DUCHY ORIGINALS ORGANIC OLD RUBY ALE

My Fellow Inebriates,

Others have reviewed this nice organic ale much more thoughtfully than I, and even taken their own pictures. My mum bought it because it was $3.50 and she didn’t feel like using her debit card “to bootleg for animals.”

The label and marketing remind me a bit of Marks & Spencer; the bottle has that generic big-corporate-entity feel to it, like the beer you can buy at Trader Joe’s or Costco in the States. It’s not totally evil though—the beer is organically produced on land administered by Prince Charles as part of a charity project now 20 years strong.

I was a charity bear once, so I’m gladdened to know some of the profits get skimmed off to help people in need. And just as cool, OLD RUBY ALE is produced sustainably. Even a hedonistic bear with an apocalyptic bent can appreciate that no one’s raping the land to create beer.

It’s also nice to know that if I get a head-splitting hangover from OLD RUBY ALE it’s because I drank enough to get thoroughly shitfaced—not because of chemical additives.

But how does it taste?

My tastebuds are Canadian, so essentially they’re ADHD tastebuds—they need beer to crackle and fizz and spark in the mouth like so much microscopic bubble wrap. I can’t crack a beer without automatically anticipating fizz. So when our bottle of OLD RUBY ALE opened not with a burst but a sigh, I sighed also. But I still wanted to drink it very badly. I had some bad-ass DTs to manage or at least get down to a dull roar.

The low carbonation was less disappointing than you’d think. After all, a lot of Canadian swill needs to be hyper-carbonated to mask its offensive flavor, so you have to hand it to a less fizzy beer like OLD RUBY ALE for strutting its stuff without that effervescent crutch.

It had a lovely auburn color in the glass. It wafted malt and slight breadiness in nice harmony. First sips hinted initially at bitterness but morphed into sweetness—a bit simple on the palate. It felt thin in the mouth and, while never offensive, failed somehow to deliver much beyond those first impressions. And, of course, it was flat.

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