Last friday I constructed a wardrobe. It’s a massive, hugely heavy thing and looks like a coffin for a couple of obese giants. I even had to affix battens to the wall to keep the beast from falling on us, which given my DIY ‘skills’ is the equivalent of a caveman making fire. It took me about nine hours and was like wrestling with the Ark Royal. By the evening I could barely walk. I needed a beer. The one I reached for was a Tsingtao that Mrs Wheels had put in the fridge two days earlier. Yes, that adjunct-heavy Chinese lager which invariably gets a hammering from all corners of the beer blogoshire for (among other things) its uncompromising lemony blandness. You see, I have a soft spot for the stuff, which provided one of the milestones on my ‘journey’ to becoming a beer nerd.
Some years ago, I walked eight miles of a lesser-visited and more or less unrestored section of the Great Wall of China, with 80-degree vertical climbs in some parts. It was a quite incredibly hot day. The hottest i’d ever experienced, and despite the guerrilla water sellers in some of the watchtowers, very difficult to drink enough fluids to keep off a raging thirst. At the end of the hike I staggered into a ‘bar’ – really a collection of plastic garden chairs with an enterprising local flogging drinks from an oversized coolbox. In all my years as a beer drinker, nothing has ever come close to tasting as good as the ice cold can of Tsingtao I glugged down that afternoon in Simatai. I’m pretty sure steam was actually coming out of my ears.