I feel it's one of the world's great injustices that being "not a morning person" is socially acceptable while exhibiting the same sort of misanthropy at hours later than 10pm is frowned upon. Well to hell with that: I'm proud of being a morning person, I'm happy in the pub before noon and if I decide in the evening that it's too loud and crowded to be enjoyable then I'm out of there. You can stay and enjoy the "atmosphere", a term which as far as I can tell means "nowhere to sit and you can't hear what anyone is saying". Grrr.
All of which means I'm no stranger to drinking alone. The afternoon pint is my favourite one and while you're very welcome to join me, I won't be waiting around for you to be ready. I may even have moved on by the time you arrive. The joy of solitary drinking is this month's topic on The Session, hosted by Nate of Booze, Beats & Bites.
I had a spare hour in Dublin city centre recently and used it to check out a relatively new bar, Yamamori Izakaya below the Oriental Café on South Great George's Street. It was early evening and I had the place to myself, taking a stool at the bar because I always feel a bit guilty occupying a table if I'm on my own. What brought me in was a tip-off (thanks again Richard!) that they had a Hitachino Nest beer on draught in addition to the three bottled ones stocked across the Yamamori chain and reviewed back here. And there it was, two taps over from the O'Hara's IPA: Nipponia.
I was presented with an innocent-looking golden coloured pint. Casting my nose over the surface I received just a hint of sourness, reminding me that getting the first pint from the tap is one of the hazards of early-day drinking. Nothing hint-like about the flavour, however. There's an intense foghorn blast of orange-peel hops which I am reliably informed is Sorachi Ace in full voice. It lingers oleaginous on the lips and soft palate as this is a heavy beer much more suited to accompanying food than session pinting. (Research afterwards suggests it's 6.5% ABV; research at the time revealed it goes great with a teriyaki burger and side dish of noodles.)
By the half way point I was accustomed to the bitterness and the hops became more nuanced, with notes of mandarin and lychee thrown in. I rushed things a little at the end as I found it was getting heavier and stickier as it warmed. Overall a very interesting beer in a bar that brings something delightfully different to the Dublin pub scene.