A last-minute substitution has landed this month's Session in the capable lap of Mr Steve Lamond from Beers I've Known. "Guilty Pleasures" is the topic so I had to scour my assembled beer stash for something I hadn't tried yet but which looked like it might induce some pleasant sheepishness in me, the drinker. In doing so I happened on Fischer Ambrée Reserve, a red beer from Heineken's French subsidiary, better known for its dry lager, though also the home of artificially flavoured travesties like Desperados and Adelscott -- beers which I wouldn't be surprised to find on someone else's guilty pleasures list this month (it is a well-known fact, for instance, that Dredge is mad for the Desperados), though definitely not mine.
The clear-glass bottle of this Fischer came my way via Stephen of The Beer Club, and the random Aladdin's Cave of odd beers he seems to accumulate. I think there was some Adelscott in there too but I demurred. On pouring, the Christmas cake waft leaves us in no doubt that, like its stablemates, this too is aromatisée. Uh-oh. I'm feeling guilty already.
But actually, I rather enjoyed it, straight from the fridge and with a thirst on me. The nutmeg and cloves are properly spicy and don't taste like an ersatz version of themselves, and there's also a very pleasant citric fruit punch which gives it wonderful quenching power, despite a hefty 6.3% ABV.
More than anything, it tastes to me like mulled wine, minus the wine. I shouldn't like this, but I think I can handle the guilt, especially as we get into winter properly.