Everything Old and Dark is good again
THE regular reader of this column would have come to know the foibles of Hugh the Neighbour and me. The penchant for stouts; the dislike of ordinary lagers; and, in HTN’s case, the habit of saying every reasonable dark beer tastes likes Tooheys Old.
I have teased him about this apparent Tooheys fixation long and hard for some time, and I suspect last weekend he had had enough.
So it came to pass last Sunday, that Hugh turned up with some James Squire Jack of Spades Porter and, you guessed it, some stubbies of Tooheys Old Dark Ale.
Now, it must be said I am a fan of Old, but I suffer from a disease common to people who try a lot of beers and that is being prone to thinking that more expensive should mean better.
My brother was visiting, and he has been known to enjoy a glass of the cold and frothy on a hot day.
Admittedly, I think his palate is a bit suspect, as he can actually enjoy a Crown Lager, but both Hugh and I thought he would be an interesting control in the Great Tooheys Taste Test.
I got three each of different style beer glasses, and Hugh decanted them in another room, ensuring that the Irwins did not know which was which.
One of the beers had a slightly darker head, but even holding them up to the light the colour was remarkably similar.
Both good on the nose, and both very drinkable.
You can probably see where this was going to end … consensus was not reached with me picking one and the brother picking the other as the Old. Much to my embarrassment – I got it wrong. It was hard to tell who was happier – HTN having made his point that Tooheys Old does take a bit of beating, or the Bro who will bring this up at family get togethers for years to come.
It really did make a great point though.
I really enjoy the Jack of Spades – it is a superbly crafted beer. However, I am now forced to wonder if it is ever worth paying around $62 a carton for the Squire, when the Tooheys Old retails for around the $49 mark.
A 25% premium of something that is not that different demonstrates how we need to not leave all the old favourites behind in the quest for the perfect beer.