Damm launch posh new beer

The Damm brewery in Spain have just launched a posh new beer, Inèdit, which I believe means something like “new” or unknown (pardon my Catalan if not, I’m sure someone will correct!)

It is designed specifically to go with food, “to be an alternative to wine in the best restaurants”. It’s been designed with the help of Ferran Adria and sommeliers from El Bulli, which is supposed to be the best restaurant in the world.

It’s not clear from the Damm press release whether the beer will actually be served at El Bulli — it would look a bit weird on the 150 page wine list. They make a big deal about how this is supposed to be a high end product. That said, the recommended price is starts at 8 Euros for a 75cl bottle — a bargain compared to what Meantime bottles for in London restaurants! The beer itself is bottle-conditioned, containing a mixture of wheat and barley malts, with coriander, orange peel and liquorice flavours.

It certainly sounds interesting. In our humble opinion, Damm already make the best mass-produced beer in Spain, and their Voll-damm (pictured) is an excellent strong amber / maerzen by anyone’s standards. I’m looking forward to reading the first tasting notes…

Story via Culturilla Cervecera – thanks Andres!

Boak

How much is too much?

The Department of Health today launched a £6m “know your limits” campaign, the point of which is to make people aware of how much they’re actually consuming. Interestingly, the scenarios it highlights are very “middle-class”, i.e it’s aimed at the middle-aged couple sharing a bottle of wine at home, rather than binge-drinking teenagers.

As the press-release points out, most people are unaware of how many units of alcohol are in their usual tipple. And so here’s a handy units calculator from the NHS, which incorporates strength and portion size.

There are two problems with this campaign. Firstly, it features one of the most seductive pints of lager I’ve ever seen in my life and had me craving lager at 7am when I saw it on breakfast telly. (Time to wonder about being an alcoholic again?)

The second, more serious problem, is that many British people’s reaction to being told what their limits are is to question the science. Perhaps correctly, because as Zythophile pointed out a while ago, the evidence supporting the current limits (2-3 per day for women, 3-4 per day for men) is not exactly conclusive. And certainly compared to what the average Brit actually drinks on a Friday night, it seems extremely low.

Then again, when I come back from the continent, these “limits” seem perfectly sensible, and I become convinced that we Brits drink too much.

I wouldn’t want to get accused of neo-Prohibitionism, and we’ve expressed on many occasions our view that “binge-drinking” is nothing new in our culture. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for some sensible reflection and education about exactly what we’re consuming.

Boak (up to four units already tonight…oops!)

German beer festival at Zeitgeist, London

I’m sure it doesn’t need plugging from us, but in case you’d (a) somehow missed it and (b) are in London in the next few days, there’s a rather exciting German beer festival going on at Zeitgeist in Vauxhall, with loads of cool obscure Franconian beers.

Stonch has the details.

Our review of Zeitgeist from February can be found here. We still love the place.

Cheeky Stella Artois ad campaign

This new advertising campaign for Stella Artois is designed to emphasise the quality of the product. It implies that Stella contains only the four traditional ingredients of beer:

Stella Artois advertisement -- "Contains only four ingredients: hops, malted barley, maize and water"

That’s right — hops, malted barley, maize and water.

Maize!? Rather than trying to hide the fact they they use corn as an adjunct to make the beer cheaper, they’re boasting about it, counting on the fact that most people won’t know any better. Hardly honest, but bloody clever.

And they’ve avoided mentioning all that yucky yeast, too, in case the thought of it puts anyone off.