Tuesday, December 1, 2015

(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).

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