Thursday, June 19, 2008


As summer is [finally - at least in France] starting, it's time once against to half-ass some beer and various beverage reviews for your summer consumption. Now, don't get me wrong, it's not that I haven't been drinking, it's just that what I have been drinking hasn't been particularly blog-worthy: Pelforth, George Killian's Irish Red (which is completely different in Europe, our version hasn't been castrated by the Coors), Stella...average beers at best, but worse "supermarket beers." The way I figure it, if I can buy where they sell eggs and milk, it's not worth talking about.

I get to the beer store from time to time, but it's expensive and the selection isn't always great (although in their defense they do have 5 of 6 Belgium Trappist brands - will I ever get Westvleteren?) and it's out of the way. However, last week, with the Euro 2008 in high gear and France still having a chance at not totally sucking, we had a little Beer, Soccer & Pizza gathering. As this is France, normal "beer" would be some swill that August Busch IV wouldn't touch. So it falls on me, the only person in France (that I know) who cares about beer, to "take it up a notch": Direction V and B.

As previously mentioned, the beer's usually a bit pricey: around €2 per bottle (with certain Irish and British bottles going for over €3/each. This brings the [20 bottle] case price up to around €40. So I walk in and immediately see a big giant pile (stack if you prefer) of Hansa Pils for €16/case. Not having my handy list of "the best Deutsch beer" I figure what-the-fuck, for this price, I can't go wrong: Well, yes and no. First things, first: It's not terrible. It's not even as terrible as RateBeer (or the Beer Advocate) would have you believe, but it's not great either. Bitburger (the epitome of average German beer for me) gets a 2.9 on RateBeer. Hansa isn't worse than Bit is. Bit may be easier to drink, but Hansa is fine if you're looking for an easy-drinking brew on a hot day.

One of the criticisms on RB is that it has a tinny, thin head. Well, the trick is not to pour it like a beer, but instead pour the last 1/3 like soda - straight down into the glass...Then you get a beautiful (if extremely temporary) fluffy white head. Beyond that, the taste is quite dry and just a tad sour. The mouthfeel is...Ok, I still don't know what that means, but I still love the word. All in all a great deal at 80 cent a bottle, but it would be a horrible deal at twice that.

I'm going to try to be a better client of the beer store and spend more time writing Drinky Drinky columns. I urge the other contributors of this blog to as well. The single most important factor to our readers (beyond the cynicism, hate and women without pants) is alcohol reviews.


Jeff K said...

I can buy Chimay, Westmalle and Dogfish Head at my supermarket, so your problem is that you shop at shitty supermarkets.

When assessing mouthfeel, ask yourself "Does it cut the inside of my mouth?". If the answer is "No, it doesn't", then your mouthfeel is excellent! Who keeps beer in their mouth anyway? My beer tends to go straight down my gullet.

Kris said...

Yeah, i can actually buy Chimay Blue and Red at the supermarket was the imagery that I was going for because in general, in France, the beer that's available at the supermarket is subpar...Except for the aforementioned Chimay the best beer at my local supermarket is Grimbergen? Heineken?

It's like that in all supermarkets here. Maybe up North you can get good beer, but down here nothing. I do realize in the US that many supermarkets have a good selection of local and national microbrews - not the case here.