2013 in books, films and beers

I like to keep records of things. The books I read. The films I see. And the beers I drink.

In the last year I have:

  • Read 15 books
  • Drunk 57 different beers
  • Watched 74 films

I’m pretty pleased with the number of books I’ve read. A little over one a month is good for me. I’d like to up that a bit for 2014. My favourite book read this past year is the final part of M.C Scott’s Rome series, The Art of War.

The number of different beers I’ve tried does not surprise me; I rarely drink the same beer twice. A few stand outs from the past few months are Batemans’ Mocha Beer, Siren’s Liquid Mistress and Orkney Brewery’s Clootie Dumpling.

And films. Well. Here’s an interesting stat for you – I’ve seen 58 of those 74 films since June! There are a number of possible reasons for this, the most likely are a subscription to Netflix and returning to the city that boasts the best independent cinema in the UK. The two films that are far and away the best I’ve seen in the past year are The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) and The Selfish Giant (2013).

Oxford Beer Festival

Last night we went to the Oxford Beer Festival at the Town Hall. With 160 real ales to try I was in heaven. I went in with a grand plan, I’d identified a number of beers I wanted to try and was going to work my way through them. Through a combination of sell outs and crowds at the bar this didn’t really work. So I adopted a new plan – find a gap at the bar and make a random pick. It worked as I don’t think I had a duff beer all night.

Here are the five I tried in order of my preference:

1. Adders Tongue (Hop Kettle, 5.3%)
Made with New Zealand hops this was a dark beer with a fruity flavour.

2. Copper Beech (Chiltern, 4.4%)
A strong, golden ale, this beer tasted of Autumn.

3. Headmaster (Old School, 4.5%)
Another dark beer with a nutty flavour.

4. Reilly’s Red (Vale, 4.3%)
My third dark beer of the night. Tasty but no distinctive flavours.

5. Boozy Floozy (Loddon, 4.5%)
A lighter beer made from challenger hops. Described as gently spicy but this didn’t really come through.

There were a few beers that I was disappointed to miss out on: Salem Porter (Bateman, 4.7%), Single Hop Chinook (Hop Kettle, 4.1%) and Witch’s Finger (WharfeBank, 4.6%). Perhaps I’ll get a chance to test them at another festival soon.