Exploring the over-hyped pleasures of an orange and vanilla wit beer.
I’m always a sucker for a gimmicky beer, especially on a blisteringly hot summer day (we’re in summer now, right?) that has been spent wandering up and down the tourist-laden streets of Notting Hill. And so spotting a selection of what might uncharitably be called ‘novelty’ beers from Pressure Drop in the local Oddbins, I couldn’t resist giving one a go. And so I find myself drinking a Wallbanger and wondering where all the promised flavours actually are.
Wallbanger comes with a colourful, cartoonish label and the promise that it is a “blood orange and vanilla wit”. Why blood oranges are more important than regular ranges is unclear, and I can’t honestly say that range and vanilla are two flavours that I would immediately consider combining in any other circumstance, but I was nevertheless intrigued and mildly excited at the possibilities that this held.
Bottle-conditioned, it pours a cloudy, light orange colour – looking a little like watered down orange juice – and has a head that is minimalist to the point of non-existence. At first whiff, I thought I got a hint of orange, and so consulted Mrs Reprobate, who has the nose of a bloodhound. “It smells like beer”, was her reply. Oh well.
On tasting, there is a certain tartness and a hint of orange – not much, but there is certainly a fruity bitterness there. As a wit, it works pretty well – and I would be lying if I said that this didn’t hit the spot, though I’m not sure that any other pale beer wouldn’t have done likewise under current conditions. I couldn’t detect vanilla at all, I’m afraid.
Wallbanger isn’t at all unpleasant, but equally, it doesn’t stand out from the pack at all. The alleged flavour combination does feel a little like craft beer jumping the shark – or at least it would if the resulting beer matched the description. As it is, I wouldn’t object to drinking this again if offered to me, but I can’t see myself actively seeking it out.
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