Well, we seem to be here again. Lockdown: Part Deux.

During the first lockdown, I had many friends having ‘lockdown birthdays’. At the time, with a birthday in November, I had no idea I’d be in the same boat. Like many, I thought the country may be in a much better place by November than it currently is.

So, plans for a special multiple course meal were cancelled, days off from work were hastily re-arranged to penultimate day before lockdown. A quick trip to Hastings for few pints were supped in pubs before Lockdown 2 began on November 5th.

We were in ‘Tier 1’ before all this, but it is what it is.

Lockdown seems fairly normal this time round. Staying in, being a hermit and working from home now seem second nature after almost a whole year of it.

Winter is the key factor that has changed things. Sunlight is hard to come by and it has started to get a bit chilly. I suspect this lockdown will be harder on mental health and wellbeing at this time of year, especially if it is extended deeper into December.

The last lockdown I stocked up on bright, hoppy beers like Pale Ales and Lagers. This time, it turned out to be a blessing having a birthday at the start of lockdown. I received a selection of beer perfectly suited for the season. Winter Ales, historic porters and Vintage Ales were presented to me with a ceremonial unwrapping over Zoom.

One beer gift which has become a regular annual occurrence is a double helping of Fuller’s Vintage Ale. One to drink now, and one to put away. I’ve not aged any of these beers yet, but now have 2017-2020 in the cupboard.

Fullers Vintage Ale 2020

The 2020 version keeps all the ingredients British. The hops are relatively new varieties from Herefordshire, Jester and Godiva, which give a slight citrus tang. A special Double Roasted Crystal malt, or ‘DRC’, gives it an intense malty-sweet depth. Tastes pretty good now, but I think it will taste even better in 5 years time when I hope that 2020 and it’s multitude of woes are a distant memory.

Enduring a lockdown birthday is nothing compared to many who have lost a lot more than a few freedoms in 2020. WIth that in mind I raise my glass for them and for those helping in whatever ways they can. We appreciate it!

Where to Buy: Fuller’s and Waitrose, £6.00 (Waitrose have labelled it as 2019 but the image is for the 2020 version!)