SUDDENLY with less time free for reviewing beers, I need a bottle without much writing on it. Something that let’s me get straight to the point. And Jamaican Red Stripe looks like it.
This is a 330 millilitre bottle of Red Stripe beer, purchased at the much reduced price of 89 pence. Although it will probably be more than that elsewhere. It’s also available in cans, and has the honour of being the drink of choice for Oasis loudmouth, Noel Gallagher. What interests me most, is that it comes from the same brewer as the rather good Dragon Stout.
As only a small bottle, I think it has an unusual look. And unlike most other bottles, the label isn’t printed onto paper and glued on. This looks to have been painted directly onto the glass. Again adding to the unusual look.
Also on there is the reasonable 4.7% volume. This isn’t going to be a strong beer then. And that’s about all there is on the front of the bottle.
Over to the back of the bottle, and they’ve taken the approach of having a little information. But repeating it dozens of times in many different languages. The only bit of ‘story’ tells us that this beer has embodied the spirit, rhythm and pulse of Jamaican people for 75 years.
The small print tells us that this was brewed by Desnoes & Geddes Limited of Kingston, Jamaica. And that the ingredients are water, malted barley and hops.
And with that out of the way, we can get to the fun bit…
I chose a half-pint glass. Which isn’t big enough for the full 330 millilitres. So you might want a bigger glass. Out of the bottle, Red Stripe doesn’t have much head. The little there was, dissipated quickly. The colour is light gold and looks a lot like lager. The smell is quite hoppy. And quite good too. But again, sort of lagery.
And yes, it even tastes lager-ish. I know that you’re thinking, I don’t have a good reputation when it comes to identifying what is lager and what is ale. But I’m nearly completely sure in this case. And that’s because of the tastes, flavours and character of the drink.
The first taste that hits you is a sharp bitterness. But it’s fleeting. There’s not really any sour, hoppy aftertaste to speak of. Which is a good thing. It’s also light and refreshing. It would probably be a good choice on a hot, sunny day. It’s also very easy to drink, because of this.
The downsides are that it’s too light and lager-ish. It lacks real character and substance. There’s barely any flavour or taste to describe at all. I dare say that this is a watery drink. Even if I have been spoiled by some of the best ales in the land. That said, if you like lagers, you’ll probably get on well with Red Stripe.
To sum up Red Stripe then, I’d say that it provides good value, drinkable suds. If you want complex flavours look elsewhere. If you like straightforward, refreshing lager-style beer, you’ll like it. I, however, don’t. Therefore…
I’m 100% certain that someone out there will completely disagree. If you are that person, leave a comment below and tell the world what you thought of Red Stripe.
In fact, leave a comment whatever your thoughts on this one.
And also to leave any other ideas or suggestions of your own.