21 February 2007

Commonplace novelty

It's a grim time for seekers of interesting beer in Irish supermarkets. Despite Diageo blaming their recently-announced price hike on the horror of increased variety in the market, the situation on the shop floor is not so rosy. So I was overjoyed recently when I found a Tesco in Dublin city centre selling John Smith's Extra Smooth, the kind of cooking ale you'd not even notice in an English Tesco.

I took a can home, partly in the interests of science and partly out of desperation. As English beer goes, it's pretty poor. As beer goes it's pretty poor. The texture is spot on, and a lot of R & D has gone into that widget which creates the smooth fizz and velvety head out of the 440ml can. No-one at the brewery was too bothered about the flavour side of things, unfortunately. It's almost bland, and it pains me to say that what flavour there is carries the bitter acidity of, well, sick. I think they may have been going for fruitiness but missed it by a long way.

So, despite all the hype about Ireland's thriving speciality beer market, I think I'm going to have to stay with my regular, and much-loved, independent off-licences.

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