The Mahou maestra has made it’s debut in Kolkata; much to the excitement of a beer lover like me. I enjoy my glass of beer, just like a weary traveller enjoys his drink of water after discovering his way out of a trecherous, hot and sunny desert. A glass of chilled beer sets off a reaction in me that is similar to the Pavlovian reaction in a canine. It is therefore a moot point that I should make an attempt to try out the new beer that had made it’s entry into the Kolkata market.
“Mahou Wheat”- said the lettering in white and green on the half gold and half white coloured oblong label stuck on the body of the bottle. “This beer is not like other beers”, the server in the bar tried to explain to me as he saw me taking a keen interest in the cardboard marker that adorned every table in the bar meant for advertising this new Spanish beer to have hit Kolkata.
” It’s got a cloudy appearance that is similar to that of Hoegaarden,” gushed the server, apparently pleased to note that he had an avid listener in me!
“Really? Are you trying to tell me that this Spanish beer is as interesting as The Hoegaarden;” I emphasised on the “The” in an attempt to draw the server’s attention to the fact that he was now trying to cross the limits! Hoegaarden, after all, was not just an ordinary beer! It occupied a high place on a pedestal while other mortal brands paid their obeisances standing far below, at the foot of the pedestal. The cloudy appearance that bordered almost on the frothy white water of a rapid, was like an aura, mysterious in the flavours that it hid and waiting to swamp the drinker swiftly with each gulp. Did “Mahou wheat” really had it in itself to come anywhere near the exotic Hoegarden?
Then the pint of beer was brought and the server tilted the glass to catch that frothy white liquid gushing from the bottle as if in exhilaration of being liberated from captivity! So far so good, thought I as I watched the cloudy liquid in the glass dissipating light and imparting a dullness to the golden fluid.
My patience was now like a leash around an excited dog, barely able to keep me from picking up the glass. As soon as the server had moved away, I picked up the glass and drank a large gulp of the beer. It’s chilling effect initially dulled my taste buds and it took some time for the signals to get transmitted to my brain. For a brief minute it really seemed different-different from the other beers; a little heavier, slightly more complicated in it’s flavour compared to the other beers. It felt good and I quickly took in another large gulp. A few more gulps later I had begun to feel the difference.
Mahou wheat has a distinctive taste of wheat, a sort of starchy taste of wheat that remains in the mouth when you chew a small handful of grains of raw wheat. I realised that it is this starchiness that probably lends a heaviness to the flavour of Mahou, something which lingers on and gets accentuated with every sip. That was when my mind was made up. The flavour of wheat in Mahou wheat is too strong, in my opinion. If the coriander imparts an aroma and flavour then it failed to register on my senses.
Alas! Mahou wheat was a mere mortal, nowhere near to the greatness of The Hoegaarden!