3.3AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: SEP 30, 2012 I’ve never quite understood the appeal of generic lagers, but obviously there must be something about this type of beer since it’s brewed around the world and most have the same general taste. In the United States we have Budweiser, Miller and Coors, but in Ireland they have Harp - from the brewers of Guinness. It’s too bad it’s not nearly as good as its bigger brother, but it’s definitely better than its American cousins.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
Harp pours fairly smoothly to a dark gold, highly carbonated, crystal clear complexion. It forms a bright white, small, foamy head which lingers for quite a while and leaves some lacing on the glass.
The aroma is generic for a beer of the type, although slightly more hoppy than an American lager. It’s at least slightly more appeasing than other mass market lagers.
I hate reviewing lagers like Harp because there’s so little to discuss when it comes to taste. At least with craft beers and niche styles I can mention tasting specific ingredients, but how do I analyze a beer’s taste in detail when it’s so standard?
There is a little more distinctive taste of hops here, but only by a small margin. And there doesn’t seem to be any presence of adjunct ingredients such a rice or corn. So Harp is definitely a more finely crafted beer in the most technical of terms.
What makes Harp slightly superior to others of the type is its clean finish. There is very little bite or abrasion, so the beer is quite easy to drink. The high carbonation factor does give it a bit of a fizzy feeling as it goes down, but this is a beer that’s meant to be drunk cold and quickly so the average drinker likely won’t notice this and/or won’t be bothered by it.
What’s strange about Harp is that for such an otherwise light lager it’s surprisingly heavy in body. I would chalk this up to its carbonation than anything else. It’s a beer that, although is easy to drink, really leaves an impact because of its gassy content (in other words – gas in leads to gas out).
Harp is low in alcohol at only 4.6% ABV and is fairly lean at 142 calories, which makes it only slightly heavier than a light beer. I’d recommend it as an alternative to an American light brewski, but for those who like a higher-quality lager will likely be underwhelmed.