Friday 12 October 2012

English Wheat Beers - a tasting

A couple of weekends ago I met up with a bunch of friends at Borough Market for lunch, a bit of shopping and a good old catch-up. There weren't many things I was planning to buy - some mushroom pate (thwarted, they'd sold out), some cured meats from Cannon & Cannon and not much else. But I did want to buy some beer for Paul (and for me). Utobeer has an enormous range, but I decided to just buy a few different locally made wheat beers to see if I could find anything that I liked as much as Hoegaarden or Erdinger (that site has a really startling autoplay music thing, so approach with caution).

I must point out that we tasted these over several days, so these aren't really direct comparisons, just each one on its merits at the time. Which also explains the different lighting in the kitchen.

Meantime - London (poor focus not as a result of beer)

I started with Meantime, brewed in London, because I've had it before and knew it to be a very nice, easy-drinking beer.

It had a lovely amber colour and a clean finish, although I think less fruity and spicy than the European ones that I like.

Definitely the prettiest label - Whitstable, Kent

Next up was the Whitstable Brewery candidate, from Kent. I had high hopes for this one, based almost entirely on how pretty the label was.
Whitstable - Kent

Unfortunately, I just didn't love the flavour so much. It had a pretty strongly citric acid aftertaste that I didn't really like (more lemony than the orange zest flavour of a Hoegaarden), but I suspect that on a hot day it'd be really refreshing.
Clouded Yellow - St Austell Brewery Cornwall

A beer from Cornwall was the next one we tried - Clouded Yellow from St Austell Brewery (also with annoying embedded autoplay video). I jumped to the conclusion that this would be a honey wheat beer, like an Australian Beez Neez, although why I formed that opinion when it's got a butterfly on the label and not a bee is beyond me.
Clouded Yellow - Cornwall

Anyway, it isn't a honey wheat beer. But it is extremely delicious. Quite a delicate flavour, moderately sweet and spicy.

Cotswold Brewing Co - Gloucestershire
The last candidate, from Cotswold had quite a savoury-yeast aftertaste (a bit vegemite-y, but not in a bad way!) which I think would appeal to a lot of people. I liked it, but it just wasn't my favourite.

Cotswold - Gloucestershire
All in all, this was a fun experiment. I honestly had no idea of the wide range of wheat beers that are being produced over here now, and none of the random selection I bought were actually bad which gives me confidence to try more in the future. And I will definitely buy the Meantime and the Clouded Yellow again, although they might wait until next summer!


Barbara said...

Fun read....even though I am not a beer drinker. :)

Heather S-G said...

What a fun time, that's a little tour/tasting I'd love to embark on!


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