Are You Tasting the Pith? - 13th March 05
One of the odd things about having (and I hope I can say this without sounding like too much of a tosser) a widely educated palate, is that as you are exposed to ever more esoteric beers, made with wild triple decoctions and yeast scraped from the bottom of old Belgian beer bottles, you develop a taste for the unusual. This manifests itself in sometimes being unable to tell if a beer is bad, or is just a really weird craft beer. So it is with White Star Capstan (6% abv). It's a bit lively on uncapping, although I've found that this isn't really a guide to condition. The scummy foam that slowly oozes from the top of the bottle is a bit disconcerting, but the day a bit of scummy foam puts me off a beer is the day that I will finally lay myself to rest. I press on, undeterred by the aroma of rather cidery farts (or is it farty cider?) coming from the glass, but sadly, after a couple of mouthfuls I give up. A bad bottle, I feel.
But there is always a doubt, as the wildness of the flavours makes the initial mouthful of White Star Dark Destroyer (4.7% abv) dull and insipid by comparison. Who was it who recommended putting a capful of vinegar in a pint of beer, just to give it a more complex edge? Hmm, these things are apt to wake me at 3am. Still, pressing on with the Dark Destroyer, a few swigs reveal it to be a full flavoured, dry, coffeeish beer with a hint of fruit in the finish. Nothing to complain about, but then nothing to write home about either.
Turning with fading hope to Toon Ale (4.7% abv) by Geordie Pride Ltd., I sniff, swill and slurp a few mouthfuls, but do you know what? I've hit a new low in tasting. I try not to review beers that I know are going to be dull or cheaply made - as they say, life's too short to drink cheap beer - but purely for the sake of form, I'm going to press on and describe Toon Ale as a fairly undistinguished brown ale, milk chocolate notes on the nose, with a little hop brightness in the fairly short finish.
What a crappy week.
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