Trans-Atlantic Beer Tasting Simul-Post

adnams.jpgOr, “Sad­ly, we don’t know Mr Bean”.

Last week, we had a pint with Wil­son of Brew­vana fame. We were sev­er­al thou­sand miles apart; he was drink­ing at lunchtime, we’d just got home from work; and the ban­ter was by email. It kind of worked.

We’d agreed which beers we were going to drink so that we could com­pare, based on the UK beers Wil­son could get in Iowa, and which Amer­i­can beers we could get in Lon­don. Some­what iron­i­cal­ly, he found it eas­i­er to get hold of Adnams Bit­ter than we did. So the final line-up was Adnams Broad­side and Anchor Porter. Here’s how it went from Wilson’s point of view, and here’s how it went from ours:

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Trans-Atlantic Beer Tast­ing Simul-Post”

We don’t want Bud, we want Brooklyn!

Eric Delia at Relent­less Thirst has tipped us off to the excit­ing news that Bud­weis­er are launch­ing a UK only ad cam­paign, focus­ing “on the care that goes into mak­ing Bud­weis­er, high­light­ing its his­to­ry and prove­nance.” [Pause to choke on what­ev­er tasty bev­er­age you’re sup­ping at the moment.]

Fab­u­lous. Anoth­er bor­ing lager being (re)marketed. I didn’t real­ly notice it go away, although I sup­pose now I think about it, you see more Becks around than Bud. And quite a lot of Bud­var – we Brits love an under­dog, although of course Bud­var isn’t quite the under­dog it pur­ports to be, as Evan Rail point­ed out.
images_coasters_tmb.jpgAny­way, this got me think­ing about some­thing I’ve been pon­der­ing for a while. Why doesn’t the Brook­lyn brew­ery try a mar­ket­ing cam­paign in Lon­don to push its won­der­ful lager? It would appeal on two lev­els. First­ly, to the dis­cern­ing beer drinker who would be delight­ed to see it in the fridge in amongst a sea of oth­er indis­tin­guish­able “world” lagers.

Sec­ond­ly, it would sure­ly appeal to the type of suck­er who drinks any lager as long as it’s in a bot­tle and comes from anoth­er coun­try. This is a big mar­ket, at least in Lon­don, giv­en the num­ber of iden­ti­cal ranges in cen­tral Lon­don pubs – Per­oni, San Miguel, Coro­na, Brah­ma etc.

If good mar­ket­ing can pol­ish turds like Bud, Mag­n­ers and all those bland euro­lagers, imag­ine the effect it could have on some­thing that’s a gen­uine­ly great prod­uct? In fact, the Mag­n­ers adverts aren’t even good. We mugs real­ly will buy any­thing.


Mann’s Brown Ale and a call for suggestions


UPDATE APRIL 2013: Appar­ent­ly, ASDA and Morrison’s sell it, if you’re look­ing to buy some, as appar­ent­ly many of you are!

Mann’s Brown Ale is not some­thing you see many peo­ple drink­ing in its own right. Tra­di­tion­al­ly, it’s used in a ‘brown split’ with ordi­nary bit­ter – in oth­er words, to give a bit of oomph to that half a pint of flat, brown keg beer you’ve been think­ing about aban­don­ing for fif­teen min­utes.

But Michael Jack­son lists it in his 500 Great Beers book and, at 2.8%, we won­dered if it might not fit be just the trick for school nights, when a hang­over is sim­ply not an option.

As you can see, it looks nice in the glass – very dark brown, almost black, with an off-white head. The body is remark­able for such a weak beer, and there are some nice aro­mas of malt and roast­ed grains.

The taste… well, nice in some parts of the mouth, if that makes any sense. Too sweet at first, with a harsh burnt trea­cle flavour, but rather pleas­ant going down, when the slight­ly bit­ter choco­late flavours come through. Rem­i­nis­cent of the sweet­er vari­ety of mild, we thought.

On bal­ance, I sus­pect this would taste won­der­ful with choco­late cake, which tends to make most beers taste too dry, but it’s not some­thing we’d drink too often.

So, over to you. Any sug­ges­tions for oth­er beers under 3% which are worth a go…?

Bonus fea­ture: here’s an old post with an advert for Mann’s fea­tur­ing Sher­lock Holmes.

First they came for the Special Brew…part two

It seems I spoke too soon when I wrote about West­min­ster council’s scheme to ban strong lagers and ciders from off-licences in cer­tain spots.

I should point out that this is a vol­un­tary scheme, not the result of any leg­is­la­tion, and that it is localised to sev­er­al areas with­in West­min­ster which are par­tic­u­lar­ly known for “street-drinkers”.

The Con­ser­v­a­tive par­ty announced yes­ter­day that if they come to pow­er they would be seek­ing to raise tax­es on high strength beer and cider, and also alcopops.

As I said in my orig­i­nal post, and as the com­men­ta­tors added, your aver­age alkie will just switch to wine or what­ev­er else gives you more bang for your buck.

Mean­while, some of us have Impe­r­i­al Stout and Bel­gian triple habits to maintain…For want­i­ng to drink these, I am not a “sen­si­ble drinker” in the eyes of the Tories. But as a young(ish) woman, I prob­a­bly shouldn’t be drink­ing at all, accord­ing to them – the rea­son for the attack on alcopops is that these are “tar­get­ed pri­mar­i­ly at young women”. Young women drink­ing? Next they’ll be get­ting jobs and hav­ing sex.


The session: organic beer

session-logo-r-sm.jpgThis month’s Ses­sion is host­ed by the Beer Activist blog, and fea­tures organ­ic beer. Chris O’Brien asks every­one to pub­lish a post relat­ed to organ­ic beer and even allows us to decide what counts as organ­ic – handy, as we’ve nev­er real­ly under­stood the rules in the UK!

We have to say that we’ve been some­what scep­ti­cal about organ­ic beer to date. We’re rea­son­ably open to the idea of organ­ic food, espe­cial­ly as it often (although not always!) means small-scale, local pro­duc­tion with a bit more care for the qual­i­ty of the prod­uct. But we don’t always buy organ­ic, because there are oth­er fac­tors that are more impor­tant to us, like food miles. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly rel­e­vant for beer, because there is an extreme­ly lim­it­ed sup­ply of organ­ic hops in the UK, and we know that at least one brew­er imports their hops from New Zealand.

organic2.jpgAnd unlike with some prod­ucts, like meat and cheese, where there is gen­er­al­ly a dis­cern­ably dif­fer­ence in qual­i­ty, we can’t say we’ve ever noticed that organ­ic hops or malt make for a more flavour­some beer. It’s not that organ­ic beer is bad, it’s just that it’s rarely as spe­cial as you think it ought to be. The Beer Nut sum­marised it real­ly well, when he said:

…brew­ers seem con­tent with their Soil Asso­ci­a­tion cer­tifi­cate as a sell­ing point rather than putting the graft into the flavour”

Con­tin­ue read­ing “The ses­sion: organ­ic beer”