Nota bene for the discerning Euro 2016 beer drinker


I thought I’d give an early indication of what this blog is not going to be, as in, not a beer ponce fest. As if on cue, British supermarket Waitrose surpassed itself this week with these superb ‘tasting notes’ for, of all things, that staple of vagabonds and dog-laden travellers Carlsberg Special Brew. It’s exhibit A for exactly what I won’t be writing for the next month. This is actually pretty restrained compared to this review of the French Alsacien beer Fischer I stumbled upon:

Got this one in France while on vacation last summer.

From a 65cl swing-top bottle into a mug.

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, medium looking, fluffy white head with great retention. Fades slowly to a good cap leaving some sticky lacing to the sides of the mug. Clear amber yellow with medium carbonation evident. A splotchy wisp and ring remain leaving some lacing down the glass. Good looking for the style.

SMELL: Caramel notes, toasted grain, grainy bread aromas with some floral and grassy hops in there.

TASTE: Follows the nose nicely. Caramel and toasted malts up front with some nice floral hop bitterness at the swallow. A big finish or bready sweetness, honey and caramel flavors, bitter floral hops and some grassy notes. Decently flavorful and enjoyable.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, smooth going down and finishes dry. Good feel.

OVERALL: I guess it’s the anti-lager syndrome on this site, but this is a solid pale lager. No question about that. The nose and flavor were plenty enjoyable and well balanced, and the look was rather appealing as well. A good lager worth checking out if you’re in France.

Clearly a US-based beer aficionado, somewhat reminiscent of the US Eurosoccer snobs who’ll be tuning in to Euro 2016, dropping disparaging comments about MLS as they go. Actually I’ve got a soft spot for such people, particularly after a guy once rescued us when we were lost in Miami and drove us to our hotel purely because he’d been drawn by the Portsmouth shirt I was wearing. And my wife so disapproves of me wearing those things.

Anyway, getting to the point, don’t expect any particularly erudite observations on either the games or the beers. I once failed to even hoof the ball back over the advertising hoardings to a couple of warming up subs at a Lewes v Stevenage Borough Conference match before sheepishly saying “that’s why I watch” to blank non-comprehending looks. Much as I love watching the sport, I’m no scholar of the game, not so much of the “he needs to push up a bit”. Likewise, I doubt steel workers in France’s industrial German-speaking eastern fringe ever used to come off shifts thinking “I could murder some caramel, floral hop bitterness and bready sweetness”. And especially not ‘a splotchy wisp’, whatever that is.

And it won’t be all craft beers either. Don’t get me wrong-I think the craft beer industry is nobly fighting back against the faceless beer conglomerates. I’ve been warned that a couple of Poland’s most famous beer brands have long since gone to the dark side, whisked up in vats in just a day, effectively a sort of beer mix with a bit of vodka chucked in. However, for some countries I wanted to drink as the romans do, and why not?


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