Experiments In Drinking: Cherry Baby Lager

Exploring an impressively fruity beer that is exclusively available in Aldi.

The fruit beer has a long and noble history that belies any suggestion of novelty or gimmick – and in a world where respected craft brewers can offer up three-course meals in beer format, we should hardly be raising our eyebrows at the prospect of a cherry lager. That said, it’s not hard to suspect that the space between a classic lambic and Cherry Baby lager from Aldi might be quite a large one.

Now, never let it be said that we at The Reprobate are beer snobs. There is nothing that gives us more pleasure than a Lidl or Aldi beer promotion where solid, decent and sometimes quite magnificent ales from brewers who you have never heard of appear at reasonable prices. But in truth, it is a hit and miss affair (as, indeed, is the sampling of much costlier craft beers from fancier outlets it should be noted). The bad can be very bad.

With that in mind, let’s first take a look at Cherry Baby. From Scottish brewery Williams Bros (who have also brewed some rather fantastic beers that I’d previously bought from Lidl), it comes in a lurid pink 440ml can and clocks in at 4.8%, which is respectable rather than remarkable – though frankly, by mainstream lager standards in the UK, it’s strong stuff. Anyway, at £1.29 a can, it certainly feels like a bargain and in truth, my ambitions were not excessive for the drink – I wasn’t exactly expecting it to tear my head off and as long as it tasted better than a can of Carling, I was not going to be too picky.

It pours a pinky colour with a quickly-diminishing head and at the first sniff, it definitely has a distinct cherry aroma – this itself is a step up from the strawberry lager that I’d also sampled from Aldi. A quick swig and yes, you can taste the cherry immediately. This is unfortunate if you don’t like cherry, but for those of us who count it as the fruit of the gods, it’s a good thing. You might consider it to be the minimum requirement for a fruit beer, but believe me, I’ve had plenty where it seemed as though the fruit was on no more than a nodding acquaintance with the drink.

The cherry flavour takes the edge off the lager sharpness and that, for me, was another plus point – lager can be a nasty affair that feels more like a punishment than a pleasure, but this is very drinkable indeed. It’s more sweet than bitter, with little gassiness –  and I rather like that. It barely feels like a lager at all, to be honest.

In fact, the drink seems rather nicer as you go on and by the time I finished it, I rather fancied another. Once again, the obscure beers of Aldi – and, for that matter, the brewers at Williams Bros – have come through and I’d certainly suggest that fans of fruit beers overcome any hesitation or suspicion of the price and stockist and give this a go.

DAVID FLINT

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