These are the beer-related blog posts and articles that caught our attention in the last seven days, from low-alcohol beer to the eccentricity of Samuel Smith’s.
→ There have been lots of articles questioning the UK Government’s new alcohol consumption guidelines most of which, frankly, we’ve ignored as seeming shrill and defensive. This critical take-down from Adam ‘The Stats Guy’ Jacob, however, seems pretty well balanced and, crucially, offers a textbook example of how to disclose potential biases. (Via @PhilMellows.)
→ Those of you unable to drink for medical reasons, during pregnancy, because you’re the designated driver, or just because you fancy giving your innards a break, will be interested in Tony Naylor’s round-up of the best alcohol free beers for the Guardian. Conventional wisdom is ‘Don’t bother!’ but Mr Naylor found a couple of decent contenders:
The lemony, herbal saaz hop flavours that distinguish Czech pilsners shine through remarkably well. OK, it tastes cardboardy at the back, but this has more character than many alcoholic big-brand lagers. Shockingly good.
Continue reading “News, Nuggets & Longreads 16 Jan 2016”
Triggering tipsiness is one much-valued feature of beer, but not the be-all-and-end-all.
A first, beer and ale were thought preferable to gin because gin made you bad at holding babies, while on beer, you could simultaneously catch up on some reading, spend quality time with your other half, and balance fish on your head:
Then, in the 19th century, people got excited about lager because there was a belief that, unlike British beer, it didn’t really get you drunk, or make you rowdy.
Continue reading “The Temperance Spectrum”
We sometimes struggle to see the appeal of Hall & Woodhouse, aka Badger, but they’ve been experimenting quite a lot recently, so there’s often something new to try. Harvester’s Ale is mere 2.5%, and I’ve been interested in trying it for a while for that reason. At the other end of the strength scale, Poacher’s Choice (5.7%) is made with liquorice and damson.
Our local Turkish supermarket has recently started selling ale as well as Eastern European lagers, although they only offer the usual suspects from Shepherd Neame, Hall & Woodhouse and Wychwood.
We sometimes struggle to see the appeal of Hall & Woodhouse, aka Badger, but they’ve been experimenting quite a lot recently, so there’s often something new to try.
Harvester’s Ale is mere 2.5%, and I’ve been interested in trying it for a while for that reason. To combat the sweet, watery flavour you get with low-alcohol beer, the brewers have added plenty of hops, and the result is very drinkable. It’s almost lager-like in its fizziness, but really not bad at all. The kind of thing you might down a pint of as your first beer after work, before getting onto the proper stuff. Would probably be good at summer barbecues, too. There was a slight acrid flavour somewhere at the back but that might well be because a beer this weak is even less capable than others of standing up to the fluorescent lights and variable temperatures of the local corner shop. If you want a second opinion, Melissa Cole reviewed it here.
At the other end of the strength scale, Poacher’s Choice (5.7%) is made with liquorice and damson. Its wonderful fruity aroma filled the room as soon as we opened the bottle. The fruitiness is not “subtle” as the bottle claims. In fact, we would classify this as a fruit beer, in the same territory as JW Lees’ Plum Pudding. The fruit is fairly well-balanced with the spice and the hops, though. In all honesty, we couldn’t drink much more than a pint of it – it is a bit rich and sickly – but it’s definitely an interesting beer, and well worth trying if you see it.