So I’ve decided to start reviewing drinks I have at home?
No, not really. Mainly because there are enough beer blogs out there, full of people with far better taste buds than me.
But I figured, seeing as Sonisphere has one of the best metal/rock line-ups in a good 6 years (not the Friday though) that I’d actually go to a music festival and stare-down the annoyance of a lot of other people and the experience that is camping.
A quick word that the beer of the festival is Trooper Ale, an unholy (in a most metal sense) alliance between Iron Maiden and Manchester’s Robinsons Brewery. I have nothing against this beer. I’ve had it in bottles and on cask and while its something I’d call average, it is certainly more welcome than Carlsberg/Tuborg or Strongbow.
But of course I will only be drinking that in the arena section, so what will I be drinking on the camping site?
In days of yore, it was just pallets full of Carling, Fosters, those small kegs of Heiniken and in my latter festival years, boxes of cheap red wine and rum & lemonade hastily pre mixed in plastic because of the “no glass” policy.
But I’ve grown, I’m older, I have an income to which I don’t have to subject myself to cheap, bulk buy crates of mass-produced lager.
Now I can be not just a #craftwanker in my own home, or in central Manchester (or Didsbury, or Chorlton) but now in a field of mud and shit surrounded by 60,000 followers of the metal subculture and all its offshoots.
It also gives me a chance to expand my tastes beyond the usual dark side I’m more prone too, take on some more American Brewers and also see what this beer-in-a-can thing is all about.
The majority of the beer was bought from The Liqour Shop.
But once I’d got home I realised that on a few occasions on trips to Wetherspoons, procured cans from Sixpoint Brewery. You know, part of the Wetherspoons “posh pub” rebranding, which sees them able to offer Yankee “craft” beer at below market rates, leading to some speculating as to whether the over-pricing that is rife in this market will finally come to an end. It won’t.
I thought I’d shoe-horn the 3 beers from Sixpoint into this review. And since they are reduced in a “Summer Sale” to £1.99 maybe they aren’t performing that well, but it depends on your core clientele.
So, my two rules for this were:
Room Temperature – I can’t chill them at a festival, so they will be at ambient (not warm though, I’m not a total heathen).
Out of the Can – the first and last mouthfuls were taken from the can, prior to pouring into a glass, because I’m still at home, I want a photo record (#photocraftwanker) and I’m not drinking out of plastic or completely out of the can unless I have no choice.
All cans, as far as I know, were 355ml.
First off was the much heralded All Day IPA by Founders Brewing (age verification nonsense). At 4.7% I don’t suppose you would drink many of these in a day, its not a “session ale” in the English sense of the word. Very enjoyable. Put it one my festival list.
What? I told you I don’t do tastings. If I get an overiding sense of something I’ll write it down, but with these things it’s all hops of a muchness for me. It’s either a yarp or a narp.
And I’m not going to go on about IBU’s either.
Next was Dale’s Pale Ale by Oskar Blues Brewery. 6.5% and not my thing. Narp.
Ska Brewing were next up with their Euphoria Pale Ale. Now I found their Modus Hoperandi IPA to be rather lacklustre. But the 6.2% Euphoria was very nice. Marked on my list.
Flying Dog Brewery seem to be the most ever-present of the American brewers I’ve seen represented. They even had a permenant place in the fridge in one of my regular haunts (and at damn sight cheaper than you’d find it even in a bottle shop, how I don’t know). Not had a bad Flying Dog brew yet and the 7.1% Snake Dog IPA was no exception. Yarp.
The Big Swell IPA by Maui Brewing Company was next. 6.8%, smooth and enjoyable. Not my favourite on the list, but on the list nonetheless.
I then tried The Crisp by the aforementioned Sixpoint. Chilled (in the pub) it was palatable. At ambient it tasted like a mass-produced, slightly tart and too sharp lager. Nope.
Back to Maui Brewing Company for their 6.0% CoCoNut PorTeR. I’m still in the camp that thinks that whereas IPAs are something Yankees (and Aussies, again I will review their beers soon) have got almost down pat. But I still approach their darker beers with a sense of trepidation. True to my taste buds, I didn’t get much in the way of coconut, toasted or not. Not a bad beer, on my list, but I’ve had far, far better porters, which is not a slight as it is my favourite style.
Bengali Tiger next. Imagine going into a pub and asking for a can that hasn’t been in the fridge. I think it’s an indictment of some staff in Wetherspoons that I wasn’t asked to leave. This beer, also had chilled and not all that welcoming at ambient is 6.5% and utter gash.
Finally came the final Sixpoint brew called Sweet Action. 5.2% and I actually like it; chilled or at room temperature. It appeals to my tastebuds. On the list.
So, there you have it. 9 canned American beers.
2 average. 2 fucking horrible. 5 worthy of taking up space in my tent.
More will be consumed by the time Sonisphere comes around, in the interest of fairness, these will be written about too.