Now that I have escaped London I can look on it as Alice might, wandering past the rabbit hole. The six years I spent there are more solid than a wild dream, but no less strange. London still holds for me a kind of bland terror spiked with moments of thrall. Often my time there felt as if I were pleading my case to an unseen tyrannical force full of whimsy and danger, not unlike the King and Queen of Hearts.
But was there ever such a labyrinth of surprises as London? Not in my life.
So it was with a keen sense of timing that I sampled BrewDog’s version of that quintessential of London brews, the porter. That it’s named it after the blue-skirted adventuress, Alice, makes it all the more fitting to sample before my return. Alice Porter is as surprising as I’d hoped, with a big tart cherry nose straight out of the bottle and shifting notes of bitter chocolate, pollen-like hop florals and a bit of pleasant mineral tang all topped with a bruise-dark cherry sweetness.
I’m going back to London Friday for a day, hopefully having a pint or two at the Jolly Butchers in Stoke Newington and saying hello to a pizzled dragon or two guarding the city before making my speedy return.
And I will return again, certainly, in May, for the Beer Bloggers conference. Now if I could only find the right rabbit hole to get me to the conference in Portland in August…