Thursday, 25 December 2008

A Merry Christmas to One and All

Well it's the evening of Christmas Day. We've all enjoyed an excellent dinner, in my case washed down with several glasses of Belgian Dubbels. We've watched Harry Potter and Doctor Who, and now because the lady of the house wants to watch Strictly Come Dancing, I've escaped upstairs, put my new Genesis Platinum Collection CD on and have decided to knock out a few words on my computer keyboard.

I see that it's been three weeks since I last posted anything, which isn't good for someone who's supposed to be hosting his own blog spot, so hopefully I can make up a bit for lost time.

It's been a hectic run up to Christmas with the attendant shopping for presents, card writing, lights to put up etc. I've been to a couple of good bashes, including my firm's Christmas Dinner - I stuck mainly to wine as the function was held in a Greene King pub, but the meal plus the company were both very good. I also attended the annual Christmas Dinner hosted by West Kent CAMRA branch, where this time the beer as well as the food and company were excellent.

The venue for this feast was the Rose & Crown at Halstead, a village high in the North Downs above Sevenoaks. This was the fourth year running that the branch has chosen this well run village local as the place to hold our annaul gathering and, as usual, the pub did us proud. There was a good range of well-kept beers on offer including Larkins Traditional, Whitstable East India Pale Ale, a nice dark mild from a brewery who's name escapes me, but I think it was Three B's, plus a beer from Cottage Brewing Company. My only slight grouse was there wasn't a stronger dark ale on offer; Harveys Old Larkins Porter or would have fitted the bill nicely!

Speaking of Larkins Porter, this season's brew seems even better than last year's if that's possible. I've enjoyed several pints recently of this superb dark brew in Larkins own tied pub - the basic and unspoilt Rock at Chiddingstone Hoath, as well as at the brewery. I was tempted to get a polypin of it in to drink at home over the festive season, but a combination of having spent too much already this Christmas, coupled with the fact I have several cases of bottled beers, including some interesting Belgian and Czech offerings, sitting indoors persuaded me that this might not be such a good idea in the cold light of dawn.

I'm off to the wilds of Norfolk later in the week to visit family, so hopefully I'll be able to track down some good beers there. I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone the compliments of the season and hope that 2009 turns out to be not too bad after all.

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