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I'm just getting back into the swing of things with regard to beer drinking, but at the moment am still taking things slowly. There are two reasons behind this; the first is my system has become unaccustomed to alcohol over the last nine months or so and needs a bit of time to re-adjust. The second is I'm slowly weaning myself off the medication with another four weeks to go at the lowest practical dose, before I can say goodbye to the tablets. GP's really need to act more responsibly, and think of the consequences, before dishing out what after all are powerful psycho-active drugs! However, that's another story and one I don't wish to dwell on; onwards and upwards is the motto!

One thing I'm very pleased to report is that I haven't lost my taste or appreciation of good beer during the intervening period; in fact abstinence has made my enjoyment of a decent glass of beer all the more satisfying. Talk about "absence making the heart grow fonder"! I have noticed though that beer prices have shot up, even in the supermarkets! There are still bargains out there, but one must be prepared to look around for them.

I posted some time ago about the excellent cut price Oyster Stout from Marstons, on sale in Lidl's, and the other week I picked up some 500ml bottles of Czech Boheme 1795 (incorrectly labelled as a Pilsner!) for 99p each in Tesco's. Last weekend the same supermarket was offering Pilsner Urquell at 3 bottles for the price of 2, and I noticed on their website such delights as Adnams Broadside, Fullers Bengal Lancer and 1845 at 4 bottles for £5.50. Our nearest Tesco though is one of their smaller stores, and doesn't stock the full range of beers; hence I was unable to pick up the White Shield which was also on the same 4 bottles for £5.50 offer.

Not to be outdone Sainsbury'salso had some of their "Taste the Difference" beers on special offer over the Easter weekend. Two in particular caught my eye, so I decided to purchase them. The first was Porter, whilst the other was Celebration Ale. I've yet to try the latter, which is a 6.0% dark beer from Black Sheep, (unusual for then to be brewing an ale of this sort). However, I have sampled the Porter which is brewed by Shepherd Neame. Many of you will know that I am not a huge fan of Sheps but to give credit where it's due their Porter is a cracking beer. I'm not sure if it's the same beer that was available on draught some 10-15 years ago, which allegedly had liquorice root added to the copper, but tasting notes for this 5.0% bottled version describes the beer as having "intense spicy liquorice flavours alongside chocolate ones". It was certainly a good example of the style.

The Easter weekend saw me enjoying a range of different beers at the mini-beer festival organised by the Nevill Bull pub at Birling - see previouspost, but apart from that, and the odd pub stop on recent walks in the country side, I haven't done a lot of drinking in pubs. One beer probably more than any others that I am looking forward to sampling again is my old favourite, Harvey's Best. There are plenty of pubs around selling it, I just haven't had the opportunity to pop into one to try a pint recently.

Hopefully this will change at the weekend, especially as its my birthday. I will let you know how I get on.