Wet January begins, fittingly, with torrential rain pouring outside my window. Inside, I’m pouring a beer. This marks an attempt to drink a beer every day in January; hopefully a new beer, but I accept I’ll have to revisit some old favourites.
Two factors have spurred this on. The first is a positive ‘pull’ factor. Over on Facebook I saw Chris Rowlands, landlord of the Urban Tap House, declare he is going to attempt a beer a day for 2014. A noble endeavour, one I support fully. I know I can’t achieve that due to a subtle blend of forgetfulness, bouts of over-indulgence and having a lot of other crap to juggle. A month is within my reach, though.
The second reason is a ‘negative’ push factor. In order to compensate for their sins over the holiday season, it seems many people want to start the New Year with a purge. Beer is to be enjoyed how you like, when you like, and money is often raised for charity so I’m not in the mind to speak ill of ‘Dry January’, ‘Dryathlons’ or ‘Dry Athletes’.
Personally, though, it strikes me as neo-temperance. Somehow a nagging guilt has infected Dry January participants with the notion that having fun and enjoying alcohol is inherently wrong and in order to purify themselves they have to make a public display of self-flagellation.
Whether that’s the case or not, a very real impact of Dry January is the blow dealt to pubs, breweries and independent retailers. Some of these struggle at the best of times; the last thing they need is a month where everyone is off the beer. We’re talking people’s jobs being on the line here. So, let’s raise a glass to the future prosperity and successes of the beer industry.
Wet January: Day #1 – The Kernel Export India Porter
My first beer of January is The Kernel Export India Porter, for no reason other than that it’s in the cupboard. This was a gift from the in-laws, bought from Beer Ritz’s online sister company, Beer Paradise.
The Kernel Export India Porter (5.8% ABV) is a deep black brew with a head of dark tan foam. It has a dry roast coffee aroma with hints of oozy, chocolate sauce. The mouthfeel is thick and tarry, carrying with it rich, luxurious coffee notes and backed up by a surprising bitterness. Imagine strong coffee beans coated in dark chocolate. Whispers of soy sauce and blackberries lurk in the background. For the finish, the tongue is left covered in thick, malty tar and feathered with hops. Beautiful. Happy New Year’s Day.