234 Nassua Street - Princeton, NJ
Varsity Liquors

Gifts from the Sea

Written by The Beertator   June 2003

Oi

So I'm sitting here, I have my MacD's Steak and Egg Bagel, coffee, and hash brown. I even have my own bottle of ketchup from the fridge coz MacD's always forgets the ketchup (Y'know and that really bugs me coz they never forget to ask, but I'll save that rant for a special occasion).

I have my new temporary fave band (the 5.6.7.8's, jap-a-billy girl band) playing. I even have my favorite comfy slippers and fleecy sweater kinda thingy on.

Can someone tell me why the freak I have writers block! It probably has something to do with the fact that I really do like the beer I'm reviewing. I really didn't want it to be good. I wanted it to suck.

Lemme back it up a bit -

So Scotty tells me I should try this new beer he just got in

(Dreamy harp music, please)

"It's made with seaweed", says he.
Right.
Not broccoli. Not asparagus. Neither beef broth, kim-chee, coffee grounds, feathers, organic spelt, nor herring.

Now there's a gimmick. I never thought of the seaweed angle before.

So I'm thinking this is going to go over like that German fitness bread I purchased at the close-out store for 79 cents.

I don't think I mentioned that the name of the beer is Kelpie Seaweed Ale. Sorry, I'm terrible with names. Not a good trait to have if you're reviewing something, ya know, to forget to actually identify the product?

It has a picture of a green blob or something on the label. I guess it is an artist's rendering of kelp, but it's not readily identifiable as kelp. But then again what do I know about drawing kelp?

I originally thought it was a giant octopus on the label, which would be a much more cool label, if ya ask me. Even better if it were devouring a ship in a storm. Maybe even a real baby octopus in every quart bottle. Yar! It'd be a true briney seafarin' beer if ever there were. Anyways you can decide what that drawing is. Most 5 year-olds could have made a better label.

Aside from the really bad label art that was probably inspired after a night of drinking the stuff and listening to a few Yes albums, on the back of the bottle is the Kelpie story:

"Prior to the 1850's there were many Scottish coastal ale-houses which brewed their own ales, these ales were made from local malted barley which was grown on fields fertilized with seaweed. This environment gave the barley a very specific flavour which we have recreated by the inclusion of fresh seaweed in the mash tun. In addition to the seaweed (bladder rack) harvested on the Argyll coast we have used only organically grown malt - the darker malts roasted by
ourselves..."

Still awake?

Okay so I drinks it. I likes it. It has a lot of chocolate and molasses, very hoppy and a hint of bitter. Lots of fizz. It reminds me of my favorite Scotch Ale, Black Douglas. A little more fizzy than Old Heathen. One thing I don't taste, you guessed it, seaweed! I thought I'd need a hit of wasabi and pickled ginger with every slug.

So, I guess I'd say its a really good beer with a really bad gimmick, but I'd recommend it, especially if you like those chocolate ales. It's refreshing not to find out that it was a bad beer with a good gimmick, which is usually the case.

It certainly tasted better than the Absenthe I tried the other day when Me and a few of my mates wound up spending the night at some nice goth couple's house after a night of clubbing in Philly. I says "Oi, wot's the green stuff? Never seen that before..." Lemme tell ya, never try absynthe together with Wawa hoagies at 3:00 in the morning, just don't. But I digress.

234 Nassau Street, Princeton NJ 08542.......609.924.0836