Gail, the Beer Maven, was busy with a customer as I plunked down the printout from last week’s review. It was about 11:30 when I finally made my way to the beloved Morris Beer Store, with a mindset against any fruity beers and looking for a pilsner, lager, manly wheat beer, anything that would bring me back to reality after last week’s Orange Blossom bonanza. There were a couple of Italian beers that I hadn’t tried, some Mexican ones and then there were always the Trappists up there on the top right chanting my name in Gregorian. Crap. Today I didn’t have a lot of time to spend cruising the shelves. I wanted something back down to earth, something ordinary.
In a hole on the shelf, in the back was an ordinary looking sixpack container. I brought it out to see that what I held in my hand was Murphy’s Red Beer. Nothing more, nothing less. Generic beer perhaps? Made by Murphy it had to be Irish. And it was red. But it was just beer. Interesting. The bottles themselves had an an interesting aberration. It was like it had a thyroid or throat condition. There was a hump in the neck. Dare to be different. And generic at the same time.
I did a label inspection:
Brewed under the supervision of Murphy Brewery, Cork, Ireland by the Heineken Brouwerijen B.V., Den Bosch. Product of the Netherlands.
I like the idea of supervision. I didn’t like the idea of Heineken, though. I’ve had Heineken and won’t have it again. I grabbed the Murphy sixer by the hole in its head and chose another different beer for tomorrow’s review, knowing that another newfound weakness of mine has hampered my judgement. I paid $7.49 for the Murphys at the counter and agreed to bring the MBSers the review printouts the following week.
Friday’s stint at work went the whole eight hours, neither working overtime, nor getting out early. I discussed the “generic” Irish beer with my coworkers at break. One guy said he heard of it, the others looked at me with one eyebrow raised. They looked like a table full of Spocks.
I made it home in good time despite road construction at I55 and I80. Working second shift does have it’s commuting perks in addition to the hourly shift differential. Once home, I emptied my lunchbox, grabbed a beer glass and headed out to the manly garage for some generic Red Beer.
The beer filled the glass with a nice golden tan color and there were tons of medium sized bubbles rapidly rising. The was a good inch of off-white foam. The aroma had a nice dark beery flavor quite unique of itself.
The first sip was interesting. It didn’t remind me of any one ingredient in the recipe. It was slightly malty, slightly hoppy, a bit dry at the end and tangy in the middle. It had a good “cack” at the back of the throat. It had everything going for it, but for some reason the taste just didn’t stand out. There’s an earthy flavor to it, and a crispness that makes this beer one of those you could drink a bunch of if it was the only flavor in the house.
The brew is one of those beers that you’d buy a sixer of, drink half of them and forget about the rest until three months later when you’re running short. It’s a decent beer but I’m sure that there is no Murphy’s Red Beer fan club full of zealots. It’s one that’s outstandingly average or significantly run of the mill. As a matter of fact, it tastes quite a lot like last week’s Berghoff Rock River Red Ale. Hmm.
Murphy’s Red Beer is not a bad beer by any stretch. It’s a good tasting, average beer. This beer with the Irish name and the amber color is often referred to as an Irish Red. But nowhere on the label does the beer call itself Irish. It’s just Red Beer made by a brewery in Ireland which was named after its founder who happened to be called Murphy.
I’d advise picking up a sixpack of Murphy’s Red with the hump-necked bottles if you see it on the shelf just to try it, if you’re feeling especially average one day. Just don’t expect a St. Patrick’s Day parade to happen in your mouth. If it wasn’t for Murphy’s name on the label you probably wouldn’t even think about Ireland. It’s a good drinker and you won’t be disappointed. You’ll get what you paid for. A decent beer at a decent price.
Taste: C+> X+Y-Z. Solve. You have 3 minutes.
Smoothness: C+ > Quite drinkable. Are we there yet?
Drinkability: B- > They do go down quite smoothly.
Bang for the buck: B- > Buck and quarter a beer for a significantly average taste.