Words & Photos - Matthew Curtis
Strange. That's certainly the way I felt on the walk up Highgate Hill on the way to host Darker Days III at The Duke's Head this Wednesday. Whatever November the 9th meant to you, we can be sure that it's not a date that'll be forgotten for a while. We'd picked that date for no particular reason, just that it was convenient. We weren't prepared for the hangover the world would have when it woke up that morning.
But hey, at The Duke's Head we roll with the punches (and the broken ankles) so by the time I'd reached the top of that hill I was determined to make sure our guests had a brilliant night. So that's what we damn well did. This months resident kitchen Chalé Let's Eat served up some fantastic Ghanaian dishes. I couldn't get enough of the Ali Dezi spicy peanut and beef stew.
The beer pairings worked out great too, with Brew By Numbers new 08|02 Imperial Stout making a beautiful match to that beef. Old Greg's Barleywine from The Five Points turned out to work superbly as an aperitif, with its stone fruit and sherry-like notes exciting the palate.
These were just two of the highlights too, and the rest of the beers we poured reminded me once again that there is so much more to beer than just pale and hoppy. In fact it was wholly refreshing not to serve a single IPA or pale ale during the entire dinner.
We also played some great Ghanian and West African tunes while we dined and drank the night away - interspersed with blasts from the Stranger Things soundtrack of course. I'd like to extend my thanks once again to Chalé Let's Eat, Loretta's Kitchen for the fantastic beer ice cream and chocolate brownie dessert, Chris Hall and Brew By Numbers, Doreen Joy Barber and The Five Points plus Tom, Mars and The Duke's Head Team for helping to put together such a fantastic event. It's the last one we're doing at the Duke's Head this year - but we've got some pretty amazing surprises up our sleeve for 2017, so keep those eyes peeled.
And remember, that no matter how dark or strange times might seem, there's always good out there. Three good things I can thing of right now are good food, great beer and awesome friends, so why not head out to a pub with yours tonight and remind yourself that things aren't always so bad. Enjoy some photos I shot on the night below, here's hoping I see you at our next event.