But not today. Oh no, today, I've earned a beer through honest toil. I've got my jeans dirty, my hands covered in soil, and have planted a lot of herbaceous perennials in our narrow border. Feeling faintly emasculated by knowing what a herbaceous perennial is, but more to the point, hungry and tired after a bit of fork-wielding, I decided I needed nourishing, not only with food, but also strong ale.
There's something about strong beer that really hits the spot. I wrote about Schneider Aventinus Eisbock as being nourishment rather than refreshment, and so it is here. Maybe it's the unfermented sugars acting as a carbohydrate load - certainly, Old Guardian is sweet, but with enough hops to give it a (more or less) balanced drinkability. That said, this isn't a beer for the novice - you really need to know what you're letting yourself in for here. But it's a great barleywine, showing that classic interplay of malt sweetness and hop bitterness. World class, in fact.
And the food? Well, cheese on toast doesn't sound like anything special, and maybe that's the point. Some dried bread, a bit of melted cheese and some good beer - it sounds almost monastic in its simplicity. Maybe that's what's going on here - an honest recharging of the soul, lifting the spirit after a day's work. Once in a while, it's good to feel like you've earned a beer.