26 May 2008

Beer pressure

Beer Nut Towers is currently undergoing extensive renovation. As a result, I am making a concerted effort not to accumulate Stuff while I'm living out of cardboard boxes under a permanent pall of cement dust.

But I was sorely tempted when word went around both on ICB and Boards.ie that Lidl were bringing in a supply of electric minikeg dispense units this week for a limited time only. Geoff from the Bull & Castle even volunteered to stockpile them for anyone interested, since he has a particularly convenient branch of the German supermarket chain.

I resisted. I've nowhere to put it and I'm not really keen on feeling obliged to buy whatever minikegged oddities Aldi and Lidl bring in. The Franciscan Well do their decent Rebel Red by the minikeg, but they only sell it out of their pub 150 miles away. My only regular option would be Irish-made Warsteiner. No thanks.

However, the Lidl offer also featured two beers to go with the device and, it being another sunny day, I decided to go for the Grafenwalder Weissbier (their pils was the alternative). I documented my only previous minikeg experience here, and my reasoning was that the oodles of foam associated with the format would rather suit this type of beer. Now that I have a glass in front of me, I'm not so sure.

The problem is body, and the fact that this beer has none. It's extremely thin and really quite flat. It's also remarkably pale, so while the texture problems could be down to an unsuitable serving method, it's perfectly possible that the beer is just cheaply-made rubbish. The listing of "hop extract" among the ingredients goes some way to suggest this is the case.

In fairness, there is a brief flash of the fruity weiss flavour, but with no body to sustain it, it fades to wateriness almost immediately and that big head disappears far too quickly. It would be an easy-going party quaffer if it wasn't for the full 5% ABV. Just as well I have people coming round to help me out with the remainder.


  1. You got me all excited there writing an article about a mini-keg beer from Lidl. I have wondered what the Wiessbier was like, but never got round to buying a keg. With the BBQ season upon us (ignore the weather!), I have thought about getting something like that for the thirsty rabble. I will have to rethink my strategy...

  2. It's a good thirsty-rabble beer: that's certainly how I got rid of the remains of mine. It all depends on how much you value your reputation as a purveyor of quality beer, I guess.

  3. My last experience of a mini keg was Krombacher from Tesco and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The best part of it for me was the lack of carbonation. I very much dislike gassy beer, with the exception of weisse beer which seems to work, though not all the time.

  4. I have seen this beer a load of times, but never bought it. and now I'm so glad it was you not me that forked up to find it crap! A good blog and a public service. Top stuff.

    Hop extract is however widely used in even the best German beers. I doubt if it tells you much in terms of quality

  5. I seem to recall Jever having a dose of hop extract, though at the time I read it a number of years ago it meant little to me. It was very bitter and tasty. I wonder where it went?

  6. Thanks for the info, Tandleman. I think I was confusing hop extract with the anti-skunk hop substitute that I understand some American megamacros use. Though it's perfectly possible I'm confused about that too. This is what happens when one's knowledge of the brewing industry is learned at a table in a noisy pub.

    Don't mention the J-word Thom. That beer's fanbase can smell people talking about it.

    Not seen it in a while either. Carvill's used to sell it, as did The Long Stone.

  7. Public service announcement, indeed! Thanks BN, glad I didn't buy it today now!