It would have been difficult to miss the Independent Liquor’s ‘Chosen One’ campaign. Large newspaper ads and a heavily promoted website invite beer drinkers to register as one of 999 lucky beer fans who get to choose Independent’s new craft lager.
Just for the record, I didn’t register. The sample pack arrived unsolicited, with a covering letter telling me “we have for you a Boundary Road Brewery tasting pack so you can pass judgement on our beers and let us know the brew you think should go on sale as The Chosen One.”
Some beer fans have been cynical about the campaign, but, as I wrote when I received the sample, any exercise that gets people thinking about beers, and acknowledges drinkers can discriminate between them, is OK with me.
There’s no point in simply ranking the three beers against each other – I wanted to know how they rated against other beers of the same style. So I organised a blind tasting with fellow beer blogger Phil Cook and included three other lagers in the tasting.
Our six test beers included other Boundary Road Brewery products and one craft lager:
Boundary Road Chosen One batch A
Boundary Road Chosen One batch B
Boundary Road Chosen One batch C
Boundary Road NZ Pure Lager
Boundary Road Ranfurly Frontier Lager
Mussel Inn Golden Goose Lager
One beer was easily our preferred lager and was far above the others. All other five beers showed serious flaws. The flaws include oxidation, diacetyl and acetylaldehyde, and it was difficult to distinguish any real preference between these five.
Our blind rankings were:
1st Mussel Inn Golden Goose Lager
Slight haze; dry, grassy aroma; balance of malt and hops with malt sweetness in aftertaste; rich mouthfeel for a lager. A clear preference in this group.
2nd Boundary Road NZ Pure Lager
Clear appearance with white head; malty nose with hint of diacetyl; toasty malt tending towards NZ Draught flavours, some acetlyaldehyde; thin mouthfeel.
3rd Boundary Road Chosen One batch B
Clear, white head with good retention; some sulphur on nose; flavour of sugary sweetness overlying acetlyaldehyde.
4th Boundary Road Chosen One batch A
Clear, while head; solventy, vegetal aroma; flavour thin and metallic; watery mouthfeel with coarse carbonation.
5th Boundary Road Chosen One batch C
Clear, white head; Unpleasant fumy, sulphurous aroma; flavour oxidised, thin, sour.
6th Boundary Road Ranfurly Frontier Lager
Golden yellow, white head; aroma of sulphur and damp newsprint; flavour thin and sour with low carbonation.
So there it is – of the three Chosen One samples, batch B was our preference. But that beer rated third out of six, and was beaten by Independent Liquor’s own NZ Pure Lager. None of the Chosen One samples was much good and I believe you will be able to get better value for your money when the chosen beer is launched in August.
Independent Liquor refers to The Chosen One campaign as “launching our new craft range”. It will be disappointing if beer buyers taste any of The Chosen One products I tasted and think they are representative of craft beer. The samples I was given showed fundamental flaws of the kind I experience when judging home brews.
Anyone who pays good money for The Chosen One will come away thinking craft beer is nasty stuff that gives a mean hangover, and the overall craft industry could suffer from this false impression.
Originally posted on NZBeerBlog.com