WHAT do you normally do when you feel like having a high quality bottle of ale? If you’re like me, what you actually end up with is a can of Polish lager. That’s right, I’ve done it again. This time, from a Polish shop on Cambridge Heath Road in Bethnal Green.
What can I say about the front? Well, at the top it says “Premium Quality”. But as we know, that doesn’t mean much. The roundel looks bold an interesting. There’s a picture of a ship. Which must mean something good. There are some medals at the bottom of the roundel. But I don’t think they are real medals. Below them, we learn that this has been going “Since 1948”. Which is a respectable run.
Also into the roundel are the Polish words “Browar Szszecin”. Which could be the name of the brewer. Once again, if anyone can translate or provide pronunciations, do please leave a comment at the end of the post. I for one would love to know how you’re supposed to pronounce Szszecin.
Around the can on the side that doesn’t have a barcode are some words and symbols.
The symbol is familiar enough. That’s the anti-drink drive symbol you find on all Polish drinks. But the words “Od Lat Ten Sam Wyjątkowy Smak” are beyond me. “Smak” rings a bell from other cans and bottles, but translators, here is your chance to shine.
Over on the side of the can with the barcode are a few more bits and pieces.
One of which is an information telephone line number. Another is that this is the usual 500ml size of can. Much of the rest is in Polish, but I’m going to give it a go anyway. I think it’s telling us that it has an alcoholic volume of 5.7%. Which is high. But thankfully lower than the universally revolting “Mocne” lagers.
A little further along is a word that I think is “pasteurised”. Under a line of writing that I can’t make head nor tail of are some familiar names. It transpires that this is another Polish beer produced by Carlsberg Polska. And that is comes from Warszawa. Or, as we call it, Warsaw.
There’s a web address too, which is www.bosman.pl. It all looked lovely when I visited. At least the half which I could see did. That’s because my screen resolution was too low to get any further. Which left me stranded at the front page, unable to get any further. Some tweaking of settings, and I’m in. It’s another Flash heavy corporate website with annoying background sound effects. There didn’t seem to be an English language version either.
Never mind, that final detail rounds the description part of this review off. There really is barely anything to say about the exterior of this can. Time now to sample the contents within. As a reminder, Perła and Leżajsk set the standard as my favourite Polish beers so far. The big name Tyskie, Żywiec, Okocim, Żubr and Lech were all adequate and all the “Mocne” ones were outrageously bad. Let’s see how Bosman Full compares.
Pouring is drama free. There’s no insane head to contend with. Everything looks good so far. It has a deep amber colour and a head. Albeit a rather inconsistent one.
How does it smell? It smells fresh and a bit lagery. Maybe it’s because of today’s warm weather, but I like it. Most lagers have some take on the malted barley mixture in their smell. This one is as richly malty as any lager I’ve sniffed. It deserves brownie points for that.
What does it taste like? A couple of gulps in, and I like it. It has a good, honest flavour of malted barley. Not a strong one. And it’s far from sophisticated or complex. But it is modestly pleasant. That down to earth flavour is replaced by the gentlest of bitter aftertastes. It lingers for a while. And if you piled on the pints of this stuff, it would make your mouth start to feel unpleasant. But it’s much lighter than lots of others, and the bitterness won’t bother even the squeamish drinkers out there.
So what am I enjoying about Bosman Full? In short, a surprising amount. It’s light, fresh and crisp. At least mine is after it spent the day in the fridge. It has a light, down to earth, generic beer flavour. Which, if you just want a cold beer, hits the spot nicely. It also doesn’t seem to be a Pilsner style lager. I thought it would be, and that it would be terrible. But is just isn’t. There’s no foul, lagery “bite”. It has a teeny bit of flavour. It’s smooth and not gassy at all. If, like me, you like beer and don’t much care for yet another boring lager, this is one to add to your shopping list.
What aren’t I enjoying about Bosman Full? If you’re going to compare it against European beers and British ales, it won’t match them for flavour. Nor will it match them for distinctiveness, character and complexity. It is a generic, boring, ordinary beer. If it were a haircut, it would be a side parting. It’s also hard to find in the UK, although that’s been changing.
How can I sum up Bosman Full? It’s considerably better than I expected. It’s much better than most Polish beers I’ve tried. Is it better than Perła and Leżajsk? I’d say it’s about even with them. Or just a notch below. It’s a bit like Bangla Premium Beer too by being a good all-rounder beer. If you like lager and you like it Pilsner style, you might not like Bosman Full. If you like interesting and unusual beers, ales and stouts, Bosman Full could be too boring for you. If you just want a good, ordinary beer, Bosman Full fits the bill nicely. Just drink it before it reaches room temperature. Mine has just warmed up and tastes worse for it.
Lastly, I’ll keep a look out for Bosman Full in bottle form. Expect a quick update at the bottom of this post with photos if I find one.
Have you tried Bosman Full? What did you think of it?
Do please leave in the comments below your corrections, opinions, thoughts, requests, recommendations and places to buy this stuff overseas.