Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Yay! More session ale!

I stumbled upon this in Marks and Spencer the other day. I was very pleased to find it because as I have said before I love session ale but can't get my hands on any of the stuff. As with many other Marks and Sparks products this beer is repackaged for the chain store and distributed to their outlets. I'm very happy they decided that the Irish people would enjoy a session ale and treated myself to a four pack, which was very reasonably priced unlike most English ales that make their way to Ireland. I can't get too excited about this one though, because as I suspected it's a fairly easy going bitter, quite typical of many I have tried from the bottle. It is a little fizzy and metallic but nicely bitter without any hop aroma. At only 3.2% abv and served in the curious (to me anyway) 440ml can this is a superb measure of tasty restorative beer and a most welcome addition to the Irish market.

The can is worth a mention because I rarely drink beer from cans, not because I disapprove of them, but merely because decent beer in Ireland is not generally served in cans. Many people believe that the can contributes a metallic note to the beer, but having studied packaging technology I can assure you that this is not the case because the inside of the can is covered in an inert lacquer that protects the can from corrosion and the beer from tainting. Cans are by far the best form of storage for beer because they are light, sturdy and recycling of them saves far more energy than the recycling of glass due to the massive amount of energy required to purify aluminum from the the ore. Having said all that, I still prefer my beer from bottle and despite all the environmental considerations bottles will likely remain the preferred container for beer in the future.


David Curran said...

There is an interesting article here on why wine in boxes is better "Drink Outside the Box"

I would also prefer cans/boxes of beer to moving round heavy bottles that I have to drive down to the recycling place to get rid of.

On the topic of session ale I found the lighter ABV drinks in England great. However with all those ads for Lite beers you hear "don't worry you get just as pissed you just cannot taste anything" I doubt they will get popular over here. I presume there is some sort of Alcohol + flavour = calories equation?

The Beer Nut said...

And you drawed us a picshur as well. Awww.

I've been conscientiously avoiding this stuff, assuming it was sub-John Smiths, but I might just give it a go now.

Are you guaranteeing that it doesn't have the same non-flavour as the Kilkenny we were experimenting with a few weeks ago?

Boak said...

So does can-conditioned beer work? Does anyone do it?

Thom said...

Dave, alcohol = calories mainly. Ethanol is packed with energy and it's the main source of calories in all alcoholic drinks. Sadly, I don't think session ale will catch on here.

TBN, it definitely has more flavour than Kilkenny but isn't all that inspiring. Give it a whirl, or if you can't bear shelling out, I'll give you my last can.

Boak, can conditioning won't work because the yeast continue to do their work and the can will swell. Standard beer in the can is pre carbonated and cans are rated for it. Predicting how yeast will act in the can is a little more difficult.

Velky Al said...

While on the theme of beer packaging, it is possible to get Staropramen in 600ml PET bottles here in the Czech Rpeublic - is there anyone else doing this?

Thom said...

PET beer bottles haven't turned up in Ireland yet. The last time I read anything about PET it had teething problems with gas permeation, but aside from that, brewers love them because of their weight and cheap production.