Fancied a go at something I know, so I bought a can of Cabernet Sauvignon concentrate at Wilkinson’s (these ready-kits already have grape tannin mixed in which saved me a trip to a brewing shop this time). The instruction packet seemed a bit cavalier with cleanliness, telling me to pour up the grape juice with 1.8 liters of cold water and 450 g brewing sugars then pitching the yeast and nutrient packets. I opted to drop in a couple of Campden tabs and waiting 24 hours before inoculation. Starting specific gravity was 1.142 in 3.8 liters (I added a little more sugar to call it 1.120 in the topped up 4.5 liter final volume). Pitched at 19:00 on 30 January, topped up with club soda (clean, acidic) on 1 February.
As with the mead over the course of December and January, I had little control over the temperature but the growth/conversion was nearly as advertised this time and finished after 8 days instead of the 7 the package suggested. The ‘stop’ packet contains metabisulfite (a crushed Campden tablet, essentially) so I added ½ tsp of potassium sorbate to inhibit any rogue yeasts that escape exposure to the toxic gases released. I then deferred to the packaging and used the Wilko chitosan finings in lieu of my trusted gelatin/kieselsol regimen. Clear as a bell in 10 days with a SG of 0.982 (suggests 18.1% ABV) and bottled on 18 February (20 days from start to finish).
The claim is it is ready to drink immediately and we sacrificed a glass to this theory — more MD 20/20 than Chateau Lafite Rothschild but definitely wine. We’ll open another at monthly or so intervals until we are down to the last bottle which will get a full 2 years rest.
We’re rolling into spring, now, and soon we can do a bit of foraging for ingredients. Nice to know that this simple method works like it says on the tin, though.
The overpriced beer at the Draper’s Arms wasn’t a problem.
There were five tables to the side with clipboards bearing notes that read:
This table reserved from 7:30 PM,
But, it is yours until then.
Grand. I sat down at the empty one at 5:15 and settled in to read a few work documents.
At 5:30, a woman arrived alone and told the bartender that she was there as part of the 7:30 group whereupon the bartender told us all that we had to leave. I pointed at the “7:30 PM” on the note in front of me and he said, “I told her she was 2 hours early but she was having none of it.”
“Okay. Where’s your bathroom?” See the entry for the Red Lion in Chesham to discern what happened next.
As I walked past the windows where a dozen of us recently socialized or relaxed, I immaturely (as is my modus and in keeping with the theme) shot the bitch — who was sitting alone at one and surrounded by four other empty tables, mind — a bird. Fuck her and fuck this place.
Map linked here.
On my way to the Ealing High Street, I wandered into the King’s Arms hidden away a few corners down a side street.
Gorgeous pub, great beer selection, cute little dogs trotting around, friendly customers and staff, and absolute shit taste in music.
Here’s a map if you want to see if they play something less Radio 1-ish. At least it’s better than the Draper’s Arms.
Everyone should send a letter or, since everyone reads them if they pass through their hands, a postcard like this one to
President Stephen Bannon
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
A) this seems to be the sort of thing that gets under Trump’s skin and might cause him to have a stroke if it happens enough, and
B) see A).
Links to terminology:
Cottaging (also, this video from Monkey Dust)
Santorum (if the link ever fails, Google search “frothy” and “Santorum”)
FBs (hint, NOT FaceBook or First Baptist, unless it is)
Drunken Bunny Liqueurs
I ran up the hilly roads from JJ Moon’s in Wembley to the JJ Moon’s in Kingsbury only to be greeted by another cheery bartender (at 10 am, what…the…fuck?) watched over by a stern and sharply dressed bouncer/security guy (at 10 am, what…the…fuck?). Maybe that’s why Wetherspoon’s names some of their pubs “JJ Moon’s” instead of something related to the building or the area: staff on Prozac and a dangerous customer base. This one used to be a furniture store for decades before the bar took over and the block of storefronts went up in the post-war rebuilding-and-expansion boom of the 1950’s so there was plenty of fodder for a more imaginative name.
Still, it is hard to complain about drinking a pint in each of two pubs for less than £4 all in. While working on my porter here, a guy sat across from me with a slightly better order, though: a large whiskey and a cup of coffee. I should consider that combo for the rest of the winter.
Looking back at the other JJ Moon’s encounters, I didn’t notice anything odd in the one in Ruislp and the one in Tooting seemed connected to some underground fellows. Here’s a map if you fancy trying this one out (you can find the others there, too).
Sunday came around with snow flurries and blisteringly cold wind; the ground was too warm for the snow to stick so I couldn’t even use that as an excuse not to do the planned long run for the day. I left the house just after 8 and weaved my way over to Wembley to the Wetherspoons there — the disappointingly named “JJ Moon’s;” I think they could easily have come up with a name related to the dairy industry or Barham’s history but either they got lazy or the JJ Moon’s label designates something in particular in the Wetherspoon’s Universe (the Spooniverse?).
The inset tells the story of George Barham starting a dairy nearby, sending milk to the city, obtaining a Royal Warrant for same, and his eventual knighthood.
I bought my breakfast beer — a stout — from the cheeriest bartender I’ve met in a while. He spotted my coin carrier and remarked, “that’s one of those…those old…”
“Film canisters,” I helped out.
“YES! I haven’t seen one of those in ages!”
“Yeah, I bet you used to carry your weed in there.” He glanced quickly at one of the besuited bouncers (at 9 am they had bouncers).
“I used to do photography back when those were still around,” he corrected me. “What a flash back,” he added. “Get it?”
“Yeah, yeah. That actually works for both our stories.”
Later, he wished me well as I layered back up for the damp, windy run.
Here’s a map.
I ended the day’s run at the Castle because it was near the Holland Park Tube stop. It is a lovely old house made of ceramic tile and a wood interior and for the most part it’s welcoming.
For the most part. I asked where the gents’ was and got a frown. “The loo.”
Another frown and a cursory shake of the head, “sorry?”
“The head. The crapper. The lav? Pissoir? Restroom?”
He shook his lapel pinched between his thumb and forefinger, “a uniform?” How bad is may English, I thought.
“Washroom? Potty? W.C.? The can?”
“Can I help?” one of his colleagues offered.
“I want to change into these dry clothes,” I said holding up my backpack. “Is there a bathroom?” They both pointed to the Smallest Room In The House. At last.
In my big boy clothes, I returned and ordered an Elvis Juice because of the grapefruit infusion. Had I noticed it was a Brew Dog, I would have gotten anything else but instead I fucked myself out of £5.50. And, it isn’t even a full measure; one of the bartenders lied to another customer by saying that they aren’t allowed to sell it as a pint because it is so high in alcohol but at 6.5% it isn’t even 2/3 the volatility of some ciders I regularly quaff.
But, this isn’t a real pub. It is a yuppie impression of a real pub despite the enormous dog. They have the old school hooks mounted under the bar but they seem to be for show. This style is known as the Belligerent Drunken Octopus Picks A Fight, but if it was meant to carry a load the screws (eyes) would be tightened to the bar.
If you’ve just hit the lottery, here’s a map. The shitter is through a door on the far north wall.