A Toast to the Queen

There's an ex-Pat pub in San Diego, up on a hill overlooking San Diego Airport, called Shakespeare's and they hosted a series of Jubilee Cream Teas in June, to celebrate 70-years on the throne for Queen Elizabeth. We went to one, which was actually quite enjoyable.

Three-months later and an era had ended. I decided to do a toast on the day of her service and came up with two bottle-aged beers from the mother country: The first was Coniston Brewing Bluebird Bitter (4.2%), which I'm sure needs no introduction to these pages. Soft, very slightly hoppy with English Challenger hops, with mild biscuity Maris Otter malt. A very pleasant creamy finish, again leaning towards the malt. I haven't had this beer in years and really enjoyed it. As my wife's "session" beers start at 8.0% ABV, I couldn't persuade her to try this one.

My other toast was Tynt Meadow (7.4%) a Trappist Ale from Mount Saint Bernard Abbey in Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire. The monks took a 19th century recipe to come up with this beer and as you would expect, the malty presence shines through. It wasn't as soft as Bluebird Bitter, but thoroughly enjoyable and a fitting toast to our longest serving Monarch. Their website is a fascinating read: www.mountsaintbernard.org

I tried the Tynt Meadow after watching "Brotherhood: The Inner Life of Monks" on BBC 4 some time ago. If you haven't seen the programme, its well worth tracking down. It follows the Abbey through its history, daily life and hopes for the future, which include setting up the brewery. It might be on iPlayer.