07 December 2006

Erdinger ringer

The capricious gadabout who buys and distributes beer for Dunnes scattered a couple of bottles of Valentins Weissbier within my reach recently. It's remarkably similar to Erdinger, with the characteristic soft fizz and banana flavour. Despite being a smidge stronger than Erdinger, Valentins is lighter and a bit blander. It also leans more towards the bitter hops than the sweet fruit, which is not at all unpleasant. This stuff is too similar to Erdinger to offer a change, but as a low-rent mid-week stand-in, it's not half bad.

25 November 2006

Those Crazy Monks

A year ago I remarked on La Trappe's fondness for breaking the mould, so I was only momentarily surprised to find they've come out with a very un-trappist witbier, called De Witte Trappist. For all the novelty it's a bit of a bland affair, lacking the fruit and spice of other witbiers. And who ever heard of a bottle-fermented beer weighing in at 5.5% ABV? I suspect its formulation may have had more to do with the marketing monks than the brewers...

15 November 2006

An Enigmatic Teuton

It's an odd one, is Radeberger. On the surface this Saxon lager appears to be as good as any other German beer: clear, fizzy, unchallenging but totally delicious. The foretaste has a prodigious smoothness, reminiscent of some very fine German lagers, but after that there's a weird musty bitterness that spoils the experience. The date on the bottle suggests that this isn't a freshness issue, and I've encountered it more than once. What I suspect is that this beer is not meant to be bottled. It is such a delicate flower that anything stronger than the caress of a bar tap upsets the flavour. Strange, then, that the manufacturers flag themselves as an exportbierbrauerei.

04 November 2006

Is that the time?

The third in Guinness's Brewhouse stout series has arrived, called North Star. Once again the marketing blurb is, to my mind, totally off the money. It says this variation on Guinness stout is "light, silky and well-rounded". Maybe it was because my pint was first out of the keg but I found it quite coarse and bitter, in a very pleasant way - almost like real stout. It definitely has the characteristic bland smoothness of Guinness underneath, but on top it nearly tastes like a handcrafted porter. I'll be trying this one again.