21 December 2005

Lemony? Nicked it.

Down at Kronenbourg HQ they appear to have been sitting around a bottle of Hoegaarden, attempting to dissect it and find out what makes it tick. The result of their endeavours is Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc. It is paler than Hoegaarden, being a very light greenish hue. It tastes overwhelmingly of lemons. I know lemons and witbier have a long history, and that finding a slice floating in the froth is quite normal in bars across Europe, but I shudder to think what would happened if you added actual lemon to Kronenbourg Blanc. Probably some kind critical lemon mass and a zesty implosion. Suffice it to say that I don't intend to find out. More spice and less lemon would have improved this recipe. Mine's still a Hoegaarden.

12 December 2005


Recently I was braving the Christmas shopping crowds on a weekend afternoon in Dublin. Having acquired most of what I was looking for, with the evening closing in, I stopped off in a city centre hostelry for a refreshment before heading home. Sitting over my pint of stout I lamented that Ireland lacks the seasonal winter beers that civilised countries produce. What I wanted was a small glass of something deep and rich and red, but what I ended up with was a pint of plain.

Never fear, however: Maguire's to the rescue! The current seasonal beer at the Burgh Quay brewpub is called Jul-Ól, and is a wonderfully dark (almost black) winter ale. Perfect for an early evening tipple this time of year.

With my taste for winter beers awakened, I revisited the produce of Weltenburger-Kloster, this time their Winter Traum ale. It's an excellent rich aromatic beer, and full-flavoured as long as it isn't served too cold.

05 December 2005

Tradition schmadition

I'm all in favour of screwing with tradition for the hell of it. It makes the world a more interesting and diverse place. So I was amused when I saw that La Trappe, not content with the usual dubbel and tripel styles of Trappist beer, also make a "Quadruple". For all the iconoclasm of the name, however, it's a fairly normal strong, dark Trappist ale, weighing in at a fairly hefty 10.9%. It remains drinkable despite this and is chock-full of varied fruit flavours. Nice for a change from the Belgian norm.

03 December 2005

Knock-offs and Knock-offs

Currently on the shelves in Dunnes we have BB Bürgerbräu, a Czech lager from České Budějovice (formerly Budweis). It makes it quite clear on the label that it is a real Budweiser beer, and that this is now an EU-protected geographical designation, à la Champagne and Stilton.

However, for all its concerns that a big nasty American corporation has stolen its intellectual property, Bürgerbräu still has the feel of a cheap knock-off, of Budvar. It has the deep rich golden-syrup colour of Budvar, and does a fairly good impression of that full malty Czech taste. But it doesn't quite go all the way to perfection, lacking the smooth drinkability of Budvar. I think I'd pay the extra to trade up.

Fair play, however, for the game attempt to take back the Budweiser designation. I notice a few new Bohemian lagers around in Ireland these days. Here's hoping they can turn this geographical designation issue into a real campaign.