My last visit to the highly acclaimed, world renowned Morris Beer Store was to replenish my house beer supply (still OML, by the way) and pick up a review candidate. I was starting to get fed up with all the Christmas spirit hoohah. They had Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer piped into the store speakers and I thought, “Jeeze. Aren’t people fed up with this song yet?”
I paused by the craft beer shelves anyway. What will it be for next week? Winter ale? Another Christmas lager? With that stupid song drilling into my hippocampus, I decided then and there that after December 25th, the season is over. That gave me a whole new perspective on what beer to try.
I recalled a videocast I saw a while ago where three guys rated 3 different canned beers that contained nitrogen charged capsules inside like Guinness. I spotted the familiar name on the shelf. Hmm. Only a 4-pack. But there, emblazoned on the neck of the can was the statement, “THIS CAN CONTAINS A WIDGET.” As far as I was concerned, the holiday party’s over. It’s back to the normal daily routine of everyday life. I grabbed the 4-pack of Tetley’s English Ale, along with my house beer and paid at the register. Ouch. $6.99 for the foursome made me wonder if it was worth it.
Back home I rummaged for the calculator. Each can of Tetley’s contains 14.9 ounces. Let’s round that up 15 oz. per can. Times 4 cans equals 60 oz. total. Divide by 12 (ounces in a regular can of beer) and we get five equivalent beers. Almost like converting metric to American standards. But hey, 60 oz. is 4 oz. short of a half-gallon. That should be more than sufficient to base a decent review on.
The holiday came and the mess remains from Christmas morning. Saturday will hopefully reorganize my brain back to the way it was.
Saturday came and as beer time approached, I wondered if this Tetley’s would be more like a Guinness, or more like a nice sweet ale. The widget puzzled me. Why is it in there? But then again, widgets aren’t bad. The Mac OS has them in the Dashboard and WordPress uses them as well. Why not beer companies who think different?
I decided to choose a beer glass I hadn’t used in months. It was a monster 22 oz. container. I wanted something that would hold the entire 15 oz. can contents. When I popped the top on the first can there was an odd noise as the widget discharged its gaseous contents. It reminded me of the gurgling noise your intestines make just prior to the first episode of a bout of diarrhea. Following the instructions from the side of the can, I slowly poured the beer down the side of the big glass. There was a mass of creamy foam that came out and almost filled the glass. Then was the cascade. Similar to that of Guinness but lasting a much shorter time.
The liquid finally settled into an amber hue and oddly, there were no carbonation bubbles. How can this be with nice creamy head on top? Did I buy a flat batch of this beer? After doing some research on the Net, I discovered that this lack of carbonation tends to make for an easily drinkable beer and that Americans may be unfamiliar with. The aroma was slightly malty and very subtle.
The first sip hit with a nice, malty taste, but I missed the bite of the carbonation. The beer tasted flat.
One thing that was odd here, was that this beer tasted like nice, smooth, malty ale throughout every sip, but that lack of carbonation seemed to leave me wanting something more. But as I drank my way down the glass, my tongue started to grin. The taste came forward, filled in and was not masked or carried by the bubbles. By the time the first glass was 2/3 gone, I didn’t mind the absence of bubbles and the taste floated me away. Before I knew it, the first can was drained. It was really a good tasting beer.
All in all, this is really a beer to experiment with at first. See if your opinion comes close to mine. The taste holds up just nicely and it makes for an enjoyable session of beer drinking. You will not dislike it. Some of you may actually prefer it.
The SixPackTech ratings for Tetley’s English Ale are:
Taste: B > A hearty, malty taste with a nice sweetness built in. Just like the widget.
Smoothness: B+ > Smooth as a snail’s track.
Drinkability: B- > Let me hear another widget gurgle.
Bang for the buck: C- > Steep for less than a sixpack.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Oh, this glass is a two-hander. (sip) There’s not much there. (sip) Yeah, it’s just kinda… not really bitter, but it’s almost like some kind of watery… water. No taste, really. (Watery water. Priceless.)