Snake Oil (440ml can7.5% ABV) Renegade Brewery

Early on in this beer-reviewing lark, I made a decision to only review beer I like. My thinking went like this: why dismiss a brewer’s efforts when someone else might rave about them? Why spend my time describing something I don’t like when I could be enthusing about something I do?

There’s enough negativity in the world. If you believed the comments on almost any Youtube video, you’d think there wasn’t a mother anywhere in the world who didn’t have loose morals.

I’ve enjoyed the heck out of many beers by Renegade and their parent company, The West Berkshire Brewery. Snake Oil, I decided after a few sips, wasn’t up to their usual standards. Yes, there was an aroma of grapefruit, tangerine and mango. Yes, there was a spicy orange bitterness on the tongue and a syrupy texture. But the alcohol was harsh and the aftertaste was savoury, bordering on sour.

And then something happened. About halfway through, I stopped thinking about the fact that I wasn’t keen on it and just kept drinking. The harshness disappeared; the savoury nature became an asset. By the end, I wished there was more of it.

Lots of things can affect your perception of a beer: what you’re expecting from it, what you’ve just eaten, your mood, whether Taurus is rising in Uranus.

The essence of snake oil is that it’s a deception. What this cunning silvery serpent managed to do is convince me it was a bad beer, when actually it was rather good.

Written by Richard Salsbury



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