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It’s been a while since I have done one of these beer blogging sessions. I intended to always join in but life gets in the way. Sorry guys. Never mind though, I’m back now and the first topic is “snowed in”. Being hosted by Jon Abernathy at The Brew Site and he asks us what beers do we go for when we are stuck in the middle of winter with nowhere to go but the beer cellar.

Thanks Jon, thanks for posting for my first topic after my long hiatus a subject which is near impossible for me to answer. I live in Bedfordshire, England, a place which does get the occasional snow shower but never anything to leave you stranded in your own home. In fact it I have to cast my mind back three of four years to remember a snow bad enough to even affect the traffic.

I have been giving this some thought, however, and I have a few little snippets of my past that were very cold and I remember the beers I reaches for then. Here is one small account of beer and the cold:

Last year we had a lads weekend to Amsterdam. It was October and not all that cold. We have been several times before and we know which bars we like and which serve some really good beers. That being said we always try and seek out a few new places. This year it was suggested that we visit the Ice bar. Now I know it’s a tourists trap and there is nothing authentically Dutch about it and I know there is one in London which is only 40 miles from where I live, but it’s a lads weekend, if we were there for the culture we’d have visited much more sensible places than that.

For those who haven’t been, here is a little description of what it’s like. First of all you have to book your time slot. You then arrive about have an hour before where you are let into an ordinary bar provided you have a ticket. You are given a few tokens, some to spend in the first bar and some to spend in the Ice bar, these are part of the ticket price. You drink with the tokens in the first bar for about half an hour, until your time slot is called up. You then queue with approximately 30 other people who are all given gloves and huge coats to wear before being let in. Above you is a video playing which is a flagrant rip off of Pirates of the Caribbean meant to suggest that we’re all going on an ocean voyage which ends in us all being shipwrecked in a tiny ice cave. You are then walked into the ice bar. The bar itself is made of ice (no surprises there) and the walls too are made of frozen water. You could almost believe it is a frozen ice cave if it wasn’t the red LED clock giving you constant temperature read outs. It was about -10°c if memory serves. You spend the two tokens you were given outside and nothing else. No cash in the Ice bar. They time it all about right so the next group comes in just as you are finishing your second beer. The beers are served in a glass made of ice (no licking or eating of the glassware, by order). All in all you have three or four half pints, two of which are even colder that usual. You are then ejected from the premises where you wander off into the  (relatively) warm Amsterdam night. You then bump into a bunch of girls who were on your flight who you try to avoid but end up having a conversion with before leaving the final bar of the evening to raid the Febo machines. *

So there you are, in a cold room with a cold glass. Your fingers are slowly numbing and your face feels like you’ve been slapped with a shatterproof ruler. What sort of beer do they serve? There is only one option. Logically there is only one thing it could be. Which beers taste best when they are on the verge of freezing themselves? Beers that have always been known for their refreshing clarity and crispness? Of all the beers which taste the most repellant when warm? It has to be Lager. And which Lager? Well we’re in Amsterdam, you’ve got two choices and its not Amstel.

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*That last part may not happen to you, it is just an example of what can happen in Amsterdam when the beer flows. There are numerous other outcomes to an Amsterdam evening which you can Google for yourselves.