A certain I don't know what

Sometimes, however carefully and accurately you describe something, you just can’t capture what it is that makes it great. Yes, Abraham Lincoln was a tall man with a beard who wore a black hat, but, factual as that description is, it somehow misses the point.

A few times recently, we’ve described the general characteristics of a beer and realised that they could apply to a thousand other brews. We’ve had to resort to words like ‘zing’ to get across an additional, elusive quality that makes that particular beer great.

Is it freshness? A quality of carbonation? Subtle flavours which more refined palates than ours could identify? We don’t know and, until such time as we do, ‘zing’ will have to do.

16 thoughts on “A certain I don't know what”

  1. It is indeed a Schultheiss sign, as seen on a boarded up bar in Luebeck. They have excellent artwork, these German breweries.

  2. I’m with Barry — I know zing when I taste it. It’s a great word to describe what beer sometimes does. When it’s zingy, I mean.

    I would hazard that Cascade contains high levels of zing.

  3. I overuse tang, but some beers just have it and other don’t. And zing too, although used a little less often. Cascade has a bit of zing too it (and a little fairy liquid on occasion so a good friend reckons).

  4. Darren — we’ve definitely had beers in which you’d be hard pressed to describe any big flavours but which nonetheless had ‘zing’. Probably the best synonym we’ve yet come up with is vitality — or “the impression of freshness”.

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