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14-04-2015, 14:42
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http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-wF3Q4MXmwwk/VS0ec2PZCEI/AAAAAAAAEAs/7X09vxO18Zo/s200/GuinnessGolden1.jpg (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-wF3Q4MXmwwk/VS0ec2PZCEI/AAAAAAAAEAs/7X09vxO18Zo/s1600/GuinnessGolden1.jpg)
Back in the 1990s, following the success of Guinness Draught in a can, Guinness launched “Guinness Bitter”, using the same widget technology. I remember it being advertised showing a fisherman putting his four-pack in the river to keep the cans cool, but it never seems to have been a great success and has long since disappeared from the market. To this day I still have a Guinness Bitter fridge magnet, though.
Now, as part of the initiative that has led to the introduction of Dublin Porter and West Indies Porter, Guinness have re-entered the ale market with the launch of Guinness Golden Ale. As it was on sale at £1.50 a bottle in my local Tesco, I thought I would give it a try. The first thing that strikes you is that, as Beer Viking reports here (http://blog.beerviking.net/2015/03/guinness-golden-ale-colonist-or-cannibal.html), it isn’t actually a golden ale. In colour, it’s more mid-amber, a similar hue to, say, Marston’s Pedigree, and certainly nowhere near as pale as the likes of Thwaites Wainwright. I’d broadly agree with his review that it’s a perfectly decent beer, fairly rich and “beery”, with subdued caramel notes, whereas some so-called “golden ales” have a rather insipid, lemony flavour. But I can’t see it winning many converts from lager, and the name is frankly misleading.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-gVFma2xSWqY/VS0esmYLHEI/AAAAAAAAEA0/Rbg64tJShWg/s320/bottle%2Bheaton%2Bmoor.jpg (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-gVFma2xSWqY/VS0esmYLHEI/AAAAAAAAEA0/Rbg64tJShWg/s1600/bottle%2Bheaton%2Bmoor.jpg)
Locally, we’ve recently seen the opening of a new combined bottle shop and bar called Bottle Heaton Moor. The owner Corin Bland is someone who is really enthusiastic about his beer, and I’m confident it will prove a successful venture for which there’s a strong demand in the area. There’s a detailed review here (https://beersmanchester.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/bottle-a-great-new-bar-in-the-heatons/) on Beers Manchester. My only caveat is that it’s not exactly a comfortable place to sit and have a drink, as the picture above shows. But it’s not really aimed at me anyway.

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When I called in, I spotted cans of Beavertown Gamma Ray on sale and bought one out of curiosity. Don’t worry, this isn’t “Mudgie goes Craft!” When they first launched a few years ago, Beavertown were so achingly craaaaaffft that they almost came across as a parody, but they have gone from strength to strength, and Gamma Ray seems to be regarded as one of the defining beers of the current “craft beer revolution”.
It was a distinctly steep £2.60 for a 330ml can of a 5.4% beer. The can has a striking science-fiction design showing an alien with a ray gun. Incidentally, why do “craft cans” tend to have a slightly rougher surface texture than soft drink ones? It pours a bright, almost orangey colour, with vigorous carbonation and a thick white head. The taste is that classic piney, resiny American hop flavour in spades. If you like that sort of thing, it will be right up your street, but I have to say that I see beers of this kind in the same way as highly peated Islay malts – you respect them, but they’re not something you’d like to drink a lot of. Personally I also find it offputting that it’s hazy verging on cloudy. I’m sure they have the technical expertise to brew a clear beer, so it has to be assumed that they are deliberately brewing a “London murky” as a sign of just how craft they are. If I wanted to drink a beer of that type, I’d much prefer either BrewDog Punk IPA or Thwaites 13 Guns.
Apologies for lack of blogging in recent weeks – I’ve just not had my interest sparked by anything. Now that the general election is less than a month away, I’ve reinstated the voting intentions poll in the sidebar – mobile users can access it here (http://poll.pollcode.com/46357848). I’d be grateful if readers didn’t share this elsewhere on social media, as last time some did this rather over-enthusiastically, which distorted the results to the extent that they were pretty meaningless.

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