Action Figures & Their Beers - Queen of Diamonds

by Beedo Sookcool
on 2013-02-11, 19:19:55

SANDRINGHAM DIAMOND ALE

“Commemorating The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee 1952 - 2012” says the label on the neck. And while I first tried it last April and drank many of these since then, it took me until December 2012 to figure out how to shoehorn this into an AF&TB article. (Not because I was drunk, but because I didn’t seem to have as much spare time as usual last year to devote to creative ponderings and projects. The only reason this run of AF&TB has lasted so long was because I had several months’ worth of back-up reviews stockpiled. I can’t even remember the last time I completed a custom figure . . . . But I digress.)

Where was I? Oh, yes! Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 60 years on the throne last year, and apart from the usual killjoy anti-monarchists and other dickweeds who were determined to spoil everyone’s fun, a huge, extra-long gala weekend was planned to celebrate this milestone. Fortunately, by a coincidence of scheduling, I had six days off work at that time, so I could enjoy the spectacle. Of course, it was the weekend I happened to catch some kind of virus, and spent four and a half out of those six days asleep and mildy feverish. So I missed almost all of it. Bugger.

Again, got distracted. Marks & Spencer (a huge British department store chain with some damned good food products -- when they can be bothered to make them) commissioned this ale for The Big Event. The neck-label continues with: “This pint is brewed by Elgoods Brewery in Cambridgeshire, using malt from barley grown on the Sandringham Estate and Sovereign hops.” Yes, that’s right. A pint! A patriotic, full 20-ounce Imperial pint of beer! Up yours, Brussels! HUZZAH!!! *Ahem!*

Interestingly (at least I think it is), Sovereign hops is a cultivar bred ten years previously to mark the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. So not only was 2012 the 60th Anniversary of Her Majesty’s ascension to the throne, it marked the 30th Anniversary of the creation of Masters of the Universe toy line, so this ale gets teamed up with Queen Marlena of Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics series.

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This 5.0% ABV golden ale, besides the usual beer ingredients, has sugar syrup and “honey flavouring” listed on the back label, which also says this beer is “A perfect match for . . . light summery dishes like chicken or fish, and would be perfect at a barbecue.” I would also say it goes well with snacks, sandwiches, or is perfectly nice by itself. I don’t honestly get much honey-flavouring in the taste, but it’s slightly sweet, light, crisp, and extremely refreshing. There’s almost no bitterness in the aftertaste, just a nice , slow fade-out of the beer’s flavour. As the beer warms up a few degrees from cold to cool, the flavour changes very little, and never gets skunky. So not only is it a relaxing, smooth drink of consistently high quality, you get more of it than you do of most of the other bottled beers on the shelves. Unlike Kiss Me Kate, this beer brewed in honour of a royal event is actually worthy of the effort. I hope they continue making this stuff, but experience dictates that as soon as I find something unique that I like from Marks & Spencer’s food and drink department, they will instantly stop making it and replace it with the kind of tedious run-of-the-mill fodder you can get in any other supermarket in the country. Bloody typical. But that’s a rant for another time . . . .

Drink this if you also like: Discovery, Golden Glory, Bumblebee, any other good-quality blonde beer or lager.





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