Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Review: Tesco Bière Blonde

Tesco Bière Blonde from Brasserie Saint Omer
Rating: D-

Someone left this in my refrigerator after a party I hosted, and it's setting off all kinds of warning bells. Apparently it's contract brewed "Exclusively for Tesco" by Brasserie de Saint Omer.
  • Green bottle? Check...
  • Grocery store own-brand? Check...
  • Not only that, discount grocery store brand? Check...
  • 2.8% alcohol? Check...
  • Corn and caramel coloring on the ingredient list? Check...
Am I a masochist for opening this? At least it's only a 25cl bottle! How bad can it be?

Appearance: Poured into a Leffe blonde glass, shows a golden straw color, with a one finger white head that fades astonishingly quickly. Does not look super effervescent. Filtered clear.

Smell: Corn and DMS dominate. Some French and Belgian beers have a "farmyard" aroma but this is not what that is supposed to mean! Smells like canned corn. No trace of hops in the aroma.

Taste: Not as bad as the aroma, mercifully. Light, corn & grain flavors dominate, with a bitterness that is reminiscent of tonic water. Tastes like there was just one early (cheap) hops addition in the brewing process. It's like they mixed the liquid at the bottom of a can of corn into a glass of tonic. Not as bad as some macro lagers, but objectionable to be sure. At 2.8% ABV might be useful as a thirst quencher, but Gatorade is healthier and water would taste better.

Mouthfeel: Super light body, like sparkling mineral water except it doesn't taste as good. Carbonation is average. Lingering aftertaste of over-boiled bitter hops and over-extracted grain.

Drinkability: I now understand why it comes in a 25cl bottle. Even that is more than I want to drink.

The brewery's other products don't seem to have fared much better in Beer Advocate reviews. I suspect the guys who put together this Youtube "commercial" for Bière Blonde put in more effort than Tesco's ordering and QA guys did when arranging this contract brew.

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