172 – The Piano Man and Beer Tasting

Each morning I’m awoken by the old man next door playing his piano. It’s my morning wake-up call and I can truly say that there’s nothing as calming as Beethoven, Brahms or Bach first thing.

It doesn’t actually wake me up. More rolls me over in my deep slumber. Gently prods me and says, ‘Oggers, it’s morning. Time to get up.’

This has happened everyday since I’ve been here. Except today. Which is worrying on two counts. One he might be dead. And two I don’t have another alarm clock. I have a mobile phone but the ring tones are so incredibly nauseating and offensive that I’d rather miss the entire day than be woken up by some moronic synthesised version of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.

As a result I slept in and missed half the morning. But that’s OK as it was raining. Plus I had a late night due to a beer tasting event at the Bordeaux Beer Shop on Rue des Faures in Saint Michael.

It’s only been open a month but already it’s got a big following selling a unique range of beers from Norway to Scotland, USA to Switzerland. Including a range of local beers called Gasconha from up the road in Pessac. Which are incidentally available in the Vintage Bar I mentioned in post 169 – ‘Bud Pint’.

We even had a talk from the brewer himself, Nathanaël Rogier, and an opportunity to taste his range. The best by far being the Bière Ambrée which was quite stunning. Like swigging a rich syrup of smoked paprika and malt loaf. Really good!

I naturally bought some and have it on standby for when the temperature drops (unlikely at the moment as tomorrow the thermometer will hit thirty!) and I can cook goulash or lamb’s liver stroganoff once again.

If nothing else the event dispelled the myth that the French can’t brew beer. (If only they could say the same about British cheese).

Like in the UK and other countries there’s a real movement towards locally produced, small scale brewers instead of the mass produced beer of the corporations. And the results are fantastic as I witnessed last night.

As for the piano man. He’s OK. He must have got up late as well, as I heard him halfway through writing this. Mozart’s Sonata No. 10 drifting through the walls just as I was finishing the sentence on him being dead.

He must have sensed something. He must have heard the tapping of my own keyboard and responded, ‘I’m not finished yet Englishman. You keep writing, I’ll keep playing.’

‘OK. Deal.’


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