Sunday was a rest day, and by this point in the trip I needed a proper rest. There had been an idea about heading to Tunbridge Wells to check out some pubs but in the end we stayed at Stu and Fritha’s and had a lazy afternoon of beer , wine and cheese in the back garden. JK had very generously given me a bottle of 1977 Bass Jubilee Strong Ale. This hefty Burton Ale was older than me! and the oldest beer I had ever had (a 1979 Thomas Hardys Ale on my 30th birthday the previous record holder) . After a little trouble getting the cork out we decanted it , took a sample of the lees for JK to culture up, and poured ourselves glasses. Wow it was totally knockout good with rich Madeira and sherry notes, warming smooth alcohol and a rich malt backbone. It didn’t deserve to be this good but it was. We spent the afternoon dealing to the cheese and beer I had bought at the markets and a bottle of vintage English sparkling wine I had bought as a gift. The English winter was no where to be seen as we sat outside in tshirts in 20c sun. Someone mentioned the only thing to make it perfect would be for a spitfire to fly over and then almost on cue one did from the nearby warbird airfield. My rest was perhaps somewhat undone by the multiple single malts we ended up drinking but there you go, that is how it is sometimes.
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