by Ashley Cotter-Cairns
Young's Champion. Hoppy, yes, dry finish, no way
Described as a "live golden beer", this bottled brew from Young's Champion from Young's of Wandsworth in London will certainly surprise you. In fact, unless you're expecting a beer that's almost exactly like a lager, you'll be more than surprised. Disappointed, maybe.
But a lager that tastes as good as Champion would be a fantastic regular session beer and, with summer now in full swing, I can recommend this brew as a perfect companion for picnics, BBQs and live summer sporting events.
It certainly pours golden and without any serious head, settling down into an inviting, bubbling deep yellow-brown colour. The smell is a bit on the hoppy side, promising bitterness, yet when you first taste Champion, you'll be reminded of some of the better 'big name' lagers you've had.
It's fizzy, which helps with that impression, along with the crisp bite and fresh, summery taste of a good cold beer. Here's where I disagree with the label's description, which promises a dry, hoppy finish. Hoppy, yes, but dry, no way.
It's more Stella Artois than IPA, which again I stress is not an insult. Of course, all Stella Artois is not created equal. The cans are vile; the bottles can be hit and miss; but from a good tap you'll do well to better it for a 'regularly available' lager.
Returning to the beer in (my) hand. If anything, I detect a refreshing aftertaste. Yes, bitter, but fruity and moreish, unlike truly dry-finishing beers which can really have you thinking you've just licked a sailor's armpit.
Drinking Young's Champion will make you feel as if you're on the Thames, watching rich people make arses of themselves in rented boats, while beautiful, large-breasted brunettes attend to your every picnic need. And if that's not a glowing recommendation, then you're better off with Stella. Leave the Champion to the rest of us.
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