Monday, December 7, 2009

Run for the Border

It's not really lager weather but I seem to have stumbled upon quite a few over the last few weeks. Some were very good while others missed the mark by a country mile. A trip to Newry a few weeks ago brought some lager to my attention that generally I wouldn't bother with, but the cost of alcohol in the North of Ireland is dramatically cheaper than the south, partly due to the British government's policy of effectively devaluing the pound against the Euro through various means, but also the VAT rate is lower up North. Excise is lower too. All this makes for dirt cheap consumer goods and explains why shoppers from the South of Ireland have spent over half a billion Euro in the north over the last twelve months.

My main beer objective up north was to put a dent in the selection of British ales on offer in Sainsburys. I bagged a number of ales but couldn't help picking up four cans of Basic Lager for 99p. I wouldn't have bought the stuff if it was regular strength, it was the 2% abv that got me. I had to try it, but got exactly what I anticipated - the wateriest beer I have ever tasted. There was a twinge of malt at the end and the overall flavour wasn't unpleasant, perhaps if the flavour was twice as strong it would have passed for a half decent lager. The second lager tangent was Biere des Moulon Continental, a first for me in that it came in a green plastic screw top bottle. The beer was awful, - nothing to do with the packaging, it was just a musty, bland lager, which isn't typical of most French lagers, though most can hardly be accused of a strong, distinctive flavour.


Frankfurter Premium Pils surprised me during a brief stop off at my local Aldi. Nothing new had turned up for a while on their shelves so it was nice to see a new beer on special offer. In my experience the lager in Aldi is generally good. Sure it's hop extract laden and somewhat industrial feeling, but the purity law in Germany, though not strictly binding any more, means that most brewers do not water their grist down with adjuncts. Therefore I am always hopeful that the malt aspect will satisfy. Frankfurter Pils hits the spot in this regard along with crisp bitterness and a whiff of hops. Great stuff and just as cheap as anything available up North.

6 comments:

Barry M said...

Yeah, that Frankfurter isn't bad for cheap stuff. I was surprised by it really.

Séan Billings said...

I bought Tesco Value Lager out of the same morbid curiosity. Just like the Sainsbury's stuff it's 2% Vol, comes in a 4 pack, costs buttons and you get what you pay for.

Is it just the photo or does Biere des Moulins come in a PET bottle?

Cooking Lager said...

Some nice lout choices. Keep it up.

Oblivious said...

"Some nice lout choices"

There going to have to drink some amount of 2% lager to be louts :)

Thom said...

Sean, The bottle is indeed PET. I picked it up for that reason. Novelty value I suppose.

Oblivious, The average lout would indeed have to drink a bucket load of the stuff to get hammered, but I'm sure they'd give it a go...

Leigh said...

I have a bit of a thing at the moment for trying out supermarket beer. those plastic bottles did make me look twice though...!!