An artisanally crafted blog curated by Cooking Lager for discerning readers of beer bloggery

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Stella 4%

Brand extensions. Usually something to be avoided. Why? It’s a marketing driven concept and the purpose of it, when applied to any given commodity, is to notice the price is x per quantity and to try and convince us with smoke and mirrors that paying y per quantity will make us happier and more fulfilled human beings. It doesn’t It makes us poorer. Like going into pubs.
The exciting and vibrant world of cooking lager is awash with the brand extension. “Premium standard” is the latest nonsense. Premium lager is any old piss at 5% ABV, and standard is any old piss at 4%. Brand a 4% piss with a 5% brand and you have “Premium standard”. An attempt to con us into parting with more than 40p for a can of the treasured ambrosia.

Well, it’s been a while, but it would appear the community of cooking lager enthusiasts and appreciators has resisted paying top dollar for one brand extension because last evening I celebrated Stella 4% officially becoming cooking lager nirvana. It has been on the outskirts for a while. Launched a few years ago now, unusually into the off trade before the on, it had all the qualities needed for a good cooking lager. It was a British brewed lager, with a foreign brand, high use of the adjunct maize (a flavour treasured by cooking lager fans, rather than dismissed as the less forward thinking ale jihadists view it) and absolutely inauthentic in every way. But the price remained resolutely above what the cooking lager lover is willing to pay. Often up to 60 or 70p a can. More expensive than the 5% Stella that is almost permanently on the special these days. Boringly so. I acquired a box of 15 for £7. That’s 47p a can. Whoo Eeeee. Dancing in the aisle. Who say’s supermarkets are soulless?

Whether it joins the cycle of bargains, and turns up regularly, we will have to wait and see. Beck’s Fear, another brand extension only rarely goes cheap enough, but we can live in hope of another fine product joining the cooking lager family. Talking of which, Carlsberg hasn’t been dirt cheap for a while. They have been boxing clever with the packaging, and false offers but keep your eye out. They all need to shift volume. Carlsberg is due for a giveaway soon. I feel it in my water.

I digress, Stella 4% what glass to drink from? I’ve never seen it in a pub so I opt for the poncy Stella glass I nicked to drink the 5% stuff out of. It matches the adverts which for this beer are art nouveau, rather than French peasantry. Nicer. It says something to me. Not sure what, though.

The lout. Ice cold, crisp. Like nymphs dancing down your throat. Chocolaty notes? Burnt caramel aroma? Malty sweetness? Herbal kick? Hop bite? You’re having a laugh. This is cooking lager. It goes down a treat and doesn’t trouble the palate. Top notch. If cheap enough, this could be a regular and challenge my passion for Foster’s.


Curmudgeon said...

Given how the brand value of full-strength Stella has been so comprehensively destroyed, it's hardly surprising to see little brother going the same way so quickly.

Tyson said...

18 bottles for £7 at Morrisons-thank me later.

michael-j said...

seen this in a few London pubs, absolutely awful IMO, but then i'm no fan of lager to begin with. replaced the drinkable Pieterman's Stella spin-off which was ditched after only a couple of months - maybe that had too much taste?

Cooking Lager said...

You are a gentleman and scholar, Tyson.

The absence of flavour and taste is the mark of cooking lager quality, Mike.