Barneys Brew

Hilden: Barney’s Brew (Ireland: Golden Ale: 5% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow. Thin off white head.

Nose: Ginger. Sausage bap and fried caramelised onions. Flour dust. Brown sauce.

Body: Sausage. Light lemon. Brown sauce. Caramelised onion. Ginger. Coriander. Wheat

Finish: Sausage sandwich. Wheat. Sour lime. Pepper.

Conclusion: This has to be psychosomatic. Seriously. It is subtitled Belgium Bap Beer, and when I read that it brought to mind all those delicious breakfast baps that got me through early morning lectures at university. So I smiled at the memory, broke open the beer bottle and…

Sausage sandwich bap aroma. Seriously. Suddenly I was bloody hungry. Admittedly it was 9pm and I hadn’t eaten yet, which is the more rational explanation, but seriously!

Anyway, sausage, a touch in the body and then seriously back again. Anyway, thought I’d best fill you in as I’m fairly sure those call to memories had a serious impact in how I perceived the beer. Looking at the back of the bottle and the ingredients now I think I have it worked out. There’s a lot of different spices used, which lots of good quality sausages are shoved full of, which when combined with that odd texture that reminded me of the slightly oily sausage skin could go a long way to explaining the way it came out. But still, mind link or no the flavours are there, and with it the slight tartness becomes brown sauce in my mind. I can’t help it, all these things are linked in my mind now.

Anyway, I think I’ve harped on about that long enough; it’s far from the whole of the beer. There is a slight lemon character in the background, not unusual for a beer made with wheat. The spice, another wheat beer favourite, really has free reign here though. Despite that it is not what I would expect from a wheat beer, hence why I was happy going with rate beers descriptor of golden ale. There is some lemon yes, some sour lime, and yes wheat, and as mentioned hell yes there is spice. However this all combines to an odd, slightly doughy, slightly meaty and quite fresh beer.

It is probably technically not a good beer. The elements fascinate rather than are enjoyed, but I was fascinated by it. Will I return to it? Hell no, a sausage sandwich beer sounds better than it tastes. Glad I did try it though. Looking at other reviews I am wondering if mine was unusually tart, possibly from a very minor yeast infection, as no one else reported that. If so maybe I had a unique experience with this one. Again, if so I’m glad it did. I love the weird life that brings me oddities like this. Not a great beer, but odd as hell.

Background: Last of the beers I picked up during Sainsbury’s new beer festival. This one looked a bit interesting and was grabbed on a whim. Drunk while listening to some chilled out Ulver and was drunk to celebrate completing a 5 star run on Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams. Yes I am a geek. I was tempted to put this under wheat ale as it was made with wheat grist. Also contains cardamom, coriander and black pepper. It is subtitled “Belfast Bap Wheat Beer” which I’m sure put me in the psychological mind for half the tasting notes.