How Bad Can It Be…? Fagerhult

It turns out that Kopparberg, Swedish purveyors of apple and pear flavoured sugar water, also make beer. It can’t be that bad though, can it…?

Unfortunately, if you fancy trying this, you’ve got to buy a four pack. Currently on sale in your nearest Tesco for a fiver, it doesn’t look like there’s the opportunity to buy just the one. Which is a shame, as once you tasted it, you’re then stuck with another three cans of utter shite that you wont want to touch with a barge pole.

It didn’t smell to bad, which is probably the nicest thing I can say about it. The initial flavour and mouthfeel weren’t the greatest, but pretty par for the course for a macro lager. It then all went to hell in a handbasket, with what my wife described as an off wheat flavour, before finishing so sweet, you’d think you’d just been sucking on a sugar cube.

I thought it was absolutely, totally and utterly dire. It has no redeeming features at all and you should avoid it like the plague. If you do buy some though, then as my wife also commented, you could at least use the remaining three cans to make shandy with; presumably for someone you hate…

How Bad Can It Be…? Canadian Cherrywood Finish

I was given this be the kids for Fathers Day, they picked it as it’s Scottish. I hadn’t quite got round to educating them as to why one doesn’t by any beer from Innis & Gunn, so it languished at the back of the fridge for months.

I was originally going to just pour it down the sink, but it couldn’t be that bad though, could it…? Surely they’ve finally managed to get round to having a beer contract brewed for them, that doesn’t tasted like melted vanilla flavoured butter? There was only one way to find out, mainly as there was no other beer in the fridge to drink instead.

I’ll be generous and say it was much better than I was expecting, I still wouldn’t hand over any of my own money to buy one though. At least it didn’t taste of vanilla butter, which is an improvement as far as I’m concerned. Everyone has now been educated as to why I don’t drink beer from Inns & Gunn and I’m hopeful that next year, the kids will pick a beer from a Scottish brewery that I’d actually like to drink…

How Bad Can It Be…? Talon Imperial Stout

I picked up this Elgoods Quintessentially English Talon Imperial Stout in the garden centre, when I picked their Q.E. Cherry Wheat Beer. I’d been warned that it wasn’t very good via a Twitter DM, but Shirley third time lucky…?

It poured a deep, dark, mahogany tinged black, with a fluffy tan colored head. The head didn’t last, dropping to pretty much nothing after a few minutes or so. The nose was all bitter chocolate and roasted coffee and was pretty pleasant.

While it felt quite full bodied in the mouth, it also felt a touch on the light side for what is labelled an Imperial Stout. The flavours weren’t as clear cut as the aromas, with little chocolate or coffee in evidence, although there was a decent level of bitterness. There was also a slight sharpness to it, with maybe a hint of sourness, although not unpleasant, it was unexpected. It was really drying though, with the aftertaste having a bit of a manky quality about it, that really wasn’t that nice at all.

I’m probably being a little critical here, but if you’re going to call your beer Talon and stick a picture of an eagle on the label, then maybe the contents of the bottle should reflect the branding? A talon is a sharp claw used primarily for hunting and we all know that big birds like Golden Eagles can carry off lambs to their eyrie and what not. What I’m getting at, is that a talon is generally found on something big and powerful, this beer is neither big nor powerful.

While it wasn’t the worst beer I’ve ever had, it wasn’t exactly the greatest either. I’m not sure if that sharpness was intentional, or just a result of bad storage at the garden centre, either way, I’ll not be rushing out to buy another bottle to find out.

How Bad Can It Be…? Q.E. Cherry Wheat Beer

Last week I found myself in the same garden centre where I purchased the Elgoods Q.E. Apple & Vanilla Wheat Beer last year. After thinking that was an abomination, I had reservations about buying the Q.E. Cherry Wheat Beer which they also had on their shelves.

Since I’ll try anything once and Glyn said he liked it, I thought I had to give it a try. It poured a deep cherry red, with a shocking pink coloured head that didn’t last. The nose was all cherry, think of opening a can of those cherries you’d put on a 1980’s Black Forest gâteau and you’re in the ballpark.

