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Boddingtons Pub Ale

Boddingtons Pub Ale

Boddingtons Pub Ale

So here, for me, is a real blast from the past – one of the top best-selling beers in the UK, if my sources are correct. Not that I ever drank much of it, any more than I drank Watney’s Red Barrel when that was one of the Top Three. I remember the Boddington name more from their 1990s TV adverts than from their beers (an example of their ads you can currently find here).

Then last night, I was offered a Boddy’s, so I stuck my neck out and thought I’d give it a whirl. When it arrived and I saw the can, I had one of those shuddery, scrotum-tightening moments (apologies, ladies, I know of no female equivalent), as I never was much of a fan of canned beers. Still, in for a penny, in for a pound. I managed to down it, and herewith are my thoughts on the beer they call “The Cream of Manchester”. Read on…You could probably guess how this review is going to go, given that I’m something of a beer snob. That said, it wasn’t all bad. There’s a little nitrogen-filled widget in the can that reproduces the nature of a pub keg pour, so it was quite fun to watch as I poured it into a pint glass, and was pleased with the creamy head and the pale amber colour. There’s a slightly acidic nose to it, along with a faint floral scent that’s not unpleasant. Even at fridge temperature, this is quite appealing. Sadly, the appeal stops round about there.

I can only describe the rest of the experience as “thin”. The flavour is of insipid malts, there’s a skinny hoppiness, and the beer body equivalent of the “seven-stone weakling” (98 pounds). This is not a substantial brew, by any means. That said, it did improve a little as it warmed up, releasing up some sweetness and character, and it became a little more refreshing. For the downside, there’s a distinct metallic tang to it that spoiled any of its better qualities, few as they are.

So what goes wrong with a classic English beer? Well, as with so many of the smaller breweries, they were bought out. Whitbread acquired them in 1989, and then Interbrew got them in 2000. Given that the Belgian Interbrew company also owns Leffe, I’d have hoped for better, but there you go.

With an alcohol content of 4.7% it might be a decent session beer – lose that tin-taste, and after the first couple of quickly-drunk pints, it would probably be quite palatable. I have to say that I’m not that impressed; I give it a C-minus, although I’m prepared to admit that on a warm summer day that might just be enough, if there was nothing else within reach. Find it on tap in an English pub and that would drag it up to a C or even a C+. Add a bag of crisps, and you’re laughing, provided you can find a warm summer’s day in England.

Postscript I just discovered that Boddingtons is actually owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. My biggest nightmare is that one day all beers will be owned by these people, and all beers will be this way.

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Categories: Beers Tags: , ,
  1. Matt
    30 March, 2009 at 08:04

    Interbrew + Ambev = InBev
    InBev + Anheuser-Busch = Anheuser-Busch InBev

    They own bloody everything.

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