Saturday, 17 February 2018

It Is Time To Drink Bargain Beer And Pay My Car Insurance Cancellation Fee


The process of writing a snappy "economy beer"-related title for this piece was torment itself. I couldn't use a made-up word like "Beeronomics" even though it sounded class in my head because a quick Google search told me there's a book by that name. 

Economical puns and wordplay related to phrases like "a rising tide lifts all boats" were typed down then erased with a groan. "A Sinking Pint Raises All Spirits?" Howay Ruari, you're better than this.

This week, beer bloggers Boak and Bailey dropped a short but effective article about the importance of calling attention to good beer available at a palatable price, in the light of ongoing debates on craft beer pricing and the fear of the £5 pint becoming standard. In these heady days of rage, of consumer boycotts and macro takeovers, a buycott movement is a refreshing, cool wind after a season of black rain. With this in mind, I swung by my favourite beer shop on a mission to buy a session's worth of beer, making sure that each can or bottle was in the region of the £2 mark, and shout out the best of the bunch.

Hell, maybe the whole bunch. It's nice to be your own editor.

Beeping through the checkout at £2 a bottle is True Wisdom, a sour beer from Newcastle University's student-run microbrewery Stu Brew, and from the quiet crack-and-whisper of the crown cap's removal comes the scent of overripe green fruits swelling in the fields. Aromatic hops and lactic acid in synergy. Sour and entrancing.

The pour is thin, filling my skull-shaped glass with pale straw which, when lit from behind, transforms it into a forbidden golden idol. The scent within the glass now woodsy, not like a dank expedition to a land of giant pines, more like a shady country copse, a woodlet somewhere with a rising insurgency of militant gooseberries.

To the desiccated, nervous mouth of a beer writer finding his feet again after a year of silence, it is a flash flood to a dry wadi. Refreshing and tongue-puckering, there are slightly oily notes of hoppy flavour as the beer sloshes down almost too quickly.

The sourness of this beer is quite subtle. One could maintain a flat poker face while drinking it. A wild beer, but only quietly untamed. No frenzy of sourness that folds the teeth back into the skull, just a gentle tangy tingle. 

The carbonation is light, the beer's head disappearing almost instantly once poured. The aftertaste of the Simcoe hops and the sourness lingers between mouthfuls, as I struggle to remember how to write taste notes.

In this reporter's opinion, this isn't a beer to nurse. There are beers made to sit in a glass while the drinker and their friend engage in deep rhetorical debate, or bitterly fight over which Godfather film was the best, and this ain't one of them. It's a Mayfly of a beer, born to die in a minutes-long life defined by frenzied aerial sex. 

With the beer writer closing the Wikipedia page on Mayflies that he stopped for ten minutes to consult, the beer is quickly dispatched. It leaves lingering sourness, curling the sides of the tongue up just slightly, and sighs away to a memory on a dying breath of green berries.

It is good to be back.

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