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.

Enough already with the crystal malt

Two years ago, I didn’t know what crystal malt was. Now I can’t escape the bloody stuff.

Crystal malt is dark, but not black, and kilned with the express purpose of giving beers colour and sweetness. Many great ales use it in moderation. Unfortunately, as we discovered whilst brewing our own beers, too much of the stuff can overpower a beer and leave it tasting rather sickly, because crystal malt has some sugars that can’t be fermented.

And sickly is how I’ve found a few microbrewed beers recently, mostly, I think, because they’ve overdone the crystal. The giveaway flavour is a kind of burnt, treacley, toffee-like, musty taste. Beers that boast “massive malt flavours” on their somewhat amateurish labels seem to be the worst afflicted.

The over-use of crystal malt is just as likely to unbalance a beer as that other ingredient which brewers are currently adding in careless handfuls — American citrus hops — only it’s harder to spot.

Time for a bit of tasteful restraint with both, I reckon.


It's our birthday!

We began this blog a year ago today.

We were homeward bound from Bavaria, having just had a couple of weeks travelling round and pickling our livers. Bailey had the initial idea, and we spent the long train journey home thinking of ideas. We had no idea there were already so many great beer blogs out there already, and we’re dead chuffed that we’ve found our own little place in the blogosphere. I certainly wouldn’t have believed that we’d be averaging more than a hundred unique visitors a day by this point.

We had a bit of a hiatus with Google Analytics, so it’s only been working again for the last month. However, there’s enough info to reveal some bizarre searches. Some we particularly enjoyed were;

  • “boak and bailey railways” – 22 TIMES – do we look like trainspotters?
  • “buy adelscott UK” – no, don’t! It’s rank!
  • “desperados stockists”- I’m sure both of these people would have loved our less than flattering review of the stuff
  • “how much was a pint of beer in 1958” – no idea, sorry, anyone want to answer in case they come back?
  • “bailey guitar hero” – so they’ve met him…?
  • “limited edition shire horses” – one of the many exciting gifts you can buy from our forthcoming souvenir page
  • “beer modelling jobs” – Stonch — fancy helping out any beer obsessed models?
  • “funny shaped bread rolls” – these internet perverts make us sick.
  • “screaming monkey” – at last, one we can help with.
  • “counterfeit coriander seed” – shush — not in front of everyone. Meet us outside later and we’ll see if we can sort you out.

You get the picture.