Having a bit of post New Year clearout I came across a bottle of J W Lees Harvest Ale 2000 that I must have been given to celebrate the millennium. It's what's known as a 'barley wine' - a strong sweet beer, in this instance made by the J W Lees brewery in Manchester.
Most beers would have been as dead as a dodo 10 years on but at 11.5% ABV, Harvest Ale is clearly built to last. Still, it was a big ask to expect it to be drinkable after all this time and I was amazed how good it was.
It was so rich, sweet and dark (see below) it was more like a sherry or madeira, mind you. Only a background note of maltiness reminds you that this is beer but I suggest you drink it like a fortified wine with blue cheese, dark chocolate or a slice of dark sticky fruitcake. (In my view cheese is the best of all three, but then I'm one of the rare mortals who likes cheese more than chocolate.)
It's a shame in a way the weather has warmed up. It's the perfect beer to sip on a cold winter's night. Not that I'm tempting fate . . .