Brewery: Wells & Young’s
Type: Extra Special Bitter
Alc: 4.7% Vol.
Show watched while reviewing: Alan Carr: Chatty Man/Stand Up for the Week.
For a beer that makes such strong claims to ties to traditional English brewing its a shame that Wells’ Bombardier lists two ingredients as Colour E105C and Stabiliser E405. Its already got some points against it in my book for that reason.
However, it does have a lovely chestnut brown colour, the type you’d expect from an old English fashioned beer. But that’s what the colourant is probably for. The somewhat fluffy white head stays nicely atop the drink and doesn’t go anywhere fast.
On the nose there’s a sweet but not sickly flavour of something akin to squashed-hard candy-floss which seems to eminate from the foam.
The foretaste is slight, a pleasant honey flavour with a smoothness that pervades the whole taste. The mid-taste leads on to something rubbery and something like a smooth walnut purée.
Smoothness is also present in the after-taste which is very faintly smokey, like the taste of cigarette smoke but if it were actually pleasant.
Its a sleight beer, smooth and palatable, but just knowing it has those chemicals in it means Ale to the King can’t, within my heart, recommend it. Even as I drink it I can only think ‘this isn’t fair; they’ve cheated to create this’ and like an Olympic athlete using illegal drugs to enhance performance, it has to be disqualified.
Horsehockey. It’s a fantastic beer. A great ESB. That you decide on some pointless snobbery about colourants is as artificial as you’re claiming about the Bombardier. Maybe more so, since you’re complaining because they take a fantastic tasting brew and made it look as good as it tastes. That’s like saying it’s a lousy drink because you don’t like the unadorned colour. Pure hypocrisy. It tastes great. That’s the only true – and useful – test of a beer. Save your fashion reviews for ladies pumps.
Hello Horsehockey, thank you for your comment. I am sure you will understand now you have sobered up that it is completely reasonable for me to review a beer on the criteria that I care about. While beer, and alcohol, can be pretty bad for you, I don’t really want that exacerbated by the inclusion of E105C and E405. Natural is best, and some of the satisfaction of drinking a beer actually comes from the knowledge it is naturally brewed. I wouldn’t mark down a great tasting beer for being a dull colour, but I would take notice of a particularly nice colour on a nice tasting beer. There are more senses involved than just taste, though you are correct in your assertion that taste is the main one involved. Tastes great? Fine – but what about if it tasted great and didn’t contain E105C and E405? A more satisfactory beer I think you’ll find. Please take onboard the fact that natural is more satisfying for a number of reasons that are not necessarily all to do with taste. Until then I will not begrudge your continued and evident slurping of the chemical baths they call “Steller Artwarr”, “Grollsh” and “Carlsbing”.
Also thank you for participating in a blog that has been inactive for several years. It really was a welcome blast from the past.