THE HAPPIEST KINGDOM JUST KEEPS GETTING HAPPIER
Continuing tripping lightly thru the lagers, etc.
PADERBORNER PILSENER (Paderborn, Germany, 4.8% alc/vol)
Probably the most unusual thing about this otherwise standard-issue German pilsener is that it drinks in kind of a creamy way through the middle of it – not off-putting, and not like some of the under-carbonated English or Irish beers, just a little different. Nearest I’ve had to this kind of characteristic is probably the ultra-drinkable but flavour semi-undetectable Mountain Goat steam beer. This has more flavour than that, but not a ton, until the big flat bitter swat of hops at the end, which is standard for the style. The hops hit isn’t the bouquet of uninvited herbal inflections you get with some of the more creative German Pils, and that’s a good thing. Not outstanding but currently pick-uppable cheap ($2.25 per can at House of 600 in Acland Strasse) and probably worth around 7 out of 11 on the LLL “one better” scale.
TUBORG CLASSIC (Denmark, 4.6%)
It says traditional pilsner on the can, but there’s no bitterness to the hops, and if there’s also no great distinction to the enterprise, it makes for easy and well-mannered, if slightly watery, drinking. It would be at its best very cold on an extremely hot day, but outside of suchlike ‘survival leisure drinking’, you could probably do better. 6.5 out of 11 is about right.
Note – while I’ve said Denmark as country of origin, the can is a little more vague, as it indicates “Produced in EU, brewed FOR Carlsberg Denmark” (Carlsberg own Tuborg). I’m dubious of anything other than a clear “Product of…” indication re imported beers, but in this case close enough is probably good enough.
CASTEL DEL MONTE Bianca Lancia (Italy, 4.7%)
And WHAMMO, here we go! The first Whammo is the sharp crack of the top when you apply hardly any pressure to open it, which produced a mild heart-attack in the unprepared consumer. I assumed I must have accidentally cracked the top of the bottle, but it was all fine – there’s some sort of plastic insert with an embossed circle inside the cap that must account for it. The bottle shape makes it look like a midget champagne, and that must be what they’re going for, with that opening effect. That also kind of jibes with the style, which will be very much the go for you fans of Belgian witbier – it’s very emphatically in that style, with what tastes like the coriander and the orange peel and the bicycle helmets and the antique typewriter, etc. I’ve explained in the previous beer spray that this isn’t my home style, but in this case, it’s so lively and so much the full MGM musical production number, it would be rude – and fairly unobservant – not to notice that within this style, this is undoubtedly something out of the ordinary. It would want to be considering the price ($7 retail where I got it), but if you went for that style, this is one you pretty much have to try if you can find it. A ridiculously sprightly piece of work (and if you’re a low-carbonation fancier, you can skip this one) that will tapdance up and down your face and neck. I’ll give it 8.5 out of 11 but I suspect you can bump that up at least a full point if you’re an adherent of the style. Incidentally, I’ve never heard of the brewer before either.