Haven't we done this topic before? Matt from Hoosier Beer Geek is hosting March's Session and the topic is "What makes local beer better?" Quite an assumption, there, Matt. Plus, I'm reminded of the June 2007 Session when we were asked to go and get a beer from the nearest brewery to where we live.
I avoided my local brewery for that one, but second time round I think I'll give them a chance. So here it is, to help determine the truth or otherwise of Matt's topic title, a beer hitherto unreviewed by this blog and which, as far as I know is produced a little over 3 kilometres from my front door.
It's called Carlsberg and is one of several different beers brewed in Diageo's St. James's Gate facility. They do move production of many of their beers around between breweries in Dublin, Dundalk and Kilkenny, though that will be coming to an end in the next couple of years as all operations are consolidated in Dublin. If this particular can wasn't born over in Dublin 8 -- almost within visual range of my bedroom window -- millions exactly like it were.
The pour gives us a beer of purest gold topped by a head which is shaving-foam stiff at first, subsiding quite quickly into adolescent patches of white. An intense sugary aroma greets the nose and there's an element of white sugar on taking the first pull. There's not much else to the flavour, mind: I think I'm getting a tiny hop bite right at the very finish, but it's not much. The centre ground of the beer is dull and more than a little watery. It has me wondering what the legend "Exclusive aromatic hops" on the can is supposed to mean. What were the people at that meeting actually drinking?
Still, at least it's not super-fizzy and there are no off-flavours: bland consistency is how my local brewery measures its success.
Is their beer better, though? Well, they employ more people than any other brewery in town and their economies of scale mean that their beer is probably much more environmentally friendly compared to the vast majority of other, less local, breweries. Most things considered, this local beer probably is better, as Matt says. It's just a shame it's so lacking in taste.
Westmalle Dubbel - *Origin: Belgium | Date: 2008 | ABV: 7% | On The Beer Nut: October 2007* It's a longtime favourite today. Westmalle Dubbel goes back to the very beginnings...
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