With the Great British Bake Off now back into full swing, I thought I’d settle down to taste a much better use of yeast.
The Great British Brewing Company is Aldi’s label for it’s range of beers, which it launched back in 2016. They didn’t receive nearly as much attention for it as their cousin Lidl, who released its Hatherwood Brewery brand a while before (remember the Ruby Rooster?). Still, at just over one pound a bottle it would have to be shockingly bad for me to shy away.
Reassuringly, GBBC is just a label attached to some beers produced by some very reputable British breweries, so I’m coming in with high hopes.
Land of Liberty American IPA, 5.0%
This is a creation from Sadler’s, whom I know best for their Hop Bomb West Coast Pale ale. Land of Liberty bills itself similarly – zesty, citrussy, sweet and hoppy.
Golden in colour and with a generous, pure white head, we’re off to a good start. The aroma is pungent, predominantly grapefruit, lemon, and perhaps kiwi. So far, so good.
It all starts to go downhill once it’s actually in your mouth (as the actress said to the bishop). Liberty is lightly fizzy, and has a thin, almost ethereal mouthfeel. The flavour is not immediately apparent. After a few gulps it appears, late and ashamed: a little grapefruit, iron, and a bready sweet aftertaste.
I’m pleasantly surprised, given that this beer only set me back just over a quid. But for something at 5.0%, I’d expect a little more flavour, a little more than the thin layer of flavour lying over this beer like cling film.
Spill the Beans Coffee Porter, 4.4%
Now we’re firmly back into my comfort zone – dark, punchy beers with coffee and chocolate flavours. And with Brains as the brewer on this one, I have high hopes.
A deep, dark brown in colour (as you’d expect), with a scant, light caramel head, there’s no surprises so far. The aroma is strong. I can smell toasty malt and coffee from this beer halfway across the room. On closer inspection, there’s a sweetness there too: amaretti, and coffee with cream. It’s starting to sound like a digestif.
The flavour is beautifully balanced, dancing between soft, malty sweetness, through some bitterness before landing firmly in coffee and chocolate. It’s quite the journey, but one I’d happily take again.