This is one that I was supposed to do for redemption Thursday which then became belation Friday and then…well, details don’t matter too much. Let’s just say there was an incident with a couple of Doppelbocks and a mighty fine Scotch Ale among other good things, and at the end of a long, hot day on an empty stomach, plans went somewhat awry. Perhaps too there was something about the thought of revisiting this one that didn’t really inspire me. As it turns out there are more reasons to dislike this one than ever.
I believe I have mentioned (on Feb. 6th, in relation to the Little Creatures Rogers’ Beer) that I don’t really see much point in mid-strength beers but this probably shouldn’t apply to the Radler as a style. I get it, I understand that it’s supposed to be quaffed rapidly by sweaty and exhausted cyclists. I can see there being some wisdom in not having them weaving around drunk on country roads if they’ve skulled a couple of jugs of mainstream strength beer a bit too enthusiastically. Just this once then there’s even less point to upping the alcohol content to a mainstream 5%, so both the Monteiths and Boundary Road Radlers are off to a bad start. It gets worse when, as I have also mentioned before (Feb. 19, when I looked at the Green Man Whiskey Bock), it is only mentioned in fine print that this is indeed a Radler (also, admittedly, on some oh-so-edgy billboards) and what I randomly purchase in the hope that it is a flavoursome full-bodied lager is instead a weak, anaemic shandy. I could at least blame DB and my own haste for that I suppose but now it gets even worse with what is recent knowledge to me. The packaging and advertising masks the fact that since they were bought out by Asahi in 2011 this is every bit as mainstream a product as the rancid Monteiths dishwater they mocked on those billboards. And if you’ve seen their “advanced IPA aptitude test” currently promoted on their website you can see they aren’t even subtle about their “craft range” functioning purely for market research purposes, something I complained about in relation to the Fat Yak/Fosters Pale Ale I tested on Jan. 27. It’s apparently a trick they pulled before when coming up with their “Chosen One” last year. I’ll admit it’s petty of me to get hung up on the simmering tensions between craft and mainstream brewers in this country, and I’ll admit I do tend to pay rather more attention to how a beer is marketed than I probably should but believe me, I notice, and it does affect my spending habits. And for what it’s worth I spend a lot. It grinds my gears when the big boys muscle in on the craft beer trend, especially when the offerings are as substandard as this. If you’d like to hear more on these and other issues, look out for my forthcoming “incoherent blithering rants” section. Every good bar needs a irritating, unkempt vagrant shouting to himself in the corner, and this is where I hope to recreate that experience on the site here. Just as in real life I imagine It’ll be a real hoot.
Dammit Peet, when are you gonna get to the review? Isn’t that what’s important here? Well, yes and no, and right now. Basically though, I was right the first time and it’s still crap. It’s initially a light and lively clear golden colour with a decently sized though very temporary white head and an aroma of lime cordial and some subtle lemony trace which is more reminiscent of a cleaning product than a living fruit. On the plus side the carbonation is reasonably good and you couldn’t accuse it of being thin but it is far, far too cloyingly sweet even for a shandy and the overpowering artificiality of the lime ruins any possible enjoyment. I cannot give any comment on malt character and am relying on the colour alone as evidence that there is indeed malt present. Similarly, there is little in the way of either aromatic or bittering hops that I can pick up on. The finish lacks any trace of bitterness but is mercifully short.
Music? I’m sorry, but this is how I feel about it now. The Lawn Ranger is a pointless aberration of a beer style I accept in principle but thoroughly dislike personally, a cynically exploitative marketing exercise and worst of all fails both as beer and as lemonade (indeed as drink to all but Bear Grylls). It’s perfect for orchestral versions of four-chord dirges by one of the worst musicians to achieve any reasonable level of fame but one of the greatest lyricists history has ever known, a cheap gimmick that neatly exploits the least capable features of both songwriter and performers. Or maybe since I can’t track down what happened to rest of this supposed album, you could go with my second choice, this classic piece of drivel from the man that (so I am reliably informed on wikipedia) was once considered “too sexy for TV” and a “crude exhibitionist” but manages here to reach the heights of pointlessness, blandness, vacuousness and redundancy (and, by the way, the number one spot on the singles chart) without actually even attempting to contribute anything original. Fine, you could point out that it was for a charity but don’t tell me it wasn’t cheap, exploitative and gimmicky.
Anyway, I really must go and wash this taste out of my mouth.
Name: Lawn Ranger
Brewed by: Boundary Road Brewery (Independent Liquor/Asahi). Auckland, NZ.
Price: $14/6 x 330ml
Purchased from: Thorndon New World
Verdict: A beer perfect for people who don’t like beer, or perhaps just people you don’t like. Weak and unappealing, artificial and sickly sweet. Nasty.
Score: Loses 10 points for being worthless as lager, redundant as Radler, a cynical marketing strategy and being just plain awful. Apart from that, it looks ok and is at least not priced pretentiously high. 30/100