Archive for June 2nd, 2008

Beer Review: Sol

2 June, 2008

I feel like seeing what beers the Latin world has to offer. So, over the next few days, if it’s not from a hot, emotional, Catholic country, I’m not interested. So where better to start than with Sol. This Mexican offering has been advertised heavily on posters recently. Let’s see what it’s all about.

Sol bottle

I like the look of this bottle. It’s tall and slim, just like me. And the clear glass shows off the bright yellow liquid within. My knowledge of the Spanish language might be rusty, but I know enough Latin to guess that “Sol” means “sun”. And this bottle looks sunny.

Without a neck label to speak of, we head straight for the main front label.

Sol front label

With a transparent background filled, mostly, with white and red, Sol stays looking original and sunny. Not least because everything on there revolves around a big, stylised picture of the sun. It proudly displays the words “Imported Beer” at the top of the label. And there is some Spanish, which I think translates to “beer” and “since 1899″.

At the bottom of the label, there is what looks like medals. But they’re so small, I can’t make out what they say. Also toward the bottom of the label, amongst some Spanish small print is more pride in its Mexican origin. I could well be wrong here, but it looks like the company behind Sol is a brewer by the concise name of Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma. If you can shed some light on Sol’s origins and reputation in it’s homeland, do please leave a message at the end of this post.

Lastly, we find some important little small-print details hidden away in a corner of the label. That this is a 33 centilitre bottle. And that is has an alcoholic volume of 4.5%. This isn’t going to be terribly strong then.

Over on the back, and because this is imported, it has very little information. But repeated in half a dozen different languages.

Sol back label

Interestingly for an imported beer, they have given us the UK units of alcohol. Which, if you’re interested, is a paltry 1.5 units for this little bottle.

This bottle was imported to the UK by Coors Brewers Limited. They have a consumer helpline number. A website at www.sol-beer.co.uk. And, unsurprisingly for a beer, it contains malted barley. And that is everything worth mentioning on this bottle. Now time to see if Sol is a hot summer’s day or a bank holiday Monday of a beer.

Sol poured into a glass

Thanks to the transparent glass, the colour won’t surprise you. In the glass, it looks fizzy. And there is one of the most consistent and manageable heads I’ve seen in a very long time. No clusters of vanishing bubbles. This is a consistent layer of foam. Very nice.

And it smells like beer. After so many awful lagers recently, it’s great to smell something vaguely beer-like again. It may be somewhat generic in its beer-ness, but it has that familiar, welcoming blend of malted barley and hops to greet your nostrils.

A shame then that the taste is a let down. It may not be a lager, but it doesn’t taste much better than one. The blend of ingredients leaves a horrible, and lingering bitterness and sourness in your mouth. At this point, I usually reel of a list of the flavours I can taste. But in Sol’s case, that’s impossible because I’m wincing from the horrible unpalatable, and lingering blend of bitterness and sourness.

In its favour, it’s not particularly gassy. It smells right. The blend of tastes and flavours are unlike any, from any other beer I’ve sampled. So you could call it full of character and distinctiveness. And it comes in a very nice bottle.

I wanted to like Sol. I truly wanted, and expected, to enjoy a fine quality, if largely generic beer. So it’s with considerable regret that I cannot recommend it. More than that. This is one of the worse beers and biggest disappointments I’ve tried. It makes Latin American economic policy look successful in comparison.

Rating: 1.3

Have you tried Sol? Did you find it as revolting as I did? Is there anyone who likes it?
Corrections, opinions, thoughts, ideas and suggestions here please. Check back soon for more.


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