At the moment, Mrs Nelly and I are renovating a house. This is great, except for the regular visits to furniture shops. Last weekend saw a visit to Arighi Bianchi in Macclesfield, to look at sofas we can't afford. This had two main redeeming features - firstly, it's better than going to Ikea and secondly, it was only a short walk to Brewtique, a specialist beer shop which opened last year.
Brewtique was quite posh really, with a stone floor and nice shelving. Some considerable effort had clearly gone into fitting it out. The selection was just right too, with a wide range of craft beers available to suit every pocket. I picked out one I'd been wanting to try for a while - Strannik by Northern Monk.
At 9%, Strannik is a mighty, robust imperial stout. It's made with various types of roasted malt and brown sugar, to ramp up the ABV. I'll be quite honest and admit that my knowledge of stouts isn't particularly extensive. I'd certainly never had one quite like this before.
The taste is a full-on assault, with the rich roasted flavours leaping out at you. It seemed that if you thought about it enough, just about every flavour was there. Coffee, chocolate and liquorice all made an appearance, I'm sure.
Mrs Nelly had a sip and said, "It's like Marmite." "Oh, you mean you either love it or hate it?" I replied. "No, I mean it's actually like Marmite", she said. I took another sip and could see what she meant.
Overall, I did love it, although Strannik is a beer you'd keep on the top shelf and treat yourself to on special occasions. I may well get another few bottles and do just that.