Friday, July 18, 2008

Drink Of England

I wish it was, but surely Bombardier is no more the drink of England than Guinness is the drink of Ireland. True, Guinness is available in every pub in Ireland, but it is on the decline and outsold by generic lager and alcopops. In the same vain Bombardier, and ale in general, is outsold by lager in England by a vast degree. Clearly this is the rare occurrence of a decent ale getting the professional advertising treatment with the familiar marketing blurb that comes with it. It's unusual for beer with such a sophisticated advertising campaign to taste so good. I agree with the Porterhouse Brewery here in Dublin who advise us not to drink beer that is advertised on television, and generally this is sound advice, but it falls down with Bombardier because this is a wonderful beer and presses all my buttons when it comes to flavour and texture. It has made me realise that I need some more crystal malt in my home brew to achieve the toffee like richness I love about this beer. Also it is a lesson in hop restraint, as it has little or no hop aroma but lots of peppery flavour and the malt is permitted to speak for itself without the fear of being muffled by aggressive hopping. Two items of note that have changed since I last tried this beer a number of years ago; the traditional English pint measure has given way to a continental 500ml (clearly patriotism doesn't extent to weights and measures) and a couple of E numbers seem to have appeared on the list of ingredients, one of which, a caramel colouring additive seems unnecessary because I find it hard to believe that the brewers at Wells are incapable of getting the colour they want through natural ingredients alone. The E numbers are a little disconcerting, but clearly this ale is enjoying extensive export and perhaps some degree of stabilisation is required to maintain quality during transit.

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