Thursday, 30 January 2014

Beer: Looking Past the Label

We've all been there, stood in the booze isle of your local supermarket (in my case, Asda) staring, week after week wondering what beer/wine/general booze you want to buy for your evenings consumption.

We also know that there are things which will instantly take our fancy. In my case, it is to go back to the things I love. Tried, tested, worked. With this in mind, I also always have certain items that - no matter how often I pick them up, read the labels and consider them - I still won't buy. My reason for this? No idea whatsoever. They just look shit.

So this evening, I took it upon myself to waltz down the beer isle and pick up just what I have been avoiding for the past YEAR, man up and bloody drink it!! Here is how I got on.

Shepherd Neame & Co- India Pale Ale
So why have I been avoiding this? Well, lets be honest, the bottle is hideous. It is a fat, ugly, stubby shape with a repulsive pumpkin orange label with far too much writing on it. But as we all know, looks can be deceiving and it is what is on the inside that counts. Sadly, it doesn't get much better.
The colour is a very nice, light, amber in the glass. However, on the nose you get slightly dull, flabby fruit like dried apricots with a touch of light, earthy hops. On the palate, the bitterness is bordering unpleasant and the apricots on the nose turn into a rather horrible, mouldy, confected nectarine and slightly banana-ish taste. Unpleasant. Avoid.

Mainbrace IPA- Asda Extra Special
A slightly more attractive label but still far too much writing. I tend not to trust anything that has all of the tasting notes on the front label. Seems to be trying too hard to prove itself. However, this does seem promising!
Again, the typical I.P.A colour, light amber with a lovely clear shine. On the nose we have plenty of citrus fruits, plenty of hops with a lovely, sweet fruity character. The palate is light, refreshing and zesty with a lingering bitter after taste.
Despite this, it is only 4.5% and although this may seem still quite punchy compared to your girly lagers, it tastes slightly thin, watery and lacking in substance. Whats this? Brewed by Shepherd Neame & Co? You're not in my good books today. Pleasant enough, buy if the only thing in the shop.

Now before we get too many complaints, I am NOT having a go at Shepherd Neame brewery. They make some AMAZING beers such as Spitfire and Samuel Adams.These two however are just shit. Like, seriously not good.
If I could be Hermione I would use my Time-Turner to go back in time to that brief moment in Asda were I thought to myself 'Ohhhh, I'll buy some beer that I would never buy normally' and smack myself in the face.
Sadly, I don't have a Time Turner and am nowhere near good looking enough to even pretend to be Emma Watson. I am also male.
So, what is the moral of this story?
Ummmm...  If you're Hermione Granger and you're looking for a great session beer from the Asda in Hogsmead, don't buy these? Buy Spitfire instead?

Lets go with that.

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