She wants to be adored. You know she does. And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s worth making sure she knows that you know.
So does he, actually. To feel loved. To feel wanted. Secure in this vast, populated, lonely world of ours.
And whilst I detest the ‘invention’ of greeting card days throughout the year (or at least that’s my excuse for continually failing to buy a Mothers' Day card), I have a soft spot for Valentine’s Day.
Did you know it’s actually a proper thing? Originally a celebration of Saint Valentinus, Chaucer began the association with romantic love in the 14th century:
"For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make."
With spelling like that, he was probably drunk all the time. And times have changed too. There aren’t too many venues left where "every bird cometh there to choose his mate”. Though it does sound a bit like Embargoes...
In Europe the tradition was not to send chocolates and flowers, though that goes back over 300 years but to give a key, “to unlock my heart”. And if I know anything, then it’s the key to a man’s heart is beer.
And not just any beer. Big bottles of beer that have been crafted with love and melded over time to create something magical. Something sexy.
Beer is a relatively simple drink to make. It can take a couple of weeks to churn out a decent pale ale but what if you set up a brewery where the beer took over a year to make, sometimes up to 3 years? You invest all that money and then have nothing to sell for months. That takes dedication. Choosing the path less travelled. Well, some fine souls on this planet have done just that and we’re the lucky ones. We get to drink these great beers. When you understand the time and effort that goes into creating them, they’re great value.
They’re not your everyday beers, though we can but wish. But with the big day coming up, can I suggest a few for you to try? They could be the key you’re looking for.
What could be more romantic than mead? A honey based alcoholic brew made with local Welsh apples with the help of a few bees. Among the many definitions of the word ‘honeymoon’, is the theory that a month’s supply of mead was given to newlyweds immediately after the wedding and that regular imbibing would lead to a child. For those of you who haven’t ever had mead, we’ll have some for you in the shop on Sunday
Set up over 10 years ago, the Jolly Pumpkin brewery now regularly wins awards Stateside. All their beers are fermented in open vessels to allow the local ‘wild’ yeast to get involved. Then the beers are matured in oak barrels, much like a winery. Time is one of the most important ingredients in their beers. This one is a sour brown beer in the style of the great Belgian breweries we love so much at The Beer Boutique. It’s brewed with cacao, and spiced with cinnamon and sweet orange peel and is truly something to savour.
AleSmith are based in California and again are often found with a trophy to their name. This beer is a barley wine which means it’s a strong caramel coloured beer (11% ABV in this case) and has dried fruit aroma. It’s a beer for sipping at the end of a meal. Old Numbskull is surprisingly bitter for a barley wine but full of malty sweetness too. A great beer to keep in the cellar, this will improve with age.
Over to Belgium now to one of our favourite breweries. This is a beer made by blending 1 year old, 2 year old and 3 year old lambic beer (fermented by wild, local yeast). The beer is aged in oak barrels. You can’t even make this beer unless you have some 3 year old beer in a barrel! It is gently acidic and wonderfully bright. Maybe even champagne like, some might say. This will age beautifully and will be great (better even) to drink in 10 years' time.
From the traditional to the modern. This is a former home brew recipe that has stood the test of time. Those former home brewers are now Weird Beard and this is their imperial stout (think really strong, very dark beer). It is aged in oak and this particular version has been in old Tequila barrels for at least 6 months giving it a boozy edge and touch of vanilla. A beer made with time and love and a recipe honed over many years, this is definitely worth a try.
If you already like beer, then I hope I’ve inspired you. These beers are so special that they're worth trying. Nothing like the beer your Dad used to drink. These are truly special and worthy of adoration.