On haste

In honor of the beer critic Michael Jackson, who died last year, homebrewers were going to try to make one of his favorite beers, Cheswick Bitter Ale for National Homebrewers Month. This is all well and good, but I’ve never had the Cheswick, so I won’t really know if I’ve made the right beer or not. (I’ve also had to substitute ingredients, but one makes do.)

Last night, I’m at Belmont Station with Fuz, looking for beer. We’ve been there awhile and I want to hurry up and pick something because we’re burning daylight, you know? I find a beer from the UK and think; ‘Ah-ha! I can try this, take notes, and then compare it to my beer!’ In my head, I’ve just bought the Cheswick Bitter.

So I buy this:Not what I thought 



Oh yeah. Very, very smart of me.


OK, so I fucked it up. But eh, it’s still beer, right? And it’s from the people who do Guinness, so it’s bound to be OK!

Well, no. Though this claims to be an Irish Ale, what this really is is mass produced, quite dull red. It tastes like soda water, with no real malt to back up the color or give any flavor. How the hell does one produce a red ale without any malt flavor?  Yet it has been done, and I can attest to it.

The one bonus is that I’d just finished a whole bunch of yardwork. Since this was more like water than beer, I felt pretty refreshed afterward, if a little foolish about my purchase. I guess I’ll just have to figure out my version of Cheswick Bitter on its own merits.

4 thoughts on “On haste”

  1. For some reason I thought you were after Gale’s Mild, which is also a Jackson pick. Fullers bought Gales so now they make that Mild, but it’s very hard to find. Finally tracked down a pub in Brentford that had it on, but when I went yesterday to try it he said he’d just replaced it with Rock Steady Mild, which was excellent.

    Anyway, the last place I saw Chiswick Bitter was at the Dove, where the service kind of sucked. I can probably find it elsewhere. I had some of that a while ago and I didn’t care for it– it was unmemorable to me so I couldn’t even tell you what it was like.

    I’ve never heard of Smithwicks. Weird!

  2. You aren’t missing out on anything, I assure you. I’d wager that Smithwicks is more a marketing thing from Guinness than anything else. “People will buy it, it’s from Ireland!”


    Bummer that you found the Chiswick so unmemorable. Hopefully the beer I’m making will be much more interesting.

  3. I didn’t question you; you said, “Chiswick,” thus I thought you knew what you were getting into. Not that I knew what you were getting into, but still.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.