In the mouth it didn’t really taste of beer at all, it was more of an overly sweet, fizzy cherry squash. If you liquidised the afore mentioned can of black cherries, I’m sure they was taste exactly like this did, except not as sweet. Did I mention it was sweet yet? As it started sweet and just got sweeter and sweeter.

It wasn’t nearly as bad as the Q.E. Apple & Vanilla Wheat Beer though and was crying out to be mixed with something else. I don’t know how sour their Coolship Lambic is, but I imagine that a mix of those two might work. It’s either that kind of thing, or a large chocolate stout that can dull the sweetness. As on its own, unless you like your beer so sweet it takes the enamel off your teeth, it’s really not that great.

How Bad Can It Be…? Blue Moon

We had some friends round for dinner the other weekend, they brought some beer with them. It could have been worse, they might have brought a six pack of Bud Light…

I’ve never had Blue Moon before, it’s just never really appealed. I’ve read a lot about it online and in books like Brewing With Wheat though, it’s quite a divisive beer. But is it any good…? Shirley that should be the only criteria for judging a beer, it shouldn’t really matter who brews it.

Since we had a six pack taking up space in the fridge, I thought it was about time I broke my Blue Moon cherry, so to speak, and try one, or two. As you can see from the photo, I did add the requisite slice of orange, when in Rome and all that.

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t to my tastes either, being a bit too spice forward and a bit lacking in everything else. The slice of orange was almost overpowering, I like my Belgian Wit beers to be light and refreshing, this just felt like coriander heavy, wishy, washy, overly orange flavoured generic beer.

While I didn’t think much of it, if it was the only thing available, I’m sure I could choke a few down. The rest of the six pack isn’t going to waste though, as my wife has taken a liking to it, silver linings and all that…

How Bad Can It Be…? Saigon Export

Sabeco Saigon Export

I’ll admit that I thought Saigon Export was going to be absolutely terrible, a proper sex in a punt beer. I was pleasantly surprised though.

It poured a pin bright golden colour, with a lovely fluffy white head. The head didn’t last, dropping fairly quickly, before all but disappearing after a couple of minutes. I really didn’t get much at all on the nose, even with my hands cupped over the glass and taking in a lung full. There was maybe the merest hint that the beer had been shown a hop, a fleeting wisp of grassiness amongst some vague, vague, sweet malt notes.

The initial taste wasn’t as bad as I’d feared it was going to be. I was expecting it to be cloyingly sweet from beginning to end, with pretty much zero bitterness. Instead, it was initially quite refreshing, with a tickle of bitterness riding on a wave of carbonation, that swept round the mouth, before sweet, slightly orangey flavours took over and swept down into a slightly flabby after taste.

It didn’t feel particularly full bodied, but at the same time, it wasn’t totally wishy washy, although the aforementioned flabby aftertaste was a tad on the watery side. I was also surprised at the sweetness, it didn’t grow as much as I thought it would. I’m not saying it wasn’t sweet, nor that it didn’t get sweeter, it’s just that it wasn’t and didn’t get as sweet as I was expecting. It was, shock, horror, quite easy drinking and refreshing; although I doubt I’ll be rushing out to buy more.

To be honest I was quite surprised by this, I’d already written it off in my mind, but it wasn’t actually that bad. Imagine for a moment that you’re Leonardo DiCaprio chasing after Virginie Ledoyen on one of Koh Phi Phi’s beaches, I can imagine that once you’d frolicked in the sea for a bit, a really cold one of these would be the perfect thirst quencher. It would probably work very well with a barbeque on a hot and balmy summers evening in this country too…

How Bad Can It Be…? Q.E. Apple & Vanilla Wheat Beer

Elgoods Q.E. Apple & Vanilla Wheat Beer

An Apple & Vanilla Wheat Beer you say…? I’d be lying if I said that I thought it was going to be any good, but I’ll try anything once.

