Quarantine Diaries XXXXVIII
Friday May 15th 2020
The recent easing of lockdown here in Texas has gone a long way towards alleviating much of the stress, anxiety and frustration that overtook me a lot during March and April, but more bad news from London that will continue to leave me financially stranded has burst that bubble and brought me back to Covid-19-reality with a bang. Plus the double-whammy of the UK’s new international quarantine policy and the (completely unavoidable) cancellation of this year’s Green Man festival mean that unfortunately we will not be returning to London this summer. Aside from the emotional adjustment, we’re looking at massive admin headaches as we prepare to wrestle with BA over flight refunds and try to extend our health insurance without going bankrupt. And of course, we have no idea when we’ll see our UK friends and family again. Yep, this sucks. My attempts at staying positive were firmly focussed on consuming rather large quantities of the fabulous Shiner-Balcones collaboration beer and whisky – not the most creative problem-solving but crackin high-quality commiseration at least. We also had lovely video chats with friends and family here and in the UK, although breaking the news that we’re not coming home was really sad. While I love living in Austin and I’m eternally grateful that we made it back here safely, not knowing when we’ll be able to visit home again is more scary and emotional than I could have imagined. Love to all of you on the other side of the pond.
Spencer Monk’s Reserve Belgian Quad
I had this beer back in the UK and to be honest, I didn’t think much of it. I’m so glad that I took the trouble to revisit it, as I’m now convinced that its flaws were acquired in transit. This is a beautiful, rich velvety Trappist Ale, firm and full-bodied with delicious rum-and-raisin notes that carry it dreamily down ones throat with a nice long finish. With none of the excess stickiness or harsh alcohol that can disappoint with Quads, this is just way too drinkable for a beer of 10.2%. Spencer is an authentic Trappist brewery in a Massachusetts monastery, a rather delightful fact made even more so upon reading about the monks’ two-year beer-drinking adventures around Belgium in preparation for opening their brewery. They really make this a religious choice I can get behind! Profits from the beers are channelled into the monks’ charitable works, so you really are drinking for the greater good, which sits pretty well with me. I look forward to trying more Spencer beers, although they have set the bar extremely high with this one.