14 Dec 2009

St Peter's 12 Apostles

OK, it isn't biblically accurate, but it does the job for a silly pun.

The good people of St Peter's Brewery, through Claire, were really cool and sent me a box with 12 samples from their product line, a very varied selection indeed.
Since posting the tasting notes of 12 beers might be quite boring for you to read, and would sure be a lot of work for me to write, I have split them in three installments that will be published in the coming days.

Before getting down to it, I want to take a few lines to praise the presentation of these beers. Those oval shaped bottles are just lovely, so apparently simple, with so much identity. Better writers than me have already emphasised the importance of a good packaging for beers, specially of the "craft" sort, and they are right. Of course, nobody is going to buy something they don't like, no matter how prettily it's wrapped, but you have to know it first, and a nice bottle or label can make a big difference when it comes to a first purchase of a given beer, and as you are very aware, what is crap for you or me, might be wonderful for someone else.

But let's go now to the really important stuff.

I decided to get started with Fruit Beer - Grapefruit, Honey Porter, G-Free and Organic Ale, partly because they were the oddballs, and partly because I didn't thin I would some of them.

First one to be opened was the Grapefruit Beer. I'd only tasted one beer flavoured with this citrus, it was Belgian and called Pink Dog, or something like that. One of the people I was tasting it with said "It smells like toilet cleaner". It didn't taste much better. I was hoping such would not be the case with this one in front of me, but those hopes were not that high. Wasn't I surprised... 
It pours limpid gold, like a good ležák, no radioactive looking tinctures in there, good sign. The nose is malty, with some resin, the grapefruit is really will integrated, it actually doesn't feel like a cheap extract, but reminds of C hops. Medium bodied, firm, malty, with a mild, but assertive grapefruit that comes very well together with the hops and doesn't turn the beer into an alco-pop. I must say that I liked it, I found it to be a great summer drink and thirst-quencher, and really good to wash down some light meal.

Second in line was Honey Porter. For some reason, the characteristics I associate with Porter didn't mix well with those that I associate with honey. I wasn't expecting to like this 4.5% ABV beer.
The colour is as expected, dark. The honey predominates way too much in the bouquet, so much so that closing my eyes I almost felt I had a glass of mead in front of me. I love Medovino, you know I do, but I wanted to drink a beer. I wasn't convinced by how it all came together. I was able to finish it, yes, but without much joy. I'm sure there are people that will like it, not me, though.

Gluten free beers are in a different category. I believe that they should be evaluated more or less in the same way as non-alcoholic beers, or BFSD, as I call them now. They are not something most people would drink by choice and so, they should not be compared with "ordinary" beers. They should be evaluated thinking about whether we would gladly drink them or we would opt for another alternative should the situation arise.

Fortunately, I had already tasted a gluten free beer, a German one, so I had something, rather tenous, to compare St Peter's G-Free with.
It pours limpid very pale gold, little head on top. There's citrus and spliff in the nose. With 4.2% ABV it's got a very thin body that hasn't got enough chops to support the hops, which are way too dry and end up out of tune with the rest. If I had to choose between this and the German, I would go for the latter as it's closer to the beers I'm used to.

To finish the session I chose Organic Ale. To a certain extent, it's a category on itself, but it also serves as a bridge between the other beers above and the rest, which lean towards the more "classic" or, if you want, "traditional" side of English brewing.

Much has been written about organic beers. The latest to publish a not very positive rant about them (at least from the blogs I follow) was The Beer Nut. So far, I'd had only one experience with organic beers, the Swedish Ekolmen Ekologiska Ale, which I had liked a lot, not because it was organic, but because it was very good. I was looking forward to seeing how Suffolk's would compare to that one.
Very rich gold it pours. The nose reminded me a bit to a světlý ležák, but with a bit more tropical fruit. It didn't say much at first, but little by little this beer sheds its shyness and becomes more confident. Nice silky mouthfeel, with a light malt base that provides a good balance to the tasty mix of citrus and tropical fruit that provides character. The finish has a bitterness that walks on a tightrope, but fortunately never looses its balance.

I liked it, perhaps not as much as the Swedish one, but with its 4,5% it's a very nice session beer. The best of all is that there is basically no difference in price with the rest of the product line. Great to keep a good conscience and a healthy wallet.

Na Zdraví!

Reserve your Prague hotel and win a walking tour.

2 comments:

  1. The honey porter sounds exciting but, as you say, it doesn't come together. It reminded me of cough medicine. I've not had a St Peter's bottled beer that I've really enjoyed for a while, in fact, which is a shame, as it's a great brand with great presentation.

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  2. As you will see in the following entries, there were more than one St Pete's that I enjoyed a lot...

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