Thursday gueuzedays

There's something about a splash of sunshine that makes me want to bring on the gueuze.

The phhht of the cork from the bottle. The itchng fizz of effervescence in a champagne glass. The sour tang, the makes-your-tabs-laugh tartness, perhaps a funky feel, maybe a lemon twist... truely the drink that keeps on giving. And as for kriek - I can't think of a finer fruit beer than a cherry-blessed, slightly chilled glass of sheer gorgeousness.

I've made gueuze and kriek my summer Thursday beers of choice this year. Partly because they're great beers to sip in the sun, sat in the garden, lawns mown the day before. Also because I knock together a light tea for myself on a Thursday whilst Mrs Scooper is out herding cats - I mean, running a Rainbow Guide unit. So I've been playing around with a host of dishes that complement and contrast the flavours of the beers.

Muusels and fries was a given. Hackneyed, perhaps, but there's that certain something in the way that gueuze cuts across the buttery sauce. Salmon quiche worked surprisingly well. Duck legs steeped in kriek and mustard were fantastic - a jagged-tooth palate-snagger of heat and fruit, sour and nutty. Goat's cheese salad with a few slippery beets was superb.

I'm building myself up to try the Sean Paxton-inspired  venison crusted with coriander and orange peel. Tonight, it's duck on toast; a robust pâté trowelled thickly onto thick slices of toasted Hovis. Alongside, a sublime kriek from Moriau that's been gathering dust for years but still tastes and looks lithe and sparkly. The other beers so far this summer haven't disappointed either, such as a feisty Hanssens kriek and a dashingly dry Grand Cru from Cantillon. And there's plenty more waiting in the wings, Saint Lamvinus and Iris from Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen, Girardin, Boon Mariage Parfait... it's going to be a long, goozey-boozy summer.

Many thanks to Imperial Commander, Gold Cup jockey Paddy Brennan and owner Nigel Twiston-Davies for expanding my tenner at 7-1 into a case of gueuze from beermerchants.