Professional beer tasting is often a lonely job. Far from having people flock to you for beer tips, they resent you for the beer you get to drink and castigate you if you show anything but absolute reverence for craft beer. It's tough.
So when Speights sent in their whole range for a test I saw an opportunity to end the loneliness and employed a few lads to spread the good cheer, and the risk.
Lad 1: Distinction Ale and Gold Medal Ale
Distinction is easy to drink, with slightly more flavour than the Gold Medal Ale. The toffee and caramel mentioned on the label are there - if only just, but the "hoppy bite" to finish is non- existent. The Gold Medal Ale has been the bulk buy for years and too much has passed the lips to be critical. Loved down south.
Lad 2: Triple Hop Pilsner and Summit Lager
The name Triple Hop Pilsner suggested a real biting brew but, perhaps because of the lower-than-normal-for-a-pilsner 4 per cent alcohol level, this tasted a tad thin, lacking that real crisp hoppy punch. While pleasant enough, it is hardly a triple threat to other pilsners in the market.
If the pilsner was thin, then the Summit Lager was blushingly see-through. Admittedly, it was downed straight on top of the pilsner, which may have over- powered the taste somewhat. Even so, as the picture and the "all natural" logo on the bottle suggest, this is a stubbie filled with liquid straight from the mountains - melted snow perhaps?
Lad 3: 5 Malt Old Dark
The taste of malt was instantaneous and a welcome relief as it washed the residue of a terrible sandwich from my tongue. A pitfall of shiftwork is finding suitable food to get you through the night. To be able to wash dodgy tucker down with a malt is akin to being paid double time. I only occasionally drink malt beer but this one might just change that. It was refreshing and would have gone down well after I had finished mowing the lawns earlier in the day.
Matt lad: Golden Pale Ale
Presentation is key to most things. If it looks good you're halfway there to having it taste good and Golden Pale Ale presents magnificently. There is something about it being a golden ale in a bottle with only golden writing on it. It gives it a golden glow you would usually associate with buried treasure. The beer does not quite live up to that promise. Though crisp and clear it is a little bit ordinary with no defining taste to hang on to. Still, a pleasant drop.
Still in the fridge. No takers yet but Christmas is coming. Matt Rilkoff
- © Fairfax NZ News
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