Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Pistonhead Kustom Lager (and Journalistic Corruption)

I'm glad I'm a beer writer.

Recently the world of video game journalism has been publicly and embarassingly ripped apart by the Gamergate scandal, which is basically a load of angry nerds abusing video game writers and developers (many of whom are those dangerous vagina-owners that you see sashaying around like they own the place) because a female game developer crushed her ex's feelings with her whole "having a sex life" deal.

The crux of it is "journalistic integrity" and this idea that video game journalism is somehow riddled with corruption . It also gives a lot of angry poindexters an excuse to call women cunts in public and get applauded for it.

I want to ensure that my beer writer credentials are clean and shiny in case we get Beergate, so here's a review I wrote for Rum and Reviews, published a year ago today, of a beer which I got FOR FREE from a brewery.

I know, right? I'm a total suckfish. Brutal Brewery gave me a promotional four pack of Pistonhead Kustom Lager so you SHOULDN'T READ THIS REVIEW.

Don't read this review on your phone.

Don't read this review on your laptop.

Don't read this review while real journalists are going into warzones protected only by a flak jacket and the word PRESS daubed on it big and white and clear to report on the worst crimes and greatest sacrifices of mankind.

Here's a beer review from a corrupt bastard. Don't believe a word that comes out of my whore mouth.


Pistonhead Kustom Lager
Spendrups/Brutal Brewing

Attempting to research Pistonhead Kustom Lager was a mistake, right from the off. I should not have looked beyond the veils of ignorance and peered into the dark world of media verbiage where “attitude tribes” roam wild, beers are “seeded” in music venues like evil weeds, and devotees of a brand get its sugar skull logo marked on their bodies forever. But I did.

Luckily after a week or so of grumbling to myself about never using Google again I forced myself to open a can or two of Pistonhead. And it was worth it.

Surprising, right?
From a cool can Pistonhead pours dirty-gold in an unsurprising lagery fashion, with a head that disappears almost instantly. The smell is equally as disappointingly ethereal, with very little in the way of a nose – wisps of fruit hover at the edge of the senses and there’s a faint, barely tangible crispness in the air filling the empty space at the top of the glass (and let’s just point out now that drinking beer that comes in a 330ml can feels weird).

The mouth does a better job pinning Pistonhead Kustom Lager down than the eyes and the nose: Pistonhead has an ace up its sleeve in the form of a surprisingly vivacious hoppy taste, with citrus notes of lime rushing to the senses. Subsequent mouthfuls top up this uncomplicated taste as Pistonhead Kustom Lager begins to Do Its Job.

The aftertaste is bitter and heavier than I expected, lingering nicely as Pistonhead cements its place on the tongue, the tonsils and the teeth.

As the beer level descends leaving the glass squeaky clean the citric tang seems to mature into something a little fuller, with the hops coming into the foreground. The crispness begins to dull a little as the flavour fattens out. By this point the carbonation, which certainly wasn’t the tornado of bubbles I expected, is barely putting up a fight and is no more than a tickle.

The final mouthful is no explosion of taste, but the citric notes remain until the end and I can honestly say that this is a good lager.

I was put off by the fact the beer is seemingly aimed at me ten years ago (bit chubby, Brylcreem quiff that added three inches to my height, cuff legged blue jeans and no access at all to a hot rod) but Pistonhead Kustom Lager is a cut above a lot of the competitors.

To borrow from the rock and roll themes laid down by Brutal Brewing’s PR handlers, Pistonhead has Carling in a headlock, just got off with Fosters’ girlfriend behind his back and recently got back from beating Tennents in a death defying street race.

Pistonhead is a nice, drinkable lager beer that would die on the pumps in a “both kinds of lager and a guest ale” joint. It’s a tasty, simple little drink that has had to nail its colours to a campy rockabilly mast and squeeze itself into a 330ml venue-friendly miniskirt to survive. In a world where a powerful demographic will buy anything with a sugar skull on it Pistonhead Kustom Lager could have been a much worse drink and still have sold well.

Fair play to it.

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