Beers for a rainy day
The best beers to sip inside
Remember when a rainy day was the worst possible thing that could happen to you? Aside from missing the beginning of – and therefore the theme tune to – Kick Start, throwing back the He Man curtains to be greeted by a cold, water-streaked windowpane meant The End Of The World. No playing outside. No Adventures. Sure, you could stay in and watch telly, or try and load up the C64, but your Mum would be hovering about, that frown burning a hole in the back of your head, ruining any chance of enjoying that week's episode of Manamal or Air Wolf. All because of the rain. Whhhhyyyyyyyy?
Now, of course, things are different. Your Mum doesn't make you get up; The Man does. Curtains are less interesting, and your smartphone has twenty times the processing power of Commodore's finest. Those endless summer months have shrunk to the occasional public holiday or three-day weekend. Nothing will ever take away the misery of lying in bed listening to an April shower battering off the windows, knowing you have to get up – but if you don't actually need to go outside, these days there are so many more distractions than classically shonky 80's television. Like…let's say…beer.
But what do you want of an unexpected-rainy-day beer? Here are four different scenarios where only a beer will do. We'll call them 'Monday to Thursday'…
Whilst literally doing the same, sometimes you also want a metaphorical liquid blanket to pull over the shoulders and snuggle into. Something to settle in for the afternoon with – a smooth partner, soft and gentle. However, it also needs a fair bit of body, as you don't want the relationship to dwindle away over time, much like that third season of whatever boxed set your backside is losing all feeling for. What were Gary and Barbara thinking? 'The new Wire', my ass (literally).
Companion style – Brown Ale
BrewDog #Mashtag (7.5%) Nutty, caramel – smooth and mellow. A liquid Slanket
Clown Shoes Brown Angel (7.2%) Lower yourself into a bath of Demerara sugar
As the rain streams down the pane, confine yourself to huddling in the window seat, on a pile of cushions. You need something to remind yourself that Spring weather is supposed to be bright and life-confirming, not suddenly bleak and Octoberlike. Forget where you are with a zappily tropical pale ale, transporting yourself instantly a thousand miles from your apartment over a Chicken Cottage, across the gulf of time and experience, to the sun-flecked, fruit-laden trees of the South Pacific.
Companion style – India Pale Ale
BrewDog Punk IPA (5.6%) Guava and passion fruit give suggestions of distant adventure
Victory HopDevil (6.7%) Is pineapple a tropical fruit? What about pine needles?
Another avenue to explore is simply to seek solace in the warmth that beer can provide, and relax until the dark clouds pass overhead. The proverbial cockles are waiting. When trapped indoors on a rainy bank holiday, it's time to warm them with the thickest, gloopiest, room temperature nurser you can dig from the far reaches of the cupboard. Sink into an armchair, put on some light, mellow tunes, and keep one eye on the crack in the curtains. Is the sun out yet?
Companion style – Stout
BrewDog Cocoa Psycho (10%) With cacao, vanilla and sweet oak? A perfect pillow
Stronzo Swagger Juze (8.0%) Mellow, sticky rye spiciness ends with a quiver of espresso
Back in the day, it was Manic Miner. Now, you need something else to relieve the boredom and stimulate the senses. Candy Crush ain't going to cut it. So, if you can't go out to play, your tastebuds certainly can. Give them something big, something punchy. Sit at the kitchen table, fetch a pad and pencil, and work out what you're tasting, and why. And whether you like it. If you don't, who cares? It's better than watching Sky Living.
Companion style – Barley Wine
BrewDog Clown King (12%) Rich, alcoholic fruit syrup; the ideal stormchaser
Alesmith Old Numbskull (11%) A copper-coloured, caramel-flavoured, hop wallop
The long, heady days of summer are on their way. Sure, these days you may not spend months off school, taking bike rides and scraping your knees – but good weather is still good weather. Beer, though, can fit with inclement weather just as well, and before April showers give way to May flowers, there's one last chance to spend a sodden weekend in, before the hot sun appears and takes over.* What beers do you seek solace in, when the clouds suddenly wreck plans you have for the weekend? What are your go-to beers for seeking Companionship, Release, Warmth and Interaction?
*Offer not valid in Scotland
What's your rainy day beer?