Thursday, 23 September 2010

Parecido A Un Roble

As you may have noticed, I quite enjoy a drink, and in common with my attitude to everything and anything else, I am a fussy fucker when it comes to alcohol. Particularly when it comes to beer. Because the thing with beer is, unlike wine, spirits, blah, is that price is absolutely no clue whatsoever to quality*, a bottle of Hoegaarden costs the same as a bottle of Stella**, but seriously, what would you rather drink? An outrageously refreshing, spicy, cloudy, citrusy brew with a depth of flavour which means you can savour or glug it, depending on mood and circumstance, or a beer that looks like piss mixed with washing up liquid, tastes (if that's the right word) slightly less appealing than that, and is popularly known as wifebeater? Exactly. So bland lager lovers can fuck off right now because you will not like this beer.

Said beer being Innis & Gunn Original, which is one of the best, and certainly unique, beers I have ever fucking tasted. It's a malty, very Scottish ale to which something has been done which doesn't normally happen to a beer. It's matured in oak bourbon barrels for 77 days***, which imparts a mellow toffee sweetness with a vanilla backnote and an odd creaminess, a softness to the beer, which are flavours and textures you just don't expect, and thinking logically about it, sound like they shouldn't work, but work they fucking do, this stuff is just fantastic, 6.6% of far too drinkable brilliance that you owe it to yrselves to try. Like I say, odd, but really fucking good.

*Not that price is the guarantee of excellence, but there is a marked difference in quality, particularly with spirits, as you head upwards through the price spectrum.

**And yes, I know Hoegaarden is stupidly expensive in pubs over here. Probably so the pub can pay off the huge loan they had to take out to pay for the ridiculously huge and ostentatiously ornate pump it comes out of.

***They do a rum cask one too but I haven't tasted it yet.


  1. Stella Artois and Jupiler between them match North American and Australian big brands in the sheer fucking horse-piss category, which maybe explains why their parent company (which also owns Hoegaarden) is finding it so easy to take over the English-speaking world.

    Anyways, besides the evil Lex Luthor of beer companies and besides my big hate-on for Belgium, I have to admit some of the beer is fucking priceless here, but the trick to finding it is avoiding InBev.

    If you're ever forced to come to Brussels, sadly likely after I've already left, there's a place a couple of blocks from my apartment that you'd be obliged to go to:

  2. I just looked up Jupiler (a brand name that originated as a spelling mistake if ever I heard one), and that looks fucking appalling. I agree entirely with yr analysis of the big breweries, for some reason people really would rather drink tasteless fucking fizzy dishwater than something that's made by and for people who care. Which I guess says a lot about people, i.e. they are, in the main, arseholes.

    That bar does look good tho, my eye was instantly drawn to the word lambic. I love that stuff, and yeah there is some great belgian beer out there, but as you say, it can be a bit of a slog finding it.

    Oh, and something else you should try while y're still in Europe, if you can find it, is my favourite German beer, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen, made with smoked malt giving the aroma, and a subtle taste of, black forest ham. Meat beer, as it's affectionately known round these parts. It may also have the most German name of any beer on Earth.

    And no, no one is threatening to send me to Brussels (is that the next step on from being sent to Coventry?) yet, but if I'm ever in Australia, then you two can take me drinking...

  3. I'm even more concerned about Australian beer than I am about Australian wine. But the F-word has told me they have their microbreweries and quality hold-outs like everybody else so we should manage. It'll be an adventure.