Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Beerreview: World Market’s Winter 9-Pack

As I mentioned in my last post, we spent a little time as obedient American consumers last weekend; The end result was a veritable smorgasbord of impulse purchases. My buyer’s remorse is aflame over the Tobasco chocolate, however one purchase I don’t regret is the Winter  9-Pack. I’ll be reviewing a couple at a time over the next few weeks, so pick one up and drink along with me. 

The pack contains (in no particular order) Troegs Reckoning Porter, Troegs Mad Elf, Southern Tier Old Man Winter, Harpoon Warmer, Fuller’s London Pride, Woodchuck Winter, Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve, Rogue Mocha Porter, and Troegs Java Head. It really spans the full range of quality; London Pride is super terrible and Mad Elf is great.

World Market is such an eclectic store that it deserves a proper introduction (which should probably help explain the odd picks in their Winter 9-Pack.) It can probably be best described as the combination of the dominant traits of Trader Joes and Pier One. If you’ll excuse some retail math, breaking each store down into its component parts we get:

P = Vaguely Asian Themed Import Furniture and Home Décor
p = Candles
T = High Quality but extremely unusual chocolates, beer, and wine
t = Vitamins, Groceries, and Produce

The resulting combinations give us:

Pp = Pier One
Tt = Trader Joes
PT = World Market
pt = Hispanic Grocery Store
Pt = Permanent Flea Market
Tp = Fancy wine shop

Q.E.D., World Market is inevitable. This also completely explains why they stock Spotted Dick, Zen Calendars, and Chimay.

I like the save the best for last which means we’ll be starting with the two weakest offerings.

Fuller’s London Pride Pale Ale

Many beers marked “Premium” and “Outstanding” on the label disappoint. My expectations of this beer were further lowered due to the fact that this beer occupied the central “invisible” spot in the square configuration of nine beers. It was completely shrouded (like a freezing penguin.) They cut a little hole in the lid so the cap could be read in the store, but it ultimately felt like filler. From the label, this seemed more like Molson XXX than anything I’d want to drink. Bottoms up!

This beer tasted like beer. There’s no better way to describe it other than to say it’s utterly completely and redundantly generic. My wife tasted it and said she wouldn’t finish the bottle; it did meet two out of my three criteria though (cold and here, but not good) so I finished it. I checked (my favorite review site) and saw it ranked 1753/23607, which is astonishingly high. Maybe I had a bad bottle, or maybe people really do link price and taste. We’ll never know for sure.

Woodchuck Winter Hard Cider

With a creative name like “winter” I had no idea what to expect from this hard cider. Woodchuck pretty much tastes like apple soda, with some notable variations (pear, granny smith, amber, etc.) I used to drink this stuff in college along with Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi O, but I generally don’t like things this sweet or emasculating anymore.

Since hard cider is not beer, I’ll make this brief. Woodchuck Winter tasted like a slightly dryer version of their standard Amber. It was pretty good, like apple champagne but probably had enough sugar to kill ten dentists. If you have a sweet tooth and read a beer blog but don’t like beer, maybe this is for you.
Next week, we’ll try some better ones!

1 comment:

  1. Winter's here, winter's here! :)

    I feel that it's the BEST time of year for beer. That's just my opinion of course but I'm in love with this time of year. So many great beers coming out and you can enjoy so many more types of styles in this type of weather and environment than you can in say...105 degree weather.

    Ok, that side track aside, our Central Market's here in Dallas also sell the winter packs BUT a lot of the beers are different. It's pretty easy to see why though our laws here suck. :(

    Enjoy them!