Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, and their former band.
Continuing my search for cut-price beer on the shelves of local discount stores, I discovered that whilst Home Bargains eventually exhausted their quite extensive stocks of Goose Island Honkers (I picked up a second load last month, as did one of my work colleagues), they had instead obtained a supply of cans from New York’s renowned Brooklyn Brewery.
Two different types were on sale at just 79p a can, and what’s more being from the USA where, as we all know, everything’s bigger and better, they are 355ml tins, rather than the 330ml cans which are standard on this side of the Atlantic.
The beers I picked up were Scorcher IPA 4.5% and Summer Ale 5.0% , but then to throw a further Brooklyn beer into the mix, I subsequently found East IPA 6.9% on sale at our local Tesco, for £1.04 a can.
All bargains for cash-strapped home drinkers, but it does lead to the question why are a couple of well-respected US breweries discounting their beers in this fashion? The answer in the case of Goose Island, was that Honkers is being discontinued, by AB InBev, who now own the brewery. But what about Brooklyn Brewery?
Much of the company's distribution in Europe, is through a partnership with Carlsberg, but this doesn't explain why they would want to "dump" beer through UK discount stores.
So what about the beers themselves?
Scorcher IPA 4.5%. Golden in colour, rather than amber. Very bitter in a harsh sort of way, with little in the way of juicy malt to act as a counterbalance. Quite a thin beer, but certainly thirst quenching on a baking hot summer’s day. However, on a damp mid-August day in England, the effect is somewhat lost
This is not the case, and the malt is balanced with German and American hops to achieve a clean bitterness and a pleasant floral aroma. The beer reminded me of certain native “Summer Ales,” in particular Westerham Brewery’s Summer Perle, but also Harvey's Olympia.
East IPA 6.9%. A strong American-style IPA, despite the blurb on the can about joining the English tradition with spirited American hops, to create a well-balanced IPA.
There are certainly plenty of citrus aromas in this light amber coloured ale, and these combined with the resinous flavours from the hops, make for a very satisfying beer, despite the strength.
Conclusion: with the possible exception of Scorcher, they are all quite quaffable beers, but like many which have crossed continents to reach these shores, I suspect they would taste even better in a steamy bar, in downtown New York.