Mulled beer

London was an eery place yesterday. A thick fog descended, leaving visibility of only 10 metres in my neck of the woods. The streets were absolutely deserted – maybe people have left town, maybe those that are around were all hungover.

Anyway, I fled to my local for some signs of life. The beer wasn’t in great nick to I switched to mulled wine, which got me thinking. You have mulled wine, milled cider – why isn’t mulled beer popular?

I’ve had hot beer with spices in Poland, where it’s reasonably popular in the south in the winter. I seem to remember it being quite nice, especially a version with honey and ginger.  It obviously doesn’t taste much like beer, but it was very satisfying after a day trudging through snow.

A quick google search reveals this article on about various historic mulled beers, and they sound extremely appealing.  I particularly like the bit about spicing them up to make homebrew more palatable, as we’ve got a fair bit of only-just drinkable homebrew in at the moment.

Has anyone mulled beer successfully and if so, what would they recommend? Does heating enhance or kill bitterness?


beer reviews

Do not try this at home (or anywhere else): Mongozo coconut beer

When we set up this blog, one of our unwritten rules was that we would not be overly negative about beers. If we didn’t like something, we would move on and blog about something we did like.

I’m going to break this rule now to warn to fellow beer lovers, particularly you experimental types. Do not try Mongozo coconut beer. It is possibly the nastiest thing I have ever tasted (yes, that means worse than the polio vaccine). I’m not the only one to be disgusted – see reviews on RateBeer. coconut-beer.jpg

One of my locals has been stocking this stuff for years, with increasingly desperate signs (“Have a refreshing, unique coconut beer!”). I should have heeded the warning, but I was in an experimental mood. Oh dear. Having had a couple of sips and visibly reeled from the shock, I tried my usual tactic in these circumstances of pretending it wasn’t beer. That didn’t work either.

The sad thing is that I like the idea in principle. The Mongozo beers are brewed by Brouwerij Huyghe and use fairtrade coconuts. I’ve nothing against coconuts in beer, and think they could work quite well. Lew Bryson (“Seen through a glass“) has a review of a Coconut Porter here which sounds right up my street.

The problem with this one is the sugar. It is just so sweet, you can feel your teeth rotting as you drink it. I can forgive many flavours in a beer, but excess sweetness is not one of them.

Sorry Mongozo. I wanted to like you, I really did. If it makes you feel better, The Beer Nut has had some other Mongozo products and is cautiously polite about them.