Stout, and for most people this means Guinness, although there are other brands, and Guinness isn’t even necessarily the best one, is a drink I have enjoyed drinking for some time. It’s a black type of beer, called porter, which is just another name for stout. I think. Possibly. I’m not sure about the definition. Possibly there isn’t one even. Many beer drinkers will turn their faces into contortions of disgust at the smell, let alone the taste, which is unfair as they don’t seem to understand that if a lager or a pale ale is an appetiser or perhaps a snack then stout is a meal. And maybe that doesn’t even make sense. But it does to me. It’s a complex, big flavour, and not always easy to drink – perhaps you have to be in the mood for it – but you can really savour stout where other beers are frothy and perhaps forgettable. They do the job of refreshing and feeling clean and quenching thirst, but stout can do those jobs too, and then a bit more.

Maduro cigars are also a dark in colour and not always the smoothest option if you would like a smoke. It’s a dirty flavour almost, stronger, more likely to leave a bitter aftertaste than paler cigars. They have their place too. And my Padron maduros came in a beautiful wooden, carved box, which begs for affection and demands attention and rewards perseverance. They don’t make it easy to like them, but it’s worth the effort, and I’m learning. They are from Nicaragua and seem somehow mysterious, and the quality of mystery has always had its appeal.

It was a pleasant thing to drink a pint of Murphy’s Irish stout with a Padron maduro. They match each other and complement each other and I can’t quite work out why I never thought of the combination before. It seems like something I should have tried before today. Sometimes things work together because they are different from each other and sometimes things work together because they are similar, and these are similar, the cigar and the stout, and it was good and I’m glad I gave it a go.

It was blustery on the verandah as evening closed in and the large dog of indeterminate breed was walked slowly down the street one way, and then walked back again, and the man ran past on his fast jog, breathing the cool air hard and with a heavy tread. It was too cold for washing cars on the street and loud conversations across the road. People remained indoors or hurried past, going somewhere, heading for the warm. I listened to the radio and heard commentary of the footy and the Sharks beat the Storm, which was unusual, although this upset had seemed possible when I put my tips in on Friday afternoon but hadn’t been able to muster the gumption to act on my inkling that the unlikely was indeed possible and show some balls and pick the Sharks. And it was almost dark when they announced the NSW State of Origin team, and I can never really tell if it’s a good team until we play and inevitably lose against Queensland, and the scale of the loss reveals whether the selectors are complete idiots or merely a little bit deluded.

I felt empty, as often happens after a cigar, and perhaps the team announcement left me empty too. The excitement will be postponed until the game is played, and we Blues fans hope for a good result, and wish for all the luck we can get while knowing that even that may not be enough.

Published in: on May 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

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