A beer that needs serious revision

I was in Tesco yesterday picking up yet another forgotten ingredient for dinner. Why is it that no matter how long you spend shopping, you nearly always forget something. Or you since changed your mind on what you feel like eating. Anyway, whenever I’m in the store I like to peruse the beer fridges. Who wouldn’t? The alcohol section is often the quietest part of the store… thankfully. It’s become a sort of an oasis of calm even if the stock on the shelves are largely barren of charm and appeal.

Since it was a Sunday evening, I thought why not have a beer to round off the weekend. Tesco isn’t the usual place of choice for my berry acquisitions. I wanted something different and opted to try the Saison from the Revisionist range, “craft brewed by Marston’s exclusively for Tesco”.

The label's not bad as far as own-brands go but the beer doesn't match up. Which is more important?
The label’s not bad as far as own-brands go but the beer doesn’t match up. Which is more important?

So what’s it like? Well aficionados of Belgian farmhouse ales should look away. It pours a clear yellow gold with a head that quickly dissipated. The nose is dominated by a trifecta of lemon, plasters and toffee (too harsh to say butterscotch?). The citrus notes carries into the flavour but it’s not clean tasting. The carbonation level contributes to the disjointed nature of the beer. There is indeed citrus bitterness with only a slight hint of cracked black pepper in the finish. Overall the mouthfeel is somewhat soapy but it’s perhaps a tad mean to say this beer doesn’t pair so well with a meal but would go well with the washing up.

I’ve now had the opportunity to try the full Revisionist range. The Rye Pale Ale and Dark IPA are passable but the rest are mediocre. The branding is good and screams premium own brand. However, this is beer we’re talking about. Price matters and this is certainly true in the congested retail environment that is Tesco. At a relatively high price point, none of the Revisionist range represent value.

All is not lost, however, Bo Bristle has joined the likes of O’Hara’s, McGargles, Solas range and Finn Lager on the shelves of Tesco. The Irish craft offerings either match the Revisionist prices or beat them. Now that’s value. Every little helps.

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