God loves a trier, and I couldn't suppress a smile when I found a bottle of Mann's Original Brown Ale recently. Instead of a description on the back, there's a recipe for beef stew, and more recipes are promised on the reverse of the front label. If ever a beer screamed "Drink me!" this 2.8%-er from Cheshire isn't it.
Of course I couldn't resist buying it, pouring it into a pint glass and drinking it. It's very very not unpleasant. You get the expected caramel sweetness, but not too much, and nowhere near the point where words like "sickly" and "cloying" are wheeled out. You also even get a very English stiff-upper-lip restrained hoppy bitterness as well. And there are no off flavours: nothing to suggest this is made on the cheap with substandard ingredients. Everything is in tip-top shape, just toned waay down flavourwise. The result is a very easy going quaffing beer that I really rather enjoyed.
A quiet and well-mannered old gent, who gets little regard from his family and carers, but is perfectly content with who he is. Here's to you, sir.
And from intentional cooking ale to unintentional cooking lager. On a recent sunny afternoon I attended the graduate exhibition at Dublin Institute of Technology's art school (hi Nicole and Bernard), held in a strange and rambling former convent in the north inner city. DIT had laid on food, drink and music. Beer options were Miller or Sol. I've no memory of ever trying the Mexican so I plumped for that. Holy crap is it bland. Utterly tasteless. I mean, it's not even refreshing. I can understand why it's the done thing to put limes in this, because that way it'll taste of limes. Instead of nothing. Like a fool I declined the citrus option, preferring mine neat. I won't be doing that again.
Maybe I should have gone for the Miller. Word has it the European Commission fears we may lose our Miller in the Scottish & Newcastle takeover, and they're determined to prevent this. I hope, in the Brussels café where this was decided, they were drinking something nice.