17 February 2017


Three beers from the US today, with nothing in common other than their importer and the fact that they're canned.

I'm not entirely sure what the deal is with Sierra Nevada Nooner. The name was previously used for a session IPA (reviewed here) but seems to have been re-applied subsequently to this pilsner, the style being "one of the original session beers" according to the blurb. It's the appropriate clear pale gold colour, though maybe a little bit over the alcohol limit at 5.2% ABV. The head disintegrated quickly but this seems to be a side-effect of a deliciously low carbonation level: enough sparkle to liven it up, but still allowing the flavour to come through fully and help make it properly sessionable. Classic German hops have been used and it has that waxy bitterness, particularly in the finish, that's so characteristic of German pils. Honeyish malt provides some balance, but not too much. I'm willing to put aside my usual distaste for those green weedpatch noble hops. Here they're sharp without being severe, showing just the right level of jagged bitterness. While the authenticity of this American pils is questionable, its quality is definitely beyond doubt.

12th of Never is a pale ale created to commemorate the beginning of canning at Lagunitas. This is another pale one, though with a very slight haze to it. The aroma is a fantastic fresh tropical hit of mango and passionfruit, and the flavour continues that theme, adding a certain dank bitterness plus a tiny whisper of savoury fried onion. All very west-coast. The only downside is an unusual issue for a Lagunitas offering: it's just a bit too thin, especially for an ABV of 5.5%. My normal complaint to Lagunitas is that their beers are too thick and syrupy, but this one could do with a little more substance to help carry those lovely hops. The flavour, while wonderful to begin with, does tail off disappointingly fast, leaving just water behind. That's merely a minor quibble, however: the party starts again with the next mouthful. This is another sessionable beauty, albeit very different from the pils above.

A total change for the last in today's trilogy. Oskar Blues Death By Coconut, described on the can as an "Irish Porter" whatever they mean by that. It's 6.5% ABV and a dense dark brown. It certainly smells like coconut: lightly toasted husky coconut, and nothing else. That's really all the flavour is interested in too. There's a bit of dark chocolate from added cacao essence but it's very much about accentuating the coconut rather than counterbalancing it, and you get a little hint of vanilla complexity as well. I guess the clue is right there in the name: the drinker is warned to expect coconut in quantity, and the beer most certainly delivers that. It may be one-dimensional, but in a fun and tasty way.

How boring to have three jolly decent beers in a row, but that's just the way they fell that afternoon. My critical faculties will just have to wait for the next beer.

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