"Triple Filtered" isn't a good thing when it appears on spirits; I don't know why the makers of A. Le Coq Premium Extra thought it was something to boast about on their label. This 4.7% ABV Estonian lager pours a very pale gold, though gives a decently fluffy and lasting head. Appley sweetness predominates, almost to the point of becoming difficult to drink: think watered-down tramp juice. The carbonation is quite low, which I'd normally take as a good thing, but here it severely hinders the refreshment abilities of a beer that's not capable of making a more positive contribution to the drinker's experience. Even stranded in Tartu I'd have to think twice about ordering one of these.
I have greater hopes for Special 1807, despite the clear glass. Black and gold label, and "Jubilee Edition": it's not going to be any old crap is it? Actually, it's not bad. 5.2% ABV and very smooth in a helles kind of way, with no bum notes. Not a whole lot else, mind: going for dry, crisp and clean and pretty much hitting its target.
In the absence of anything better, I could drink this. That's approval of a sort, I suppose, though I can't help wondering why a brewery capable of something this neutral -- a technical achievement, if not one of flavour -- is turning out lager as flawed as the Premium Extra.
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...
2 weeks ago