Are You Tasting the Pith? - 20th March 05
One of the things about tasting different lagers after you've read the tasting notes is that quite often, you find that the reviewer has had to exaggerate the flavour in order to distinguish it from other similar beers. Every now and again, one tastes a lager that is genuinely different, and this is the case with Sleeman Silver Creek (5% abv). The nose is soft, slightly fruity, perhaps a bit bland, but as you swallow, the flavour really bursts out at you. Unfortunately, that flavour is of a primary school dinner hall - think overcooked vegetables and stale margarine, and you're almost close. Perhaps sucking a dirty dishcloth? The finish is quite smooth, and once the unpleasant flavour fades, it at least has the virtue of being inoffensive. Until you take another mouthful.
What to expect, then, of Sleeman Honey Brown (5.3% abv)? I have to confess to having drunk (rather than tasted) this before, and so am perhaps primed to like it, although the Silver Creek has put me right off the idea of ever drinking a Sleeman's beer again. The nose on the honey brown has a hint of toffeeish malt, and perhaps a floral note, although that could just be the suggestive power of the word 'honey'. Thankfully, the burst of flavour on the tongue is mostly slightly sweet malt, perhaps a little hop dryness, and a touch of honey coming through on the exhale. Actually surprisingly drinkable, given the disaster that is Silver Creek. Actually, the more I say it, Silver Creek sounds like an environmental catastrophe, like Three Mile Island or Chernobyl.
Leaping then to Paulaner Original Munchner (4.9% abv) was always going to produce quite a contrast in flavour but crikey, this tastes like a glass of cold wort in comparison to the last two. The nose surprisingly hoppy - dry and grassy, with a touch of milky malt, and the palate continues this balance, leaping brilliantly from medium rich maltiness (Ovaltine) to spritzy hop dryness. The best of this week's three, and as you might expect from such a venerable German producer, pretty good all round.
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