So it is odd to see a beer which comes from Manchester, but not my Manchester. Coming as I do from New Hampshire in New England, it is safe to say that my little state shares likely around 90% of the town names with those of old England. Naturally too, as every state in the North East seems to have a Manchester to it, it is reflecting upon my own “Queen City” that I think about the nature of a hard scrabble red brick former industrial city with a penchant for drinking. However this pub ale, which seems to be among the most common English imports, coming from Manchester (UK) as it does, I am tempted to think that in spite of history, my ruddy little berg may have a bit of an edge on them in terms of brewing.
You might be wondering, “What is this Boddingtons Pub Ale?” It is more or less exactly what you might think. It is a pub ale. Light in color, light in scent, light in most every conceivable manner, it sports a relatively low ABV and comes to us in a 16-ounce can that is both nitro-infused and possessing of the draught widget that is common in English canned ale.
Now to explain quickly the widget, it is a device to effectively mimic a proper draught pour. A small ball bearing, the widget it designed to break the flow of the beer from the mouth of the can and split it into two streams which recombine, as can be found in most taps. In most cases, this allows the beer to mix itself up again in a greater fashion once poured. But even before this pour however, the more notable addition, the nitro, is even more obvious as the hissing and gurgling sound one hears upon cracking the can open is all but unmistakable.
Pouring then as nitros do with a hard pour and no cant or tilt to the glass, it fills quickly but without producing the rocketeer head we might expect. Settling then into the always beautiful bubble cascade, it soon settles and produces a fine and creamy head atop the otherwise golden body. This, in my book is about as far as the pleasure of this beer really goes though.
This is, as I mentioned, a straight ahead English style pub ale. What this means at least to my palate, is that it is generally lacking in malt, generally lacking in hop, generally lacking in yeast and generally lacking in flavor all in all. In truth, this beer tastes like what I imagine English weather would be like if you could can it.
I can’t imagine a blander beer, unless perhaps I compare this to Old Speckled Hen, in which case as far as I can tell the can may as well be the primary difference. In previous nitro beers I have reviewed, I noted that the nitro addition itself seemed to overshadow, muffle or just override whatever underlying flavors were in the beer itself with its creamy texture and taste. If this is the case, this Boddingtons ale in its original form must have tasted quite a bit like a typical Eurotrash lager.
I know many out there probably love and adore this beer, but for my money it is not such that I would return to it again.
So to Boddingtons, to the soggy dregs of England and of course to you, I say as always…
While the brewery may have provided the product mentioned above for free, I was not required to write a positive review, I did not receive any monetary compensation, and the honest opinions I have expressed are my own.
Nicholas Goroff is an actor, writer and craft beer reviewer at EveryJoe.com. Certified as a Cicerone beer server, he is working towards obtaining certification as a beer judge while employed at Bert’s Better Beers in Hooksett, NH. When not reviewing beer, wine and spirits, he is typically writing political essays, screenplays and short fiction. Follow him on Twitter @wizardofcause.
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