Now that Founders Week is over it's time for something completely different. This time we're drinking Tetley's English Ale - another low ABV beer in a nitrogen can from England. Much like its counterpart Boddington's, Tetley's is also based on an old recipe but now brewed by a huge international macro beer conglomerate. Would it be any different than Boddington's? Let' see....
3.2AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
I’m not an expert on the British beer and pub scene, but I do have several close acquaintances across the pond that give me the inside scoop on what’s happening there. They say it’s hard to be a craft beer enthusiast there because the average British beer drinker either likes mainstream fizzy yellow lagers or archaic, bland, low ABV pub ales like Tetley’s English Ale. I suppose if I had no choice I’d opt for a Tetley’s since it is highly drinkable and inoffensive. Still, as someone who appreciates flavor, this beer is lacking as much in that aspect as the fizzy yellow stuff - just less repulsive.
I poured 14.9oz nitrogen-charged can into a nonic pint glass.
Appearance: It does the nitrogen dance where the bubbles cascade from top to bottom and eventually stop exactly one inch from the top and form a bright white, creamy head. While it does retain very well, it doesn’t lace the glass as much nitro-can brews tend to do.
Smell: Typical British pub ale, only milder. Slight red apple and toasted white or wheat bread. Otherwise, not much to smell here.
Taste: I’ve experienced many genuine pub ales from the UK and, while I hate to paint with a broad brush, there definitely is a uniformity to their palates. Much like the aroma it’s red apple and toasted bread, only in the case of Tetley’s it’s those flavors plus massive water. Beer critics often talk about a beer have a "malty backbone", but in this case it’s a watery backbone. I do get a noticeable apple juice-like taste sans sugar, though. Almost as if it were sugar-free apple juice mixed with water at a 50/50 ratio.
There’s nothing particularly offensive about the palate, though. There is a touch of sweetness, but you really have to reach for it. The hops seem non-existent as there is no true bitter taste here except for a slightly chalky sensation in the aftertaste that lingers for just a moment. Otherwise, Tetley’s is just bland and watery, making for a boring brew.
Mouthfeel: Creamy outer texture but thin, watery core. Feels good in the mouth, but I don’t drink beer for the mouthfeel.
Drinkability: The bland palate combined with the super soft, creamy mouthfeel make this is an almost ridiculously easy beer to drink. It’s not actually refreshing, despite its watery aspects, oddly enough. The 3.6% ABV is so low it barely qualifies as an alcoholic beverage. Probably the king of session beers in the UK.
Overall, this is an old man’s drink to be sure. While not off-putting, there’s just nothing to genuinely enjoy here.