I'm a bit tired - no wait, I'm knackered. The country is out of recession, and they all want to come and spend money at Beer-Ritz. Hooray for continued growth and prosperity, boo to being on your feet for nine hours at a time. All I wanted to do was come home, have a beer and go to bed.
There's a chap who comes into the shop every Sunday evening, and buys three bottles of decent beer. He bought some Gadds Reserved a few weeks ago and asked if I'd tried it. I said I hadn't but would try one and report back. He thought the one he'd bought was a bit odd - he thought it tasted of juniper.
Being a dutiful sort of a chap, with a love of a fairly strong beer for a nightcap after a long day standing around drinking Three Floyds Dark Lord and Courage Imperial Russian Stout, sorry, I mean selling quality beer to good people, I've come home, sloshed my bottle of Reserved into a glass, and have it in front of me.
I don't need to taste it to tell that it's got some sort of infection - it smells like dry Breton cider from a foot away. Out of duty, I have a mouthful - it's drinkable, but it's not really giving me any pleasure, and I'm not going to finish it. It's a shame, as the other Gadds beers I've tried (Pale No 3, Dogbolter Porter and India) are great.
If I was feeling generous, I might make an argument that a barrel-aged beer will always display a bit of "character". For example, Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout from last year (the cream labels) has developed a prominent barrel character. It's not totally unpleasant, but it's moved from being something that my better half was happy to have a sip of, to something that made her pucker her face in unhappiness. It's the nature of the beast, I guess.
Anyway, if I was judging this bottle of Reserved in a beer competition, I'd call for another sample. As it is, there isn't another bottle in the cellar, so I'm going to call for something else.