Action Figures & Their Beers: Beach Baby

by Beedo Sookcool
on 2011-06-22, 13:29:18


Brewed in Newton Abbot, just a few short miles up a very congested ring road from my house, this lager is billed on the bottle as “Devon’s finest.” Honestly, it wouldn’t have to try very hard to beat out Jail Gaol Ale or any of the Bays Brewery offerings, but I gotta tell you, it’s certainly some of the best Devonian beer I remember having. (There was an incident back when I was 19 and we were back home visiting relatives during the summer vacation. I went out with a few cousins from South Brent down to the local pub. I don’t remember it too well, so it must’ve been some damn good beer I drank, then.) But I digress.

The ingredients list on the label isn’t very specific, citing “Water, Barley, Wheat, Hops & Finings.” Normally, beer labels over here list exactly what type/recipe/variety of ingredient is listed, sometimes throwing in the place where it was produced or grown, for good measure. It’s the same with food. For example, you can’t just buy plain old sausages any more, they have to be Lincolnshire or Cumberland sausages, or similar. Ham should be from either Yorkshire or Wiltshire or Devon . . . you get the idea. It’s as if knowing where it’s from somehow makes it better. That is, until they start lying on the labels. There’s been a recent scandal over here where several products have been mislabelled, including “Devon ham” that actually came from Denmark, and “locally-produced Welsh lamb” that has been found to be from New Zealand, on about as far on the opposite side of the planet as you can possibly get from Wales. But I digress.

The blurb on the bottle is more forthcoming, citing that it was brewed to impress Real Ale enthusiasts and lager drinkers alike. (Mission accomplished, folks!) The blurb also mentioned citrus flavours and a hint of blackcurrant. (And if any Americans reading this review have never had anything blackcurrant-flavoured before, I weep for you; it’s that delicious. Look in World Market or your supermarket’s import section; jam or juice products would be the easiest to find.) If you concentrate, you can see what they mean about the flavour notes, but these must be in the parts-per-million concentration range. But that doesn’t detract from the beer in any way at all. Beachcomber is made from “pale ale and wheat malt from Tucker’s Maltings in Newton Abbot, water from Dartmoor,” (where the Hound of the Baskervilles romped, I might add), and “special bottom-fermenting yeast and English aromatic hops.” I dunno about you guys, but to me, “bottom-fermenting yeast” sounds like a Hell of an STD that you wouldn’t want to catch! Works pretty darn well in this stuff, though. But I digress.

Anywho, the front-man, or rather, front-robot for this particular brand of suds has got to be the mellow Autobot geologist-slash-hippie, Beachcomber, who is sure to appreciate its electrum golden colour. Like its Cybertronian botnik namesake, Beachcomber lager is so extremely mellow and smooth, it’s almost like you’re not drinking beer at all. There’s no sharp taste or bitter aftertaste, just a nice, soothing lingering mild beery tang that lasts for a few minutes. It’s not gassy (well, there’s a bit of carbonation, but it’s painfully low-key, and only enough to give it a tiny bit of sudsiness at the top), so there’re no great gusting belches to worry about afterward. I could drink this stuff all day, quite happily. Or at least until the 4.5% ABV caught up with me, or I needed to have a wicked slash. (Note to Americans: have a slash = take a whizz.) Beer — it’ll be the urination of me. But I digress.

A locally-produced brew, it’s very hard to find in national supermarket chains (except for that high-end cash-eater, Waitrose). Fortunately, it’s also apparently sold seasonally in the shop down at Occombe Farm, even closer down the road from me, and also a number of other local businesses. Finally! A locally-produced Devonian beer I can — and will — proudly tout!

Drink this if you also like: Unharshable mellows, man.

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