Saturday, April 4, 2009

The not-so-good and not-so-great, number 11

Malcolm continues his occasional series, but -- self-evidently -- avoiding the topic we all want: the Blueshirts (sub-titled Crack O'Duffy! East of Jarama!). And there is no excuse for that appalling not-even-a-pun.


This one never passed into general human consciousness.

Guinness had been absorbed into the multi-national that is Diageo. St James's Brewery had one last throw, before its identity was lost and gone
for ever.

At a cost of some £5 million, it attempted to produce a Weizen, one of those decent, sometimes magnificent, German "white beers" (so called mainly because they are not "Dunkel" or "dark").

Now we are into semantics.

Malcolm drinks Weissbiers in Bavaria, and finds the best in Munich. The trick is to mix the essential barley with a proportion (anything from one-third to two-thirds) of wheat: Malcolm therefore finds himself referring to them, loosely, as "wheat beers"

These are, or should be served in a tall tapered glass, with a large foaming head: refuse all imitations. They are "live", so they throw lees, and one needs to be careful to decant bottled Weissbier with some care. Admittedly, Malcolm's mother could shock a barely-competent barman by -- professionally and oh-so-carefully -- cleanly pouring an old-style Worthington White Shield: then, finally and swiftly, tipping a small part of the lees into the glass. Such was the mark of the true cognoscienti. It needed three generations of experience. The amateur should not attempt this at home.

Guinness reckoned it could match over half-a-millenium of German experience within months. This superbrew was going to be Breó: in Old Irish that means "glow". It was even touted as "White Guinness". After £5M in development, a further £300,000 was thrown at advertising. Probably a fair bit of that dosh went to discovering that gorgeous fada over the "o".

Think New Coke. Think Edsel.

Within weeks, Breo had gone the way of the dodo and the mammoth. It took a fair bit of enamel from teeth on the way. It was not missed.

Malcolm still seeks confirmation that anyone, anywhere, willingly bought a second pint.

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1 comment:

yourcousin said...

Jesus Malcolm, how one can even think, let alone write about beer for Sunday morning consumption is beyond me. My head is still hurting.

I always took Boddingtons to be the white Guinness due to the similar consistency. Or failing even that possibly a Harp (though I never saw any while in Ireland).

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