Beer of the Week

Five Things About … Hahn Ultra

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1) Ah, beer geeks are so predictable. The first mention of Hahn Ultra (at a paltry 0.9 per cent alcohol) was on a beer geek page on Facebook. Unsurprisingly, the tone of the comments was overwhelmingly scornful. Yes, the term ‘‘megaswill’’ was even used. And there was a debate about whether at 0.9 per cent, it had enough alcohol to be able to be called ‘‘beer’’. Clearly these people have never heard of root beer before. Or ginger beer either.

2) All this was before they’d even tasted the beer. One of the rules I have about beer is that you can’t lay the boots into a beer about the way it tastes, when you haven’t tasted it. Sure, you can choose not to drink the beer because you don’t like big breweries. That’s fine – but that precludes you from having an opinion about the beer itself. In a nutshell, if you’re not going to drink it, you can’t have an opinion on the quality of the beer.

3) I have tried the beer so I can have an opinion on it. And I have to say that opinion isn’t favourable. I’m a fan of the lower end of the alcohol spectrum – I think it’s been overlooked for yonks – but I’m not a fan of Hahn Ultra. The mouthfeel is thin at the front – which you expect from a beer this light in alcohol. In the middle is a malt hit that was stronger than I expected. But then it all goes downhill with a really odd sweetness that lingers in the back end. It’s not an unpleasant sweetness, but one that definitely doesn’t belong.

4) But you know what? That doesn’t really matter, because I’m guessing I’m not the target market for this beer. That’s because, on the rear label, it has a rather conspicuous graphic pointing out that this beer has only 45 calories. Now, I’m a bit fat and am looking to lose weight – but not to the extent where I’ll drink this sort of beer. I’d rather cut out something else or exercise a bit harder to allow myself some tastier beers instead. But there will definitely be others who want something that tastes a bit like beer but isn’t fattening (yeah, beer is fattening. It’s empty calories. Deal with it).

5) Now that is totally fine. People are allowed to drink beer for whatever reason they want. Me I have flavour as a high priority. For others, the calorie intake is important. So if they want to drink this, that’s their business and I’m happy to let them do it free from scorn. Because they want different things out of beer than I do. And what I want isn’t necessarily right, it’s just what I want.

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