Are You Tasting the Pith? - 17th April 05
I'm always keen on the process of "resetting" your palate - it's easy to get hooked on ever hoppier, stronger ales, and so every now and then, I hit a bland patch and let my hop gland recover. For sure, Jever (4.8% abv) is quite dry, hoppy pilsner, but it carries it off with such finesse that it serves to re-educate the palate with its gentle malt sweetness and brisk, dry hop finish, rather than induce a craving for something heavier.
But by way of diversion, I have a selection of American lagers in front of me. Well, that's not quite true, as Rolling Rock (4.6% abv) has come not from the tanks of Old Latrobe, but from Interbrew via Luton. The nose is quite grainy, with a curious slightly sour note to it - not umpleasant, and actually serves as character in place of anything interesting. Now, I'm quite familiar with Rolling Rock in it's original incarnation, as on my first visit to the USA, I drank many, many, many of them before being terribly ill - it was obviously the combination of peppered steak and jet lag, rather than anything I'd drunk. But sadly, the UK clone doesn't share the faint toffeeish note that the original has. It's not unpleasant, though, it just tastes of nothing.
Which, sadly, is a quality that Texas Lone Star (no abv, 4% perhaps?) could do with more of. From the first unpleasantly astringent sip, the taste is reminiscent of a beer that hasn't had the line-cleaner fl;ushed out of it's pipe properly. Actually, that's unfair - the nose is actually vaguely promising, having a sweetish malt hint, but this really just sets you up for a bigger disappointment. I found it described on another beer-oriented site as "a perfectly good substitute for Budweiser", so I'll let you draw your own conclusions from that.
And then sometimes you find a beer that you wish lacked flavour. Such is the case with Dixie Jazz (again, no abv), which has a bouquet similar to sluice-out time at the olive-procesing plant. The taste is burnt, metallic and vegetal, with an unpleasant butterscotch note in the finish. I can't even bring myself to yack on about how bad this beer is, and so will just leave that thought hanging in the air. Avoid.
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