A lot can happen in the space of three years. The United Kingdom has had three prime Ministers and lost a number of working members of the Royal Family, for one reason or another. Leicester Tigers have managed to go from just avoiding relegation from the Rugby Premiership to winning it and the Duke of York has had its painted fireplace stripped back to expose the original gritstone, complete with the massive staple bridging the crack in the lintel.
Three years can make a bit of difference to an individual's life too. Back in September 2019, in this post, I introduced you to Delilah, the devil cat. When she wasn't ripping the sofa or demanding food she was butchering a blackbird or regurgitating a gecko on the pale rug in the lounge. I suppose she's progressed from being a single teenage mother of four to a more mature, responsible young adult. The frequency of sofa-shredding has reduced as has the almost constant demands for feeding. The disembowelling of local wildlife seems to have stopped too.
Mrs. Bygone Boozer and I had returned to Andalucia for the first time in three years, Covid travel restrictions having made the journey either impossible or impractical in 2020 and 2021. We were once again to take on the roles of Food Providers (FP) 3 and 4 whilst FP1 and FP2 were away exploring more eastern parts of the Mediterranean. Three weeks under the Spanish September sun without cycling wasn't to be contemplated so we took a couple of bikes with us. And just to make sure that we didn't get charged an amount equivalent to Tuvalu's GDP by the airline for taking bikes, we took our Chameleons, each of which folded to fit into its own Delsey suitcase. In around forty minutes they would turn from this...
Whilst looking rather industrial, and despite their small diameter wheels, they do perform very much like a 'real' road bike. I even rode mine in the Buxton Mountain Time Trial, on a very hot August afternoon, way back in 2003. The Chameleon's manufacturer, Airnimal, used the shot below, with the word 'fast' tagged to it, in its advertising for the next few years. I was almost famous, even if I wasn't actually fast.
That mountain time trial wasn't the last of the genre that I rode, but it was the Chameleon's. Its subsequent ventures into the mountains have been more leisurely affairs...
...with returns from the seaside being more leisurely still.
All this pedalling in temperatures of thirty eight degrees – that's a big one hundred in old money – would necessitate a beer or two upon returning to Casa Delilah. In the aforementioned post from 2019 I had looked at some of the Andalucian Ales available locally and I intended to expand on that experience with bottles bought in the local supermarket.
The first bottle removed from the refrigerator was this bottle of Gara. An unfiltered 5.2% brew, the chill haze did fade as it warmed up but the beer didn't clear fully, probably due to my over-enthusiastic pouring technique.
This beer is named after Gara, the Princess del Agua, or water princess, from the island of La Gomera in the Canary Isles. She died when she embraced her lover Jonay, whilst soldiers from his disapproving father's army surrounded them. If you're thinking that this is a strange name to give an Andalucian brew you'd be right. In my haste to get in and out of the supermarket as rapidly as possible I'd spotted the word 'artesanal' and just assumed that it would've been produced pretty locally. It was actually brewed in the Canaries, on La Palma – La Isla Bonita. Time to cue Madonna.
Tropical the island breeze
All of nature wild and free
This is where I long to be
La Isla Bonita.
So, with it not being Andalucian I won't dwell on it other than to say that it boasts that it contains three different malts and that it was OK, but that I won't be rushing to La Palma to find some more if the supermarket's supply runs out.
The other new beer that I came across certainly was Andalucian, being brewed in Malaga by Cervezas Victoria.
Marengo is a ceverza negra, or a black beer. We'd call it a stout. Whilst the Gara contains three types of malt, this 5.6% brew contains five. The bulk of the malt content is composed of Munich and Pilsen which provide sweetness and maltiness, with a pair of caramelised ones adding toffee and, err, caramel flavours. The fifth, roasted malt, provides the darkness.
Southern Spain doesn't immediately spring to mind when thinking of stout but this one is very nice, especially when consumed from the fridge. As might be suggested by its dark amber colour, it isn't full of dry, heavily roasted flavours as are those stouts which are almost black in appearance, like a certain famous Irish brew and its imitators. Those toffee and caramel flavours do come through.
So that's bikes covered, beer dealt with, so now's the time for some bygone boozers. As I stated in the first sentence, a lot can happen in the space of three years. In 2019, as with earlier visits to Jimena, the downstairs bar at Casa Henrietta was a must. Whether it was for an Alhambra 1925 to go with a pizza, or an Alhambra 1925 to stir the brain cells on quiz night or simply an Alhambra 1925 to follow the previous Alhambra 1925 it was a great, atmospheric place to go. Now the bar is only available to residents or if there happens to be a special event on. That really is a shame.
Henrietta's isn't the only watering hole in Jimena to have disappeared in the last three years. El Anón, named after the sugar apple or custard apple grown in the coastal regions around these parts, and of which there was a mature example inside, had a great restaurant, a terrific roof terrace and a bar full of railwayana. Whilst it wasn't a regular haunt when visiting, I have enjoyed some wonderful food there and have supped the odd beer surrounded by plants on the terrace. Retirement/the desire to ease back means that this option too has disappeared. All that is now offered at Calle Consuelo 38 is bed and breakfast.
In another post resulting from my 2019 visit to Jimena I lamented the loss of Bar Marilyn and then had to take a step back as it had reopened as Café-Bar La Cabra, which reputedly did a cracking breakfast – but not on a Wednesday. I'd now like to report on that breakfast. I'd like to but I can't for, whilst in 2019 it didn't open on a Wednesday, now doesn't open at all. Just like one of our bikes, it's folded.
With all these closures it's good to see that at least Bar España, a little further up the hill on Calle de Sevilla from Henrietta's, is still going.
Spanish sojourn over, it's back to the UK and good old British autumn wind and wet. Back to good old British beers too. And British bygone boozers. I had already penned my next post but fortunately have had to put its publication on hold, hopefully permanently, as I've just discovered that it's recently reopened. Sadly, there are still plenty of others to choose as subject matter and one will appear here shortly.
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