I would be the first to admit that, for some unfathomable reason, the Brits cannot make lager properly. I don’t understand why one the world’s finest brewing nations (the Belgians beat us into second place, I’m afraid) can turn out the world’s finest real ales whilst producing some of the most miserable lagers available, even when we are using someone else’s recipe. Having said that, since I rarely go to a pub, I settled upon good ol’ Stella Artois as my canned brew of choice for home consumption. The stuff in the UK is brewed under license and is a pale shadow of the genuine Belgian article, since it has been brewed by the aforementioned lager-ruining country, but it was OK.
Recently, my erstwhile trusty Stellas didn’t seem so stallar; they just didn’t seem to be tasting as they should. I blamed my taste-buds. Wrong! A swift glance at the information emblazoned upon the side of the can revealed the problem: the alcohol content has been cut from 5.2% to 5.0%. My taste-buds are vindicated. A swift trawl of the Internet found a claim that Morlands had reduced their formerly excellent Old Speckled Hen from 5.2% to 4.5%, though I haven’t yet managed to verify this myself as yet.
All the media hype about 4% so-called beers (Artois Petersen, Becks Vier) seems to be affecting the real thing. Despite our media banging on misguidedly about so-called cheap alcohol, the price is going up while the alcohol content seems to be dropping. I’m used to the thieving bankers slashing my savings interest rate but now the blasted brewers are cutting the alcohol rate as well. Is this interference by the nanny state?
I wish we could buy the genuine Belgian products without resorting to a “booze-cruise”.