1) When James Boag launched their Epicurean range in April, I resisted writing anything about it. Which wasn’t easy, I tell you. Being a bit partial to a hot take every now and again, a brewery making two beers to pair with food – and acting as though they’re the first to discover this – was totally ripe for scorn and ridicule.
2) I mean, really, the whole thing seemed like such a massive marketing wank – let’s try and make beer more fancy by calling one “white” and one “red”, serve them in wine glasses and even involve a sommelier in the process. In essence the message here is “beer needs to be more like wine to deserve a spot at a fancy restaurant table.” Which may well be true for James Boag’s other beers but there is a stupidly large amount of beers that work just fine with food. Indeed, there’s a strong belief that they work better than wine because they can offer a wider variety of flavours and therefore match with a wider variety of foods.
3) So yeah, it seemed like such bullshit. But I told myself I should hold my fire and wait until I tried the beer first. So I did. I waited and waited for it to turn up at my local Dan’s as promised. But it never did. So I went and bought a six-pack from Lion’s fancy mail order site MoCu (which, in case you’re keeping notes, is still a stupid name).
4) I wanted to give the beer every possible chance. So I bought the beer called “White”, partially because I thought it might be a white beer and also because it used Enigma hops, which I like. On closer inspection of the bottle and the website the use of the word “white” is purely a link to wine – it has nothing to do with the style. In fact, there is no mention that I can find anywhere as to the style of this beer.
5) And so, what does it taste like? Well, it’s appropriate that the bottle looks like Boag’s Lager with a different label slapped on. Because it tastes a lot like a Boag’s Lager – I reckon they’ve used the same yeast. It’s definitely not a witbier; my guess is it’s just a lager with a smidge of honey sweetness and nothing else. It’s a largely bland beer apparently designed to be paired with seafood; that’s strange because wines you’d pair with fish have more flavour than this. In closing, yes, it is just a big wank.
Free or paid for?: I bought a whole six-pack of it. And will be trying to offload it on any houseguests who don’t know – or don’t care – about good beer.