Breakfast of Champions

Saturday morning, a crisp frost covers the ground, birds sing as they huddle for warmth on the heating flues. In the distance an early morning football game is being played over the rhythmic tones of church bells. Dressed in slippers and dressing gown I turn on the central heating, the boiler fires to life, sending burbling hot water around the radiators, taking the chill out of the air.

Time for the quintessential Saturday morning treat; the Breakfast Sandwich. Eggs, bacon, black pudding and fresh bread buns. The marriage of these robust flavours is the perfect tonic for the previous night and the best way to start the weekend.


Oh and a beer to wash it down. Let’s do this.

Breakfast beers have featured in most people’s lives at one point or the other. However, it is usually only deemed acceptable on Stag and Hen dos. Personally, I find the swilling of ice cold Kronenberg difficult at the best of times but, in the limbo-like state of an airport departure lounge I have fallen foul of the early morning pint. However, these occurrences are slightly otherworldly. I am of the firm belief that if you will be wearing fancy dress in the next 24 hours a breakfast beer is a pre-requisite.

In Italy Grappa is often drank as an eye opener and in Spain, a small glass of Cava can be taken over a light breakfast. It’s slightly different in the UK, a freshly cracked can of Stella is seen by many outdoor lager enthusiasts as the perfect accompaniment to a Gregg’s chocolate pasty, sorry, Pain Au Chocolait. The same is true of the northern train traveller who often likes to forego the actual breakfast and make do with a carrier bag for of cans to stave off those early morning hunger pangs. As a result, beer and breakfast pairing is normally frowned upon. 

So, to fly in the face of this taboo I’ll be posting a monthly Breakfast Beers article throughout 2012. Pre 10am drinking can be nausea inducing so to prepare myself for the challenge ahead I thought it best to trial breakfast boozing.

My slightly fuzzy head ensured that the cooking was done on autopilot, stopping only once to down a couple of Co-Codamol, you know, to take the edge off. I fried, as opposed to grilled the bacon and rounds of black pudding, uprating a potential calorific glancing blow to a more  solid kidney punch. I sliced and buttered the fresh oven bottom buns before frying the free range eggs. The cooking aroma was the perfect tonic and stoking my post beer and whiskey hunger to new levels. 

@Minkewales was slightly worse for wear, returning from her Xmas night out in York in the wee small hours. For her, this experiment was kill or cure.

Sandwiches made, the oozing egg yoke adding syrupy moisture to the meat laden bun we rocked up to the dining table. Now for the chosen beverage. I thought I should possibly start off my Breakfast Beer voyage with a really easy drinker. Possibly an IPA, let the hop bite cut through the rich meat flavours. Then I though fuck that and cracked open a bottle of Founders Breakfast Stout. 

Well, it did have breakfast in its name.

Now this is a dense beer, it pours heavy, clinging to the side of the glass. The aroma is like lighting a boozy coffee and chocolate Yankee Candle. As a chaser to a mouthful of sandwich, the beer gets to work like Cillet Bang. While the rich flavour of malt covers the palette, the sweet chocolate cozies up to the meat. It works well.

The beer itself is quite bitter and but with a delicious sweet edge that corrals its mountainous flavours. The big hit of coffee serves as a fantastic eye opener. Imagine chucking a double espresso into the best Milk Stout you have ever tasted.

The sandwich is quickly demolished. The Breakfast Stout isn’t the type of beverage to chug but it goes down easily despite the early hour. We retire to the lounge armed with a carafe of coffee so we can shout at James Martin on the telly box. Breakfast of Champions indeed.

What are your early morning tipples?

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