here about the new launch from InBev Stella Black.
Whilst I agree with a lot of his points, most especially naming a lager 'black' and it being golden when the UK market has gotten used to the concept of dark lagers, I wanted to get more information about the beer itself before I wrote anything.
The reason for this being is that I promised myself earlier this year that I wasn't going to knee-jerk react to products just because they came from camps whose actions I've disapproved of in the past.
Anyway, my pathetic personal angst aside, the first point I find interesting is it's stated as being a full grain mash. Now, there have been a lot of allegations (whether or true or false I've never been able to get an answer officially) that a lot of syrups are used in the production of mainstream Stella, so to hear Black is a full grain mash is certainly a great step forward if the aforementioned allegations are true.
The grain bill, if you're interested, is malted barley, raw barley and maize - don't know what the hops are but I'm taking a punt they are Saaz, as that's what's used in the original - and provided they haven't gone overboard with the maize it could be a good start.
Then, and here is something I was quite pleasantly surprised by, they informed me they are also using orange peel and coriander in the beer and apparently, according to ABInBev's press office, I'm the only person to know this at the moment because I'm the only person who's asked! How depressing is that?!
Now, please don't think this is me bigging myself up but don't you think this is a question that should have been asked by others by now?! (I'm not including Pete on this BTW, he was commenting on how he thinks the beer's market position falls between two stools and I think he's right given the brand's 4.8% ABV, Stella 4 & its other 4-something per cent stable mates like Beck's Vier.)
However, I'm also totally exasperated that instead of using a whole world of pointless hyperbole - like calling it a 'premium plus' experience - they didn't focus on what makes it so different, which really is PR 101 and something that they really need to focus on communicating if they want to try and claw back some sort of credibility.
All that aside, however, I actually do want to try this because it does look like they've had a stab at creating a more complex drinking experience but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding and as they haven't yet confirmed where the limited number of outlets (500) are they are placing it yet, I will have to wait.
I completely appreciate that this is the kind of posting that's going to make me unpopular in some camps - apart from perhaps with Cooking Lager! - but, hell, what's new there?
So, a black day for mainstream lager or a ray of light? I'll let you know when I've managed to try some...