Quarantine Diaries XXXXV
Tuesday May 12th 2020
On Tuesday it rained. I’m not bringing this up because I’m being horribly English and insisting on talking about the weather. I mention this because, in all my extensive international travels, I have never seen anything on quite the same scale as a Central Texas rainstorm. I’ve been hit by crazy Thai flash-floods, sheets of rain in Virginia, endless volcanic drizzle in Costa Rica and the persistent thud of the Sri Lankan monsoon; seen blue skies turn black in seconds over Mexico, waded through the knee-deep sewage-filled streets of Yangon and seen the banks of the Mississippi bursting in Davenport, Iowa, but Central Texas storms are still in a class of their own. How the bellowing thunder and dazzling shocks of lighting can keep going for hour upon hour is a mystery to me. The first time I felt the house actually shake from the power of the sound I was absolutely terrified – it felt like an earthquake from above. Although I am now adequately reassured that we won’t be going full Wizard Of Oz any time soon (yes, Kansas I know but still a relevant analogy – we did have a tornado warning!), the storms here still command my attention. Theirs is a ferocity that will not be ignored, a stunning counterpoint to the miserable British hair-frizz damp that has tormented me for most of my life. This is rain you can sing songs and write stories about, weather that dictates like an absolute monarch, all-powerful with the potential to punish viciously and indiscriminately. These are storms that you have to wait out, lockdown or no lockdown – nature leaves no question marks as to who is in control. I won’t bother spelling out the somewhat obvious Covid-19 comparisons – suffice to say that these magnificent storms never fail to remind me of how small and impermanent we humans are on this planet.
Brazos Valley Brewing Pancho and Lefty IPAs
Based out of quaint, historic Brenham TX, BVB punch way above their weight with high quality brews and excellent state-wide distribution. We rate these guys pretty highly, so much so that we carried their formidable Mama Tried IPA and moreish 7 Spanish Angels Coffee Ale all the way across the Atlantic to serve at our wedding, both of which went down a treat with our British beerfriends. BVB’s annual release of the Pancho and Lefty IPAs feels a little special as they honour Texas’ greatest unsung country music hero, the mighty Townes Van Zandt with this pair of complementary brews. Pancho’s rustic, farmhouse Eukanot-hop tang contrasts nicely with the honeyed lemon-zest of Lefty’s El Dorado. This was the first time I’d thought to serve them side by side, and whether or not this was BVB’s intention, I would highly recommend it as each gently brings out the flavour of the other. Also totally loving this year’s gorgeous artwork. Feel free to play the song and get a little misty-eyed – we certainly did.