Beery advent calendar #5 and Open It!

I've been trying not to get carried away with cask today. Mostly because I wanted to crack a few choice bottles in support of Moggie and The Dredgster's Open It! weekend. So I've restricted myself to single pints of Whim Black Christmas (coffee-dipped liqorice), Oakham Citra (tropical cat's piss) and Brunswick Black Sabbath (all the hedgerow, including the woody roots).

And now I get to Open It. First up was a dodgy hand-written label job from Stuart Howe at Sharp's. His 52 brew experiments have on occasion been as mad as a hatful of jelly and I enjoyed a rather rumbustious lunch this summer inflicting some of them on my friends. But there were a couple of bottles that I stashed away for a rainy day, including the Dark Saison.

It didn't rain today, but the snow on the roof melted fairly quickly so that's close enough. I'd like to tell you how un-nervingly exciting it was to enjoy a crispy aromatic beer that defied appearances. Instead, I shall borrow a favoured phrase of a beer-loving mate; it was "shit-the-bed" good.

Next was Alvinne Kerasus Bourgogne Barrel Oak Aged. On our mad dash across Belgium in his Big Blue Beer Taxi, Phil Lowry and I had just enough time before missing our ferry to stop off at De Struise. I crammed random beers into a case, one of which was this big beast. And, by Gum, I'm glad I did. A size-nine Doctor Marten stamp in cherry; echoes of almond and cinnamon, a velvet vinous wave that coats your throat and won't let go.

And then there was De Molen Kopi Loewak. Very very very very black. Fairly-fairly hoppy. Everso-incredibly coffee. For all you beer nerds out there, think Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast on caffeine-addled steroids. Hugely carbonated. In-your-face stuff. It's like being the desperate teenage exchange student meeting the last hooker at the docks, the one with hairy hands and an Adam's Apple like the time ball at the Royal Observatory. You know it's gonna cost you, you know it's gonna hurt you, but you've come this far and there's no turning back. A brutal experience. I'll be sore, yet contented, in the morning.

Tonight's gift: a recipe for the kind of dessert that I love but Mrs Scoop hates.

Tonight's picture: one of those shifty coffee-bean shitting things. It was dead when the picture was taken. No record exists to tell whether it was barbequed or grilled