of making one entirely from PVC plumbing pipe, like I have as the centre tube in my tree, but it'd be so much harder to cut in the curves. The cardboard ones may take 10 hours a piece and about 2 rolls of sticky tape each, but they will have to do for this year.
*My mother says any time that dad or I come up with some outlandish/random/cool af project "why can't you ever use your powers for good" so by extension, everything cool we do is a project for evil. This was one of the fist things she ever conceded was actually cool af.
(I actually wrote this last night, but due to all the drinks, forgot to actually post it. Whoops.)
On the one hand, it could be argued that I am doing this in a hideously convoluted way. Instead of actually explaining what this is about, I’m just going to start blabbing, and fill it all out later. This may seem like a dumb way to do things, in comparison to a nice logical start-at-the-start system, but on the other hand, this is how essays are written. You have one sentence per thing that’s coming up, then you expand later. Here are my sentences: Hi, my name is Sara. You should have figured that out from the blog title. I am going on a drinks ADVENTure. The first bit of that word is in capitals because (again, as it says above) this is a pun, due to the fact that the drinks are in an advent-calendar of my own making - a cardboard tree comprising 25 tubes in which sit bottles and cans of drink. This plan has been a while in the making - a few years ago I made a small tree which fit ready-to-drink shots, but this year I moved to the city and got a job at Dan Murphy’s, which is a big liquor retailer here in Australia. So it all seemed to come together. I scribbled out some maths, made a 10cm tall practice tree from some tiny tubes I rolled out of a bit of paper, and went down to Officeworks to buy some strong cardboard. They didn’t have any, but the lady found me some empty boxes they were going to crush, and over the last month or so I made a total of 4 trees, developing the method till I had it worked out. Then one day when I finished work before the store closed, I spent about $100 on randomly chosen drinks - a variety of “that looks interesting” and “aww, I remember that time I got drunk on this” and “isn’t that what so-and-so drinks?” to fill my tree.
And now, just before December starts, I’ve worked all weekend, while also having visitors, and even though I love them, and they kindly left me both booze and a knife as a thankyou gift, I need a drink to get over it. So: practice booze.
One of the big things I’m realising, now that I work at a place where we occasionally get paid to stand around talk about what we’re drinking instead of actually drinking it, is that the smell of it is a BIG thing. This is a problem for me, since I can’t talk about the aroma of anything, actually, ever, because I have anosmia, which means I have no sense of smell. 
Yes, at all, no, not even (farts/perfume/flowers/whatever else you feel like suggesting). No, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a sense of taste, but it is reduced, because most of what you think is taste is actually smell, in particular that bit that separates the flavours. Sure, having no sense of smell must be good because of the not having to smell farts/bad because of missing out on all those good smells. No, not always, since I was about 5 or so. No I can’t remember exactly what smelling was like, but I can remember being sad that I couldn’t smell some specific flowers at my nan’s anymore at about 6 or 7 years old. No there’s not much they think they can do about it. Yes I’m cool with it. Ish. I’m used to it. What it is, soul brother. (That’s a Community quote. I make no apologies)
Still, what it means is that I have to talk about something other than the aroma, and, if I’m being honest, the taste a bit too. I mean, I’ll be having a go at that bit, because yes I can taste, but, eh. Lets be real, this is mainly going to be rambling stories.
And hopefully, tomorrow I will do my post about cardboard. Cardboard is important.
Practice #1: Altenmunster Brauer Bier, 500ml, 4.9%, 1.95 standard drinks.
Price: $7.29
Why I picked it: Because the bottle looked cool (it has one of those wired pop up stoppers)
Colour: Pantone 7571 C
More stuff: I don’t know if it’s because of the first one, but it tastes like beer. Like, generic, bulk, buying a slab and drinking it around a firebucket, listening to country music in someones back field, beer. VB, from memory, though I haven’t drunk it in ages. They all seemed quite similar. 
I had it from the fridge and it was much better at first while it was cold, so I wrangled the plug back in with the wire and put the rest in the freezer for 15 minutes before continuing. I was nearly at the end before I realised maybe I should try it from the bottle - if glass shape makes as much of a difference as they spout that it does, then maybe I shouldn’t be drinking it out of an old mug. It was nicer out of the bottle. The narrow bottle top sent it straight in to my mouth instead of swishing wide like my mug did.
Oh well. I’ll make a point of trying it both ways earlier in future, but I like my Lower South East Ladettes mug.

Practice #2: Theakston “Old Peculier”, 500ml, 5.6%, 2.2 standard drinks.
Price: $8.69
Why I picked it: Because in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, Old Peculier is the beer of choice in Ankh Morpork (although its manufacturer is Winkles)
Colour: Pantone 477C (It looks like coke!) 
More Stuff: About a month ago (literally 3 days after my first shift at Dan’s) I went to a comany beer training thingie, where they taught us about hops and gave us progressively darker and (largely, though there isn’t in fact a direct correlation) more bitter beers. Much to my surprise, I really liked the darker ones. Not only do my tastes usually tend towards sweet and sickly white-girl ciders, but the guys running it were insistent that we encourage people to “develop their palate” by slowly working their way up to more and more bitter, well, bitters.  
See, there’s a thing called “International Bittering Units” which appears (according to wikipedia) to be the random conception of beer people because numbers on packaging make customers feel good, except that the amount of malt in the beer skews it all, so it’s actually kind of meaningless. But it tops out after 100 or so, and I’d asked Mr Expert behind the open bar to recommend something interesting, and possibly because I was the last girl left (there was only 2 of us to begin with) and possibly also since I’d had a mini sulk earlier in the evening when he made a point of emphasising to everyone the importance of the sense of smell in experiencing beer, the one he suggested was, according to the bottle, a 90. And it was really nice, I thought, and said, sensing his disappointment that I hadn’t in fact white-girled out and pulled a face and not drunk the rest. Then I left, and staggered down to the tram.
So screw the idea of having to develop your palate, unless I accidentally did so by eating vegemite out of the jar. Which is possible. Actually, I’ve finally realised what this beer tastes like. My mum rubs vegemite into the skin of roasts before she puts them into the oven. Apparently it’s a done thing. And I was thinking badly burned sausages but yes, maybe it’s actually burnt* vegemite crackling. Oh, and it also reminds me of every time I decide I can make garlic bread, and mix crushed garlic and butter and spread it on bread and put it in a pan to fry and immediately burn the chunks of garlic. 
Old Peculier doesn’t say how bitter it is. But if any of them end up doing so, I will mentally re-read it as the BVG - the Burnt Vegemite and Garlic level.
*disclaimer, Alice doesn’t burn things, in case she reads this and feels the need to comment. I burn things, because I can’t smell them burning. Alice, please make me that chicken stuff again. It was delicious.
(other things I drank last night but didn’t talk about: a glass of sav blanc, a glass of very flat proscetto (almost a month, much improved), a glass of goon sack chardonnay, half a shot of peppermint smirnoff (it’s a christmas special edition) and a can of koppaberg strawberry and lime cider. I also ate a lot of breadsticks).