The Aldi beer festival includes a quiz to help drinkers find their perfect tipple – so Peter Ranscombe took the test.
ONE of the drawbacks of pandemic-induced table service is the inability to stand at a bar and peruse the pints.
Pre-lockdown, few joys matched visiting a pub and squinting at the hand pumps to find out which guest ales were on draught.
Scanning a quick-response code to fiddle with a PDF on a tiny phone screen just isn’t quite the same.
Yet, even after identifying the brewery and the name of the brew, there was still that awkward question – which style of beer do I fancy?
Aldi has come up with a solution as part of its biannual beer festival, which kicked off last week.
Its summer promotion is accompanied by a quiz, so you can determine “Which brew are you?”.
Are you an “adventure seeker” or a “cool character”, a “hipster” or a “strong, mysterious soul”?
A series of questions – including, “Do you like meeting new people?”, “Do you Tik Tok?”, and “Love Island – yay or nay?” – will help you to find the answer.
And, once you know your brew, the German discount chain has 30 beers from 14 Scottish craft breweries in its latest seasonal offer.
As for me, it turns out that I’m a “strong, mysterious soul” – although the jury’s still out on that one…
Six of the best from the Aldi beer festival
THE HIPSTER: Barney’s Beer Cranberry Margarita Sour Fruit Pale Ale (3.2%, 330ml can, £1.49)
Sour by name, sour by nature. Its lively head and amber hue look benign, but Barney’s margarita blows your head off with aggressive sourness, which was a bit overdone for me. Yet it’ll delight saison fans and is bang on trend. It had the most interesting nose of the beers I sampled, with pinot noir-like raspberry and cranberry esters on the nose, like sniffing a tank sample of red wine. That pinch of salt comes through on the palate too.
THE HIPSTER: Hidden Lane Brewery Raspberry Saison (4.5%, 330ml can, £1.49)
Stalky rasbperry and wet leaf on the nose lead into textbook crisp and clean bitterness on the palate. The raspberry turns slightly more metallic on the palate, and the malt base delivers a biscuit note on the finish. It’s definitely whet my appetite to find out more about Finnieston’s Hidden Lane organic brewery – and introducing beer fans to new breweries is the best part about both Aldi and Lidl’s beer festivals.
THE ADVENTURE SEEKER: Stewart Brewing – Orange Hop India Pale Ale (IPA) (4.6%, 440ml can, £1.79)
It may not be on the “official” list of beers for those who turn out to be “adventure seekers”, but the Orange Hop IPA from Stewart Brewing is still worth seeking out. It’s up to the usual high standard we’ve come to expect from Steve Stewart and his team – you don’t loose the citrus IPA flavours amid the oranges added to the brew. Well balanced, with the orange adding a nice rounded texture.
THE STRONG MYSTERIOUS SOUL: West Brewery Black Stout (4.6%, 330ml stubby bottle, £1.49)
Again, it’s not on Aldi’s shortlist for those strong, mysterious souls, but two other stouts are, so I think we can get away with including it here. Petra Wetzel’s German head and Scottish heart have done it again, with another impressive brew. Classic heavy roast coffee aromas, with a lighter milk chocolate note too. On the palate, it’s really well-balanced, with enough freshness to stop the coffee and dark chocolate flavours from becoming cloying. A sensible level of alcohol too; not always the case with craft stouts.
THE COOL CHARACTER: Bellfield Bohemian Pilsner (4.5%, 330ml can, £1.49)
I’m a big fan of Bellfield’s gluten-free brewery and its beers, so it’s great to see its pilsner in Aldi’s summer beer festival. There’s a touch of biscuit amid the pine and lemon on the nose, before the crisp and clean citrus flavours take over on the palate. It’s got a soft mouthfeel, with that biscuit note creeping back in on the finish.
THE COOL CHARACTER: Brewgooder Clean Water Lager (4.5%, 330ml can, £1.49)
And if Bellfield’s Pilsner can be on the “cool character” list then I’m adding Brewgooder’s Clean Water Lager too. An oldie, but a goodie, the lager raises money to provide clean water to communities in developing countries. Classic pine, lemon, and grapefruit aromas, with its yeasty side standing out more for me from the can. Lime joins the lemon and grapefruit on the palate, while a touch of malt comes marching through on the finish. Its yeastiness manifests itself with a roundness to its texture too.
Read more of Peter Ranscombe’s beer, wine, and whisky reviews on his drinks blog, The Grape & The Grain