08 June 2016

A question of etiquette

What is the correct occasion for a bottle of Green's Golden Ale, left to you by a visitor and rotting in the back of the fridge for the previous eight months? I went for early on a Friday evening, when all I really wanted was a beer. Could this Belgian gluten-free delight live up to even that low expectation?

Not really. For a start, it's not golden, pouring out more of a coppery colour. The head is enthusiastic at first but shies away quickly. Is gluten a factor in head retention? The aroma is... let's say, basic. It has grain of the lightly roasted sort, a fair portion of syrupy sugar and just a whisper of pilsy hops: not exactly promising, but far from offensive.

On to the flavour, so, and finding it was a bit of a chore as there's a lot of fizz to push past, and even then a carbonic bite remains. Pleasingly, the hops are a big part of how it tastes: old-world green hops making it taste beery and grown-up. Unfortunately this is quickly spoiled by a sickly twang: that syrupy malt I detected in the aroma. This hangs around, sharply saccharine, as the aftertaste.

A beer this thin at just 4.8% ABV should be chuggable and refreshing, but it's not. And I think there's a sad irony in something with the gluten taken out tasting sticky. Not that I'm blaming the no-gluten compromise: this is just a poorly put-together effort all round.

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