For our first Seasonal Session (spring 2012) we are going take some unsuspecting drinkers and serve them up a selection of bottled spring golden beers. The review panel are not real ale boffins and none of them have ever tried these beers – so let’s see what their honest opinions are in the Seasonal Session Spring 2012.
Each beer was tasted blind so that nobody could apply any preconceived ideas about different breweries or beers.
The beer was poured and a glass handed to each taster as I sat and awaited a response I encouraged the tasters to talk about the colour, smell and taste of the beer
About the drinkers:
- Stuart – generally a vodka and diet coke (no ice, no lemon, coke right to the top) kinda guy, but he does enjoy a red wine and has some modest experience in telling the difference between wines
- Sam – Likes her gold beers but prefers the less hoppy ones, rarely drinks more than a couple of halves before switching to soft drinks or wine
- Lee – Just taking his first steps in the world of real ale, has a good grasp on what different beers are and is expanding his known beers
- Toni – German, enjoyed German beer but over here prefers a rum and coke but if offered a good dark beer will sink a few pints
Beer 1: Badger Golden Glory
First up we had Golden Glory by the Badger brewery, the tasters all seemed to agree that this was a good looking beer, using words such as “clear” and “bubbly”, the beer is a nice golden colour with a slight amber hue.
As the tasters began to try the beer they quickly all used the same descriptions – peach.
Pungent peach, exceptionally strong on the nose – Lee
All the tasters agreed that the peach was pretty much all of the flavour, some felt there was some citrus present but it was overwhelmed by the peach.
Asked if they would go back for more, most would, but they also agreed that it wasn’t very sessionable and all would most likely enjoy the first one or two but couldn’t spend a whole night just tasting peach.
Interesting try, wouldn’t spend all night on it – Stu
Beer 2: Moreland Golden Hen
Next was Moreland Golden Hen, this was selected as many people have tried their other beer Old Speckled Hen and I was interested in hearing peoples opinions on this other beer of theirs.
The colour was a gold colour a little darker than the Golden Glory, most did not find it as attractive or fresh looking.
All agreed that the nose had no real distinction, being not particularly hoppy or malty.
Confused but not unpleasant, both malty and hoppy – no real identity – Lee
None of the tasters really warmed to this beer, they all felt that it lacked any clear flavour and that what was present was not very nice, it was suggested that if it were colder then maybe it would have been better and maybe more refreshing, but nobody was jumping at the opportunity to try another.
I could drink more than one, but I would slow down and would prefer a different beer – Sam
Note: I did go back and try another one later and quite well chilled, it does bring out a bit more character, if you like gold beers and you like Old Speckled Hen then this might be something worth trying.
Beer 3: Jennings Cocker Hoop
Third up was a wild card for me, Cocker Hoop by Jennings, a beer which I personally had never tried (and it turned out neither had any of the tasters).
Of the beers Cocker Hoop was agreed to be the darkest in colour, a few remarked that it had less bubbles (carbonation) and this made it look less attractive – less refreshing.
The tasters opinions of the nose of Cocker Hoop varied from nothing to the unappealing description of “sweaty” and metallic (I think yeasty is a good description of the nose on this beer).
The descriptions of the taste were not positive, the word “sharp” was used by most, I think this was the odd maltyness in the middle (I felt that it was an attempt to put body into this golden beer, and judging by the panel it has not worked on any level).
Aftertastes of metal and something smokey – Sam
Out of the four beers this was almost universally agreed to be the worst, some of the tasters did not even want a top up after their first taste. Between the group of five people we barely got through the bottle which is I feel a good indicator that they did not enjoy this beer.
Not exciting – Toni
Beer 4: Hook Norton Hooky Gold
The descriptions of Hooky Gold were focused on how clear it was, of the beers tasted it had the lightest colour, some also noted the clean white head which frothed up when poured.
Nearly all the tasters (Stu the exception) noted citrus on the nose and most found it appealing, I think the association of citrus with freshness has a positive effect on people new to gold beers.
All except Stu seemed to like this beer, they liked the way it was smooth in texture and had no unpleasant aftertastes – this may have been because some of the other beers tasted had distinct (poor) aftertastes. But this is still evidently something which appeals to all of the tasters.
Except for Stu, the tasters would go back for this one especially as an afternoon drink on a relaxing spring day.
Easily drinkable, could drink several on an evening without getting bored – Sam
So the preferred beer for the Spring Session 2012 is Badger Golden Glory, for my review of this beer see this weeks Beer of the Weekend.
Thanks to all the tasters for your honest opinions and pandering to my insistence that you write down what you thought of your beers, as always the opinions presented here are the views of those tasting. Join us in the Summer for our next Seasonal Session where we will put another four beers to a panel of tasters for their honest and frank first impressions.