I don't know what Tesco's game was a few weeks ago: a sudden avalanche of quality beers across the chain in Ireland, both local and imported. I went in to my local branch more out of idle curiosity than anything else, not expecting to find much new or interesting. But in amongst the British and Irish ales there were these two Bavarian weissbiers I'd never seen before. In for a penny in for 5-for-a-tenner, I thought.
Arcobräu Weissbier Hell poured a pale and hazy shade of gold. Though all of 5.3% ABV it's quite light-bodied, almost to the point of being watery. What would you expect for two euro a go? But give it a minute and the flavour kicks into action. There's a rising clove flavour that builds on the palate as it goes down. Combine with the easy-going texture and you have a wonderfully tasty refreshing and sessionable pale weiss. Bailey once described the Grolsch weizen as a cartoon version of the real thing: this one is similarly entertaining in a simplified way.
High expectations, then, for Arcobräu Weissbier Dunkel. It's not all that dark as these things go: a chestnut shade only a grade or two dimmer than Schneider-Weisse, say. (Also, all those people who get upset about the oxymoronic nature of "Black India Pale Ale": why aren't they up in arms about "dunkelweisse" too?) Anyway, it's just as simply constructed as the pale one but lacks the lovely clove character. The flavour is rather more banana-based but there's not much else: no caramel, no roast, just vague bananas finishing slightly dry, but that could be the fizz as much as the dark malt. Meh.
I've had poorer experiences after dropping €4 in a Dublin beer shop, but when there's O'Hara's IPA and Clotworthy Dobbin in the same offer you're best keeping it local at Tesco.
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