I don't really understand the rationale behind which beers get imported into this country, particularly from the US. Surely with hundreds of first rate brews to choose from only the very best would be deemed worthy of being packed up and shipped across the ocean. But there's an awful lot of very average stuff out there.
Take Brooklyn's Pennant '55, for example. It's not kidding with the sports branding: this is a beer to buy cheap and drink when you're concentrating on something else. Toffee is its chief flavour feature. It's fairly light at 5% ABV and tastes stickier than it actually is, which I quite like. For hopping there's a vague air of raisins and it winds up with a strange soap-powdery effervescent tang. There's really not much wrong with it, it's just completely unexciting.
The other side of the pointless imports is the beers that are exotic for their home market but rather mundane here. Admittedly, American breweries' idea of Oktoberfestbier is unique all to themselves, so the fact that we get lots of the real German variety perhaps shouldn't be viewed as overlap. I'd be more forgiving if I actually liked what the statesiders have done to the style.
Brooklyn Oktoberfest is the usual shade of dark amber. Thankfully it's not as sweet as most of these -- Samuel Adams Octoberfest I'm looking at you -- and it's quite easy drinking. There's a big grainy flavour at the front, finishing dry and even a bit smoky. There are no discernible hops and no aftertaste. Again, I'm not incensed by it, but I just don't really see the point.
Come on, beer specialists, let's put some more oomph into the imports and leave the everyday drinkables to the breweries closer to home.
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