When it comes to the lovely wet stuff, over in Beer Monkey Mansions, we are always keen to try something new or different. Much more so if that means challenging our assumptions, questioning our beliefs and pushing the boundaries of our own beery understanding.
We are also forgiving souls, always willing to give people and things the benefit of the doubt, a second chance and to try to see things from their point of view. Indeed, we subscribe to the notion that in order to fully experience another perspective we not only have to walk a mile in another's shoes but also see things through their eyes.
Confession time. I used to drink and rather enjoy multinational, stack 'em high, sell 'em cheap cooking lager. Is it not what we all drank growing up? It was, round my way. I started off my drinking 'career' downing Tennent's, McEwans and even Kestrel Lager with my mates before heading out. If we were really lucky and were flush then our beer bag would contain Colt 45 and Breaker Malt Liquor.
During my clubbing days and trying to look cool, I'd often be propping up the bar with a can of Schlitz or Red Stripe in my hand. Or, maybe the bar was propping me up. It was a long time ago.
So in an attempt to recapture those heady days of when the quality of a pint was measured by the amount of bubbles and the size of the head; and the excellence of an evening was measured by how many you sank and how little you remembered, I've decided to go back, way back and with no expense spared (well, £2.84 actually), to jump feet first into the shallow end of the beer spectrum and revisit some old friends that used to keep me company during my formative drinking days of my late teens and early twenties and give them a second opportunity to win me over and regain a place in my beer soaked heart.
Coming home tonight with me for a proper slurping are the beer behemoths of Tennents, Skol and Carling and to tell you the truth, I'm quite looking forward to it.
First up into the glass is some Skol. It pours a golden colour with a soft white head that shrinks to nothing very quickly. A quick swirl and all I can smell is a faint tin aroma and not much else. It's cold, wet and fizzy and has a very thin mouthfeel. Not much in the way of clear, discernable taste although there is a tinge of grain. I took another sip no more than a few minutes after the initial pour and it was dull, lifeless and lacking in any of it's initial carbonation.
On the can, it says that it is brewed using only the finest ingredients yet carelessly forgets to list them anywhere. It also describes itself as light and refreshing quality lager. I describe myself a handsome, charismatic, square jawed Adonis. Self description is an easy game and usually doesn't stand up too well to the scrutiny of others. Except in my case, naturally.
It left a nasty, lingering artificial aftertaste and wasn't pleasant. My initial enthusiasm was beginning to look a little misplaced.
Glasgow's own, Tennents was up next and it's been a while since I have had a can of this. It poured golden and had a strong head that, along with the carbonation, maintained itself moderately well. It had a malty, grassy and strawish taste that is sweet and sticky on the lips and mouth. It had some dry bitterish finish that would indicate that some hops had been close by when this was being brewed. Possibly, in a store next door. It was okay in a bland and inoffensive kind of way.
I had intended to open up the Carling but, after sampling the first two, I decided to leave it for another day or until I've got a visitor in need of a thirst quenching fizzy brew provided they're not that fussy.
What have I learned from this experience? Not a lot that I didn't know already. Comparing mass market multinational cooking lager to find out which one is the best is a bit like comparing serial killers or dictators. You can do it but, like the lagers, it's a pretty tasteless activity.