Friday Brew Review – Boddingtons Pub Ale


I’m an American. I didn’t choose to be one, nor do I hate being one. But since my parents boned on this side of the Atlantic, I’m an American. As such, I’m required to uphold certain traditions. I always watch the Superbowl. I gorge on buffalo wings until I can’t stand. And I perpetuate a friendly rivalry with the British.

Ah, England — our kooky sister country right across the pond. The nation has exported so many wonders that have improved the quality of my little vacation on planet Earth. Iron Maiden hails from England. So does Mr. Bean. And Love Actually takes place in London. So there’s more than enough reason for us to be chums.

But we’ve also got a little bit of a rivalry. See, back in the day we had a slight disagreement. We worked it out…but only to rehash the same shit a few years later. For a time, tensions ran high between the United States and Great Britain.

Fortunately, we put our differences aside and even decided to collaborate on some projects. After all, the differences between us are miniscule when compared to our common interests; beautiful birds, wiggers, and fried food. Oh, and of course beer.

In the motherland, gents go to pubs to drink ale while watching football. In the colonies, brutes go to bars to pound beer while watching football. Cleary, we both like to gets-our-buzz-on. Curious as to what my accented friends were sipping on, I decided to hunt down a product of the United Kingdom.

Initially, I figured that I could finally take the opportunity to review Guinness; everyone seems to love that syrupy goodness (at least on St. Patrick’s Day). But then I decided that it might not be the best idea to choose an Irish stout to represent the United Kingdom. When most people think of the UK they conjure up images of Great Britain, but not everyone in Ireland cares for the country. And so the search continued.

Eventually, my eyes were drawn to a bright yellow four-pack of pint-sized cans. There was something appealing about the packaging, an aesthetic quality that that summons the spirit of old tyme taverns and after-work binges. I sized up the beverage, reading the packaging thoroughly before making my final decision.

And the decision was favorable — I would be drinking Boddingtons Pub Ale.

As part of the motivation behind the Friday Brew Review is the desire to discover novel beer experiences, Boddingtons Pub Ale certainly fits the bill. Inside every can is a widget, which is essentially a small plastic device that replicates the pouring process of a hand-pulled draft. I think. Maybe this will explain it better.

Anyways, when I popped open a can I could feel the widget dancing around the interior. The brew poured smoothly and generated a huge amount of foam — well more than half of my glass was filled with pure froth. I sat back and watched the dissipation process, gawking with the mystification of a yokel with an evolution chart.

“What’s happening?! Is this glass of suds turning into beer? Could this be a miracle? Should I call the Vatican?”

After about a minute, a gorgeous looking pint was sitting before me. Ah, what a sight for sore eyes — sixteen ounces of golden disinhibitor topped off with a rich layer of foam! Yes, there’re a couple of fingers worth of wonderful suds to enjoy!

After the fading away of the cappuccino-colored clouds, the beer settled as a healthy golden/amber. Holding it up to the light, I took note of the fact that Boddingtons is clear and relatively uncarbonated. Further, the potable had an airy quality to its odor, being very light but still containing a bit of a hoppy essence. Assured that I was holding a beer, I decided it was time to drink.

Once in my gullet, Boddingtons Pub Ale went to work. The taste is somewhere slightly above the average beer, with bitter and sweet notes shaking hands vigorously. While this is solid enough, the true value of this liquid is found in its texture. Thanks to the widget, Boddingtons settles as an incredibly creamy ale that moves about the mouth with a distinguishable smoothness. Moreover, the drink has a real substance to it, a body that is not filling like a heavy stout but definitely weightier than a light beer.

Take a fat rip of Boddingtons Pub Ale. Let it roll across your tongue. Then just hold it. If you can do this without smiling, then you’re obviously a robot. This is a great feeling concoction.

My only complaint about this product is the fact that it has been rebranded for consumption in the States – in the U.K. the beverage is called Boddingtons Draught Bitter. It bums me out to think that beer’s bitterness is completely swept under the rug in the United States. Are we really such a childish society that we can’t embrace bitter flavors? BLACK coffee? Icky! Seven sugars and three creams for me, please! BITTER beer? Oh no! Please add water and throw in a lime!

Moreover, I just like the sound of Draught Bitter more than Pub Ale; the former starts soft and then bops you on the nose (draaaftt bit-ur) whereas the latter is two short monosyllable utterances (pub. ale.). Ahh, what the fuck am I trying to say? Maybe I should bust out the Ouija Board and ask George Carlin what he thinks.

Boddingtons Pub Ale is damn fine. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced beverage that offers a genuine tasting experience, this is the one for you. The flavor is well-balanced but it is the texture that is breathtaking — this feels good when you put it in your mouth (how many times have I said that in my life?). And by sipping on Boddingtons, you are helping to strengthen the wonderful bond between Yanks and Brits.

And it’s important that the fat-slobs and limey-fucks get along.

For the overall experience: A-