Sunday, 4 July 2010

Cricket (Badger)

In Manchester it's City or United. In 'ocker' country in Australia you drive a Ford or a Holden. In Bournemouth as an ale fan, you head for a Ringwood or Badger pint.

I fall fairly squarely into the first camp, certainly from the pump.

To be bashed over the head of a night I'd rather recline in the warm, threatening, willowy embrace of Old Thumper than trip mantrap-locked through the pitfalls of Tanglefoot. Similarly, for a character step-up from Best, 49er ticks all the boxes for me. That Ringwood ale's Willy Wonka burnt toffee finish is an exquisite performer on the buds, and to my taste a yard up from most of the Badger "gold" beers found elsewhere.

However, from the bottle Ringwood seems to let it's arrow slip wide of the mark. The phenomenon of pump-bottle differences is well discussed elsewhere, but only Old Thumper seems to stand up. Thumper's heady potency creeps ably into the bottle like a Hampshire genie sleeping stealthily in a brown glass lamp, it's only two wishes to grant being tasty pleasure and walking issues with gravity.

How, then, fares Badger? Today's tasting is of the rarely-seen and possibly new 'Cricket', found at Tesco in a cheery yellow label, it's strapline promising "harmonious notes of lemongrass". The Broadside was dubious, and images of past unfortunate experiences with Thai cooking hove into the mind's view as he lifted it into the trolley.

The cap lifted off with a startled gasp akin to an HGV air-brake, so we can tell this is a boisterous little guest. The head, as imperfect yet characterful as the Sphinx, reinforced the impression as it poured jovially into the glass. The colour was deeply ochre, a terracotta tile of a shade, which promised fudgy frivolity.

First taste impressions - festivals, laying on grass, a not-unpleasant sortie on the tongue of a zingy, characterful tipple. The opening note is as crunchy as a spiced-up rich tea, with vast grainy hops disguising the relatively weak 4.4% strength.

The Broadside's taste experience enters phase II as the middle cackles up a basket of fruit and veg, although none he's tasted before. This may be lemongrassy, or star or dragon-fruity, a range of colliding citrus tastes piling across like an untidy round of Tetris.

The finishing note is prolonged and gamey, and not for my taste. I'll return to the festival pint comparison, in that this is a beer that would sit well with an experience out rather than a night in with just the TV and this long woolly carpet of an aftertaste. From that night out this taste would remind you of that time: this is a waymark of a beer, a cairn-like memory-jogger, like the glance of a distinctive exotic lady happily recalling time well spent.

To mark this characterful yellow firework I'd hazard a 6, although if 6.5 were available I'd jot that on the card. A happy summer effort from Badger, and I'd have gone higher were it not for that overlong postscript taste, which loiters like the last guest at a party who wants to keep talking about the party.

6/10 - If you see it, you'd do a lot worse than pop it in the basket, although make sure you have an event planned for that crackly opening moment.

- The Broadside

1 comment:

  1. There is a strong local and national dislike of Badger Beers and their methods, i think only Greene King attracts more discussion.

    Thankfully, this blog doesn't discuss politics, we discuss what beer tastes like.

    Sounds interesting, might have to check it out.