The basic rules of cooking lager appreciation are the beer must be neck able and dirt cheap. However a bit of flexibility is a must when encouraging cooking lager appreciation in others. Praise yields more result that criticism and when the lovely lady squeeze did a bit of shopping and bought me a six pack of Foster’s Gold I was delighted. I didn’t even enquire whether it was on special offer but expressed my delight she’d put some lout in the basket. The cheapest I’d seen this was £4.50 in Asda. Other promotions had it at around a fiver. Full price it is 6 quid for 6, a quid a bottle. A bit pricey for 4.8% lout all considered but I’ll give it a go as it’s bought. Putting lout in the basket is a good thing, to be encouraged. We can work on the whole cheap as humanly possible bit gradually.
I remained silent and waited. Nothing. It would appear to be an entirely altruistic gesture. We’ll see I guess when I neck one. A day later the lout had been in the fridge and I settled down to one. The bottle informs me it is a 4.8% chill filtered lager. “Premium” 5% brands have arguably had some success with lower alcohol 4% spin offs. The stronger spin offs from the standard 4% brands seem to die a death pretty quickly. There is a logic to this, the 5% brands have a bit of authenticity to them but if you don’t want to get too pissed up you can manage it on 4%. When standard brands go up market they appear to be standard with more alcohol rather than actual premium products. How will this fair? Anyone’s guess. Carling has a new brand out called “chrome” in this category so I guess it’s time for brand extensions all over again.
The purpose of this beer is by all accounts to give the loyal Foster’s drinker something more sophisticated for when times demand an occasion, as the can of lout is okay when you’re with your mates but not in front of a lady. That’s what the marketing department say, anyway. I asked the squeeze. “Do I look sexier with a bottle of lager or a can of lager?” The answer was “You look sexiest when you are hoovering. But not during Emmerdale. You want to do that more often if you want to turn me on”
The brand whilst being a UK brewed Australian lager has never been the product that by all accounts isn’t that popular or widely drunk in Australia and this stronger version isn’t an attempt to sell the authentic Foster’s. It’s a whole new beer.
But what is the lout like? Well it’s a pleasant affable inoffensive drink lacking in anything you might want to call flavour. A light tasting lager to the kind and watery piss to the unkind. Nothing at all unpleasant and if cheap enough I’d be happy to neck it by the gallon. A light unchallenging beer for a hot day or something to get angry about if you are a beer geek, I suspect. There is nothing about it at all to dislike.
If I were to be slightly sceptical, we have been here before. Anyone remember “ice” beer? Or even “lite” beer? Both lager styles which pretty much failed to take off in the UK market and this beer is pretty indistinguishable from that.
Usually when you drink a stronger beer you expect more of the general taste of beer. The basic mechanics of brewing dictate that to up the alcohol you put more of the core ingredients in to end up with a higher ABV and that makes it taste of more. Chill filtering is a process where you near freeze fermented liquid and remove the ice particles. This ups the abv because you are removing water and not alcohol and also removes much of the flavour whose resins are attached to the ice. Hence a lighter tasting higher alcohol beer.
The main standard lager brands advertise mainly to a male clientele. Carling, Foster’s & Carlsberg are by their advertising “lads” products. Are lads looking for a stronger version which tastes of less? I don’t really know other than when previously asked the question it was a “no” or else ice beer would still be in the shops. As a lad I’m looking for cheaper beer but I don’t see much of a chance of a new brand extension called “cheapest”. At least they are not patronising women, though, by introducing a light tasting lager for the ladies.
My guess is that some beer commentators would describe this as being indicative of all that is wrong about large scale brewing of bland products. It really isn’t. There are worse things and indeed worst beers in the world. The only offence is trying to up the price of the grog they are selling. The standard brand sells for about 40-50p a can. They want to sell beer for more, so they introduce a spin off. If it works it works, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. My guess is that this will be short lived but I’ve been wrong before.
On a positive note, it produces a pretty good belch without that beery feedback loop created by beers which taste of beer and it is named after a song by Spandau Ballet. If that’s not a good reason to drink it I don’t know what is.
Eventually the bombshell came. I was looking for a much loved and much worn t-shirt. “I’ve had a bit of a clear out. The scruffy t shirts are in the bin. Why not wear one of the new shirts I bought you that you’ve never worn?” It’s not all bad. Some aspects of living with a bird are pretty good. The sex, basically. Regular sex.