It’s time for the big brewers and supermarkets to jump on the craft beer bandwagon.
Guys, clamber aboard, but be aware that your beers will be subject to scrutiny. I’ve nothing against larger brewers when they make great beer. But I can’t stand it when they make boring beer and use distribution and marketing clout to put it in front of poor suckers who don’t have much in the way of alternatives.
Tesco has just launched a range of ‘craft beers’, which they’ve called ‘Revisionist’. The packaging is great, and all but one is made by Marston’s (the odd one out is from Wychwood). How do they fare?
Revisionist Craft Lager
Dry hopped with Admiral and Boadicea, made by Marston’s. Yellow/gold colour. Full flavoured lager with notes of herbs, straw and hay, with some citrus and bitter hop characters. Real personality here. 7/10
Revisionist Dark India Pale Ale
Made by Jon Tillison and Dave Carter at Wychwood, dry hopped with chinook and citra. Full brown colour. Malty and warm but with fresh tangy citrus and herb hoppiness. Some bitter black chocolate notes too, and some floral characters. An odd beer that doesn’t quite know what to do with itself. 6/10
Revisionist Pacific Hop Red Ale
Made by Simon Yates at Marston’s, hopped at four stages with Waimea and Pacific Gem. Red brown colour. Sweet, malty and quite rich with some warm herbiness and contrasting bitter hop notes, as well as a bit of roast coffee and chocolate. Despite the hops this is a slightly cowardly beer, a little afraid of flavour. 6.5/10
Revisionist American Hop Rye Pale Ale
‘Craft brewed by Marston’s’ and dry hopped with Amarillo and Citra, made using rye crystal malt. Spicy and slightly toffeed, with a rich nose that has floral herby notes. There’s a hint of roast coffee on the savoury, tangy palate as well as some bright, spicy notes. Could do with more richness and hoppiness? 7/10
Revisionist Belgian Saison Beer
Made by Marston’s, dry hopped with Styrian and Lubeski. This is interesting: it tastes Belgian, a bit like Leffe Blonde, with lovely spiciness and a rich, sweet core, coupled with bracing citrus freshness. Real interest. 7.5/10
Revisionist California Common Steam Beer
Made by Marston’s. This is a lager fermented at higher temperatures to produce a sort of lager/ale hybrid. Gold/bronze colour. Simple, a bit spicy, with nice fresh hoppy bite and some malty richness. A bit boring. 5.5/10