I had a phone call the other day from my mate. He was in a farm shop and was looking at the bottled beers they had for sale. ‘They’ve got one here,’ he said, ‘Garlic Beer.’ Garlic Beer? Garlic?… Beer? I suddenly understood how Peter Kay’s character felt when he first encountered garlic bread. ‘It’s got to be done, hasn’t it?’ my mate asked. ‘Definitely,’ I agreed.
And so it came to pass that on an evening not too long after the aforementioned telephone call, we sat down to sample the Garlic Beer. It’s brewed by Yates’ Brewery on the Isle of Wight (not to be confused with Yates Brewery in Cumbria). The beer is bottle conditioned and pours slightly cloudy. The ABV is 4.1% and if I remember rightly, it was orange in colour, but none of that really matters.
‘Before I pour it out, just have a sniff,’ he says to me, handing over a pint pot with a small puddle in the bottom of it. I have a sniff. WHA…? JEEEEEEEZ….! URGH! PHEEEUW! The smell stabbed up my nostrils like flaming lances, singeing the nose hairs on its way in. Take the smell of garlic and concentrate it 1000 times. That gives a hint of what this smells like. It’s a physical sensation.
I didn’t want to, but I felt that I had to. I took a tiny sip. Now I like garlic, I really do. Love it. But pure concentrated garlic juice? No. Seriously, if I had drunk any more of this it would have made me ill. There is no hint of beer about this at all. It’s pure garlic. It is indescribably foul.
As the contents of the bottle went down the sink, a huge clove of garlic, which had been sitting at the bottom of the bottle like an evil, toxic slug, got stuck in the neck, and it took some digging to get it out.
Garlic Beer. I’ve tasted it. It’s not the future.
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