When Amber is Golden

After the excesses of yesterday, it was a little bit quieter on the beer front today. The Whitefield Holts Bandit got in touch-did I fancy an appetiser in the TS? May as well I said . It was either that or go to Ikea. So it was I managed to sample Salamander Troubadour (3.9%). Salamander are usually good beers, and this was a nice gold colour, with a good, smooth mouthfeel. Pehaps could have done with more hops, but overall this was an enjoyable beer. Also sampled was Okells Bitter (3.7%).

Now, I'm a big fan of Okells, and their bitter is a great session beer, packing a lot of taste in 3.7%. However, I note that Okells are being a little bit economical with the truth in their description of this beer. They are members of the Cyclops tasting notes scheme, which ideally should simplify the action of choosing a beer. However, one of the problems with this scheme is that it forces brewers to choose from a limited range of categories, and doesn't allow for the cometimes more complex nature of beer. Also, (some), brewers seem tempted to bump their beers up from the copper colour band, to the golden category. Preusmably in the hope of more sales. I first noticed this with Robinsons, who would have us believe that Unicorn is a golden ale. Maybe in their dreams! Now Okells are at it with their Best Bitter which is amber-maybe pale amber-but certainly not golden.

This is not just semantics-if people play fast and loose with descriptions, then that just leads to other problems. For example, if I'm ordering for a festival, I'd be very surprised to get Unicorn and Okells Best after ordering on the strength of the Cyclops notes. Camra already have (independent),official tasting notes that are widely used. Where's the public credibility in having two diverging descriptions in circulation? It shouldn't take too much to be singing from the same hymn sheet. You might think that the local branch of Camra would sort this sort of thing out. You might think that's what BLO (Brewery Liason Officers) are for. But you'd be wrong. Robbie's BLO was as much use as a chocolate fireguard in a volcano. Apparently, not a issue worth mentioning in his opinion. Luckily, Robinsons etc do seem to have an interest in squaring this circle. So it's a case of watch this space...

As they say, the truth is out there. Remember brown is not golden. Amber is not golden. If you can't tell the difference or aren't bothered, you're in the wrong game.


Tandleman said…
I agree entirely that brewers should be honest about their beers. If they want it to be "golden" why not make it so rather than pretend it is.

I agree too about Okells which to me in good old fashioned parlance is mid brown as is Robinsons.

As a Lees BLO, I'd cerainly take it up with them, but of course Lees isn't in Cyclops, so the need doesn't arise. And no, Lees Bitter isn't golden either. It is light or pale brown!
Mark said…
Okells golden? My arse it is!

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