It’s the best beer we’ve had. There are many fantastic beers – some have graced these pages, and will be joined by a few more. But in much the same way that every espresso I’ve had has been compared to the dark goddess within that unassuming little cup back in Milan, every beer since 3 Monts has been compared to this seductive brew.
To be sure, these are inexact comparisons. There are many kinds of beer and superlative examples lie within each category. The craft, the water, the barley, the hops, the technique, the season, the environment of consumption, one’s state of mind during consumption, the label, even – they all matter. As with everything else in life – design, a fragrance or a coat, a car or a pair of socks, writing paper, ink or knife, it is possible to tell when something is beyond good. This one is superb, and sets the standard against which others are judged.
Nothing will be gained by having me dissect this lovely creature into the sum of her parts [the usual prattle about body, aroma, provenance of ingredients, a triggered remembrance], and the futile attempt to recreate the experience through assembly. To save us all a bit of time and angst, below is the description by the brewer. Try it – you’ll know.
“A wonderful return to nature, with a flavour of yesteryear, this is a beer that is drawn from wooden barrels to fill so many mugs in our Flemish bars !
Brewed by infusion with strong and hearty Flemish hops, then fermented using top yeasts, 3 Monts is perfectly balanced between malt aroma, fruity flavours and bitterness. The head is generous, dense and long-lasting.
The best way to taste the 3 Monts beer is in a cool cellar (like the ones in our Flemish houses, which are between 8 and 12°C) ! Light golden beer (8.5 % alc./vol.)”
Aloo Tikki, Delhi.
It’s everywhere – this lovely little croquette of potatoes, spices, crafted with and without fillings, served with all manner of condiments – brightly hued chutneys of tamarind and coriander, chickpea curry, yoghurt, garnished with chopped onions, cilantro and radish. So widespread is its appeal that the little aloo tikki can truly be found anywhere in India, and often beyond its shores.
In your travels, you may come upon a reincarnation of the humble aloo tikki in McDonald’s garb. By all accounts, this affair with the overlords of fast food has produced little of value, and the McAloo is pretty awful – and no amount of pale grey ceiling tiles, bleak fluorescent lighting, and heat lamps can create the right aloo tikki vibe. It is street food, and it is best eaten standing on a sidewalk. Stick with the original, available now at millions of little outposts just like the one below.
For the uninitiated, Anthony Bourdain’s food centric travels around the world are a pretty fantastic glimpse into food+culture, especially this episode that’s all about street food : No Reservations, Volume 7, Episode 4 ‘Down on the Street’. It’s available on Netflix, streaming now.
To the residents of Chicago, the work of this artist might be much more familiar than his name. The Cloud Gate is a wonderful addition to this city – seen either as a fresh perspective of the grand skyline, or simply as an endearingly twisted portrait of the Chicago ways of business and politics. The spectacularly well made object is also a wonderful primer for designers and architects – this is how well large scale objects can, and should, be made.
And similarity of scale is something Anish Kapoor’s work shares with the creators of buildings – his recent works are much more ambitious in their scale and scope than the Cloud Gate. When work for public consumption becomes fully capable of consuming large swaths of its adoring public, might it simply be a matter of time before Mr. Kapoor becomes the next Santiago Calatrava?
I met the man at his show in Delhi a few weeks ago – below are some images, and that’s him in the first picture.