Today’s column from Neil at Real Beer is his final dip into the famous Beer Archives (namely, an old orange folder of beer reviews clearly marked “reviews to write up”) to showcase some of the madder reviews. "These might be bizarre beers, some of the reviewers more eccentric comments or, frequently, both," he says. The folder is already back in the vault for another year.
I don’t think my informal test panel ever decided whether Good Bastards was a good name for a beer, but we did try Good Bastards Dark Ale (4%) from (where else) the West Coast. It was indeed dark, black even, with virtually no head. It had a malty nose with some chocolate, burnt toast but also some marmite. Despite that, it was surprisingly drinkable and refreshing. The long dry finish meant we could happily have a few. Our main concern was that a beer from the Coast should not be in little 330ml bottles – they should be quarts! It scored 6.5 out of 10 overall.
Big Mike bought us some beer from his native Australia including Geelong Bitter (4.9%) from (where else) Geelong [where many of these would have been downed last September when the Geelong Cats became 2007 AFL premiers - Ed.] The beer was a light gold with a thin head. Overall, it was pleasant crisp dry and clean. Shong (pictured here) suggested there was "not much to it" but it was "fair enough for what it was." Big Mike said “it was the taste of childhood” and “made for drinking.” He said that if you see an unmarked tap in Geelong, it’s probably this. Big Mike’s ludicrously high ranking dragged it up to 6.75.
We got the Italian beer from the supermarket – Peroni (4.7%). This is a slightly cloudy, golden beer with a wispy head. Pleasant nose of grass cuttings, light in the mouth with a little hop kick at the end. The flavour seems to change halfway -- which Flash likened to Italian war policies -- but he did concede it runs quickly down the throat. Went well with the mussels and prawns we were eating and ended up at 6.75 too.
Finally, a real rarity, all the way from New Caledonia – Number One Beer (5%). It looks a bit weak to start as it is a very light beer, almost transparent, with a wispy head. Quite flat but dry and some late bitterness. The advertising brochure made no sense in either English or French. This beer would certainly be very popular in warmer climate or in a very hot bar. Still, the Heineken influence at the brewery ensures that this is an interesting drop and miles better than Kronenbourg! It got 6.25.