Would they be flattered?

Train journeys have certainly improved since the arrival of the Sheffield Tap and other takeaway beer places at some of Britain’s train stations.

A recent trip was enlivened by bottles of Sierra Nevada Torpedo, a delicious American IPA which is a favourite of Rake manager Glyn’s, and Goose Island Matilda.

The latter is the Chicago brewery’s attempt at a Belgian-style ale. They’d apparently like us to drink it from a “wide mouthed goblet” but, on a train, you have to make do with a little plastic glass.

On this showing, we’d say that it tastes really, really similar to Leffe Blonde, if perhaps a touch more bitter. Would Goose Island be flattered by that comparison? Probably not, though we don’t mean it as a criticism. (We’re quite partial to the odd glass of Leffe, despite its ubiquity and Big Industrial Brewing pedigree.)

10 thoughts on “Would they be flattered?”

  1. Well, if they’re not flattered I am, thanks for the plug! The Beer, has got a lot more hop character than the leffe and I agree, it’s a little darker, not my favourite style of beer but still far too drinkable!

  2. Hmm. Interesting. I suspect that, tasted side-by-side, I’d probably spot the differences. I didn’t get much hop character at all but then they claim it is a beer which changes and matures for up to five years, so I guess it could taste different depending on freshness/maturity.

    I drank it before the Torpedo, too, so it’s not that my tastebuds were all of of skew on the back of that.

  3. If they didn’t claim that it changes they’d get laughed out of the Orval Clone School. I bet it doesn’t pull half the manoeuvers that Orval does.

    I actually think Leffe Blonde, on draught, has quite a distinct hoppiness.

  4. Didn’t think it was particularly like Orval or Leffe either, a much fruitier body, sour rather than peppery and full of yeast. If my (very geeky) notebook is anything to go by 2009 was less aromatic than the 2008.

    Oh dear, I need to get a life…

  5. Gents,
    I find myself being quite flattered by getting any notice at all. I’m quite happy with Matilda as it is, in fact I have one in front of me right now. As far as inspiration goes, certainly Orval deserves credit, though we try to leave the cloning parts to the sheep guys. Funny how one makes a beer similar in style to a Belgian and comes across as a copy cat, yet all those brewing IPAs are the clever, creative ones. Btw, count me in as a big fan of SN Torpedo as well.
    Cheers,
    Greg

  6. Greg — hello! We are great admirers. I think managing to create a beer so convincingly Belgian is an achievement in itself — if I’d been served it in Brussels, I wouldn’t have questioned its origins. Having nailed the general Belgian-ness, though, you could certainly get a bit creative with the recipe if you were minded to, and more obvious, more American hops would be on my wish list. (By the way, only one of us is a gent!)

  7. I’m firmly in the ‘Orval Ballpark’ gang, im afraid. Maybe it was the subtle labeling performing the subliminal task it was set out to do, but I had it pegged as a ‘less refined Orval’. Loved it though. A good beer, regardless.

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