IN THE EYE OF THE BEER-HOLDER Posted on Friday 13 April 2012

One thing that’s easy to do on tour is drink. Whiling away the hours in a green room with little to occupy your time but patchy wifi and a box of beer, it’s inevitable they start to slip down rather easily. This time, however, instead of just knocking it back blindly, I would sample, savour, and critique it as the dilatant connoisseur that I am. As we’d added ‘local beers’ to our rider (largely to avoid the slap-in-the-face awfulness of Budweiser et al) I decided to pick out my top three:

3rd place – Elissa IPA

Brewery: Saint Arnold, Houston

Taste: Complex hoppy notes complement a satisfying yet refreshing IPA experience in this very drinkable Texan brew. Floral notes complement a citrusy zing, while a malty body disarms the strong bitter flavours for a clean finish.

Best drunk: To cleanse your pallet of the bitter taste of having a damn democrat in the White House. He ain’t even ‘Mrrcan.

Rating: ***1/2

2nd place – Schafly Oatmeal Stout

Brewery: Schafly Breweries, St Louis

Taste: This rich, full-bodied stout instantly floods your palette with sweet caramels and honeyed raisin. There’s a moment of respite before the hit of bitter chocolate and roast barley finish.

Best drunk: In vast quantities before attempting the harrowingly cramped ride to the top of the St Louis Gateway Arch.

Rating: ****

Winner – Fat Squirrel Ale

Brewery: New Glarus Brewing Co, Wisconsin

Taste: A whopping six different types of Wisconsin hops contribute to this clean, satisfying and wonderfully nutty brew. Barley malt provides the distinctive hazelnut flavour, while being unfiltered and bottle conditioned provides a bready nose and toffee finish.

Best drunk: While sat on your porch in a rocking chair getting a bead on them darn furry critters who keep stealin’ your cheese.

Rating: ****1/2

Also, special boozy thanks to Donna Bridge, who brought us a bottle of her rather excellent homebrew that she’d named after one of our songs ‘Deconstructed IPA’. Here’s Simon and I thoroughly enjoying it.