Journey of the J – Part 3

Come closer brothers and sisters, draw closer to your old friend Bifur to hear the final part of this, our most auspicious, audacious and, yes indeed, epic quest.


Yes, I know it’s been a long time coming but we cannot rush these things (say it true brother- Dwalin). For the sake of brevity I have condensed what possibly should have been a number of shorter articles into one slightly lengthy one (everyone loves a trilogy… right?) so bear with me and read on…

Ever moving, never resting… the goal of the objects was in sight. They needed to reach their ultimate destination.. it did not matter who bared their weight, who listened to their illustrious calls in the night. Albion, their spiritual home, this was where they needed to rest… this was where they needed to meet their ultimate goal… salvation in the bellies of the bearded ones…

The next step in the international Journey of the J was for your humble narrator to brave the wilds of the transport system of London and meet with “the Courier” and collect our trans-Atlantic beers.

Lacking a bicycle, my journey would purely take place on various incarnations of the public transport networks that criss-cross London- this, unfortunately, started badly as not only did I have to run for the train (I am not one of nature’s athletes…) but also, when I did get the train, I realised I had no real idea of how to get to where I was going (I’d agreed to meet the courier near to the Science Museum).

I’ve done this journey in various incarnations loads of times; but for some reason I could not work out which way to go (this may have had something to do with the terrible hangover I was suffering from…). This resulted in me standing in London Bridge Underground station for a bit, staring at an Underground map like a tourist while I worked out that there was a much more direct way I could have gone… Bugger.

From London Bridge I jumped onto the Jubilee line where I ended up sitting opposite a guy who looked just like Greengrass greengrass (a character from Heartbeat, why do I know these things? [shit, this reference totally wasn’t lost on me! How the fuck do I know these things too????- Dwalin]). He then spent the next few stops talking to himself and staring around wildly.

Happy to leave him behind, before he inevitably struck up a conversation with me, I got off the Jubilee Line at Westminster. Westminster station is an odd industrial hole in the ground: The entire station looks unfinished in an awesome way (loads of ideas for wargaming terrain; but that should wait for another article).

Having risen from the absolute depths of the earth to nearer the surface I boarded another train on the District and Circle line – they’re two distinct lines but run on the same track and go to the same stations; so I guess they’re not really that distinct…

Eventually I reached Kensington (the courier had assured me this was the closest station to our meeting point) and, emerging into the sunlight I spent a couple of minutes orientating myself, my Dwarven eyes disdain the sun and this was only exacerbated by having scurried up from the tunnels London so proudly exists upon. I eventually headed towards Exhibition road, via Cromwell road, finally meeting the Courier outside the entrance to the Science Museum; luckily my text of “Im the hairy guy wearing a SOAS hoody, looking hungover” was enough for the courier to locate me (He is a pro after all) and after a short, yet very pleasant, conversation I was handed a bag containing the international beer!!!!


Stupidly I then went the same way back I had come, turning what should have been a nice quick journey into a two hour arse about…

One thing I was particularly gratified to see was that my Forbidden Plant bag had made it all the way to the US of A and back. It’s a small thing…

Safely in the hands of their intended the items shook, quaking and aching, ready for their final descent….

(BOOM! Now that was fucking epic, huh, and… well… now the beer swap was complete it was time for Bif and I to supp at the sweet teat of divine creation… or, you know, to drink a dude’s homebrews that he kindly sent over from the states. – Dwalin)

First, well, let’s hear from our international friend….

Using his dark powers to get the lead on us Nyarlath’on’tap sampled the (now world famous) Fizzy J.

“It was a refreshing reminder that I like dark beers. Southern California is all about IPAs and so I don’t come across them that often. I suspect partly it is a climate thing, warm weather all year tends to drive a taste for something light and refreshing rather than something filling. I especially appreciated the balance, the alcohol levels didn’t present themselves in the mouth feel, which is always a concern with high alcohol beers. You also hit a nice balance between smoke and the malty backbone”

Awesome! That’s a glowing review if I ever heard one!

Unfortunately it was to be some time before Dwalin and I were able to sample Nyarlath’on’tap’s offerings to the dark gods of the Brew. But taste them we did and, because we are massive nerds, we wrote tasting notes and, after I spent some time deciphering my scrawl, I then sorted these into some kind of order for your reading pleasure… Oh, we also included the ingredients Mr On’tap sent us for each brew… again, massive nerds…

Our first was the “Any Day Pale” (3.64% ABV.Grains: 2-row base malt with a touch of caramel 20L (that L stands for Lovibond, which is a measure of darkness of the roasted malts, it’s not something we’ve spoken much about yet – Dwalin). Hops: Bittering with Northern Brewer hops while both flavour and aroma additions were Cascade) This beer poured with a beautiful clarity, usually only reserved for Lagers, a neat head and a tantalising scent of Sherbet to it (this was confirmed by Mrs Dwalin [I remember that as being Mrs Bifur- Dwalin], proving that Dwalin and I are not pretentious wankers for noticing it. [well… – Dwalin]). This aroma was repeated in the taste with a lovely hint of orange Sherbet shoring up the crisp character of this ale. This is a fantastic session Ale, one which we both agreed we could drink all day long. This is a beer that may not have been, but we feel should have been, made for Gamers.

Second up was “Some Session” (3.72% ABV. Grain: 2-row base malt with a touch of caramel 40L Hops: All three hop additions were Columbus). This beer had a rich brown colour, with just a hint of orange when the light shone through it. A good solid drink with plenty of flavour. A slightly sweet taste with a hint of figs results in a classic ale taste. Best enjoyed sitting next to fire relaying tales of the days mining.

Our final beer was simply titled (U+26f5). (6.9% ABV. Grain: German Pale Ale, English Maris Otter, and Briess Caramel 20L. Hops: Kent Golding hops for bittering and Fuggle hops for both aroma and flavour) Much more of a traditional bitter than the other two beers, with a cloudy brown colouring and a stronger, more assertive taste than the Session. This felt like the most grownup of the trio. Black pepper and a Lemon citrus permeated the bold malt profile and a slightly soured note in the background rounded off what is a great beer. Especially good for drinking whilst standing over the bodies of your slain foes, gloating at their demise.

All in all a truly successful international exchange of brew. The only downside being that we are unlikely to be able to lay our hands on any more of these marvellous creations… well, these specific ones anyway. Nevertheless Dwalin and I fully intend to engage the services of the Courier again, should we be able to persuade him to engage again, and continue our trans-Atlantic trading, as long as Nyarlath On’tap fancies engaging… if that all works Dwalin and I just need to engage and…. fuck, what other words are there for engage??? Also, why hasn’t Dwalin made a silly Jean Luc Picard Joke here??? FUCK, HE’S MANAGED TO GET ME TO DO IT FOR MYSELF…

Stay tuned for more beer exchanges and even some content written by Nyarlath’on’tap, hopefully sharing some of secrets of the dark and ancient art of small batch brewing.

Freud judges those that don’t take risks