My Dad has a thing for cacti, so when my parents were visiting over Christmas, I took him to a local garden centre so he could expand his collection. On the way to the checkout, I decided to pursue their trivial local(ish) beer selection and spotted this bottle from Elgoods. You couldn’t tell it was from Elgoods when it was sitting on the shelf though, as the branding was completely different from all their other stuff; it was only upon reading the back label, that it became clear who’d brewed it.

It poured a pin bright golden yellow, with a fluffy white head. The head was one of those that struggled to get going and never really reached the size it should have got to, it also dropped to a ring round the edge of the glass fairly sharpish. On the nose, it was all apple flavoured Chewits; think Appletiser and you’re on the right track.

The apple was right upfront and personal in the mouth too, rolling around before eventually letting a few other flavours reveal themselves. I’m not sure about the vanilla, it might have been there, it might not; maybe a hint at the start of the aftertaste, but really faint. I did get quite a bit of wheat character, but it was a bit dusty and didn’t sit particularly well with all that apple.

  • RateBeer Elgoods
  • Q.E. Apple & Vanilla Wheat Beer, 4%, 330ml

I didn’t quite know what to make of this beer, I couldn’t decide between it being not my thing or it being an utter, utter abomination; I’m tending to the later though. In the vast, vast majority of cases, I’d rather my beer tasted of malt and hops, not of apple flavoured Chewits. To be honest, I’m really glad that I didn’t buy this myself, I slipped it amongst my Dad’s cacti and got him to pay for it, as I’d have been a bit annoyed if I had.

How Bad Can It Be…? Caribbean Lager

Bank's Caribbean Lager

This is another one that should have been posted before I went on holiday. I’m not sure how accurate this review will be, as I’ve pretty much expunged all memory of this beer. Listening to my audio notes to refresh my memory was painful, which is pretty much all the review you should really need, but if you insist…

It poured a yellowish golden colour, with a loose white head. My initial thought was that it smelt of corn, but I ended up thinking it was just general grainy notes, rather than anything in particular. It might also have been shown a hop (singular), but no more than that. It was quite effervescent in the mouth, and pretty bland, with no real malt or hop character. It felt vaguely fresh to start with and finished with a bit of a sweet aftertaste, but that was about it.

Absolutely no redeeming features at all. The effervescence just washed any initial flavour from the mouth and left nothing but a vague carbonic taste to go with the sweetness. Save your pennies for something else, as this is pretty dire.

How Bad Can It Be…? Tsingtao


I meant to write this up before I went on holiday at the start of August, I should have got my finger out as it wouldn’t have taken very long. It poured the colour of a jaundiced man and didn’t look particularly appetising. The loose white head dropped to a patchy covering fairly sharpish. On the nose, there was the faintest whiff of hops, like the breath of a dying man.

While it felt fairly full bodied in the mouth, it also felt wishy washy and watery (I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it didn’t feel thin). Mainly thought, it was just bland, bland, bland, bland and more bland. For me, it has no redeeming features and is basically a waste of your money. If however, you like tasteless inoffensive beer, then it’ll probably be right up your street.

How Bad Can It Be…? Chang

ThaiBev Chang Beer

Poured a proper golden yellow, with a compact white head. The head didn’t last, dropping to a thin covering almost immediately and then dissipating promptly thereafter. The nose was sweet, with very little hop aroma. There was some initially, but once it was in the glass, it disappeared pretty sharpish.

It was sweet in the mouth, with just a hint of bitterness. The taste was mainly of a cereal nature, with hints of orange marmalade. The bitterness wasn’t enough to keep the sweetness in check and it got sweeter and sweeter with every mouthful. It also developed a slightly grainy taste the further through the bottle I got, which wasn’t so nice.

It’s not the worst beer I’ve ever had, not by a long way, but it’s not particularly to my taste either. I really wanted to hate it, but apart from the cloying sweetness, it wasn’t actually that bad. I can imagine that some people might find it quite refreshing as an afternoon tipple of a hot and steamy Thai* beach somewhere, but it’s not for me…

* But then, they’d be drinking the 6.4% version that is brewed with rice. Hadly the same stuff…