beer reviews bottled beer

An Enigmatic Beer

As a beer, we were pleasantly surprised by TED from Flat Cap. It smelled great — citrus hops leaping out of the glass — and tasted, we thought, not at all unlike Brooklyn Lager. (Which is odd given that it’s a pale ale, but we tastes what we tastes.) The carbonation is restrained, which we always appreciate, and, apart from a slight out-of-place burnt flavour in the first mouthfuls, there was nothing to fault. Like Brooklyn Lager, TED would be great to drink from the bottle at a party.

As a brand… well, we can see what they’re trying to do, but agree with most of Kristy McCready’s comments here. If we could change one thing, it would be shape and maybe size of the bottle: the standard UK 500ml ‘real ale’ bottle, combined with the flat cap imagery and the words ‘pale ale’ suggests an old-fashioned beer. A 330ml bottle, or something with a more unusual shape would cue us up for the more American-influenced, Brewdog-like product inside.

Or, to put that another way, people might not buy it because they think they’re going to get a boring brown bitter. (Hence pleasantly surprised in the opening paragraph above.)

The thing that really makes us uneasy, though, is the mystery of the manufacture, which has been prodded at and probed by Zak Avery and commenters here. We know Flat Cap don’t own a brewer; nor are they brewers using someone else’s kit. Could we call them ideas men? The label describes the beer as ‘craft brewed’, but by whom? Where? And to what extent did the Flat Cap chaps shape the recipe?

With so little clear information on the bottle — less than we get from Marks and Spencers on their own-brand beers — it might as well be a product of Integrated Bottling Solutions.

We know that Flat Cap are trying to address the question of transparency and look forward to seeing future versions of the packaging.

The chaps at Flat Cap were kind enough to send us a bottle of TED gratis, at no charge and for free. This probably did influence our opinion of it. What are we, robots?