Craft Beer: Belfast-based Boundary brings out the Wingnut in you with Bartlet brew
TV SHOWS and beer can often command the same level of loyalty from fans of either, some straying into the realms of obsession, but when the two worlds collide (which, let's face it, isn't all that often), even the most reasonable among us can get hooked.
That's what happened to me recently when I spied the name of a new pilsner from Boundary. The Belfast-based brewing co-operative are renowned for their great beer, but are also well known for their creative approach to naming their brews, which appears to draw on wide and varied inspiration.
The pilsner in question takes its inspiration from one of my favourite TV shows The West Wing – in fact it's a title of one of the episodes Let Bartlet Be Bartlet (seasons one, episode 19 in case you're wondering).
Now devotees of the political drama will know that President Bartlet was previously governor of New Hampshire, so why not a New England IPA? See how easy it is to let you inner Wingnut show. Anyway, what it is is a pilsner and a fine one at that.
I've always thought that lagers need to do more to wow sceptical craft drinkers because they've got a much bigger frame of reference than any other style.
However, the problem with that is that a lager's main strength can often be its subtlety, meaning any minor issue gets disproportionately amplified. Kind of like a well-meaning politician, I suppose. You can do all the good you want, but there'll always be someone who'll point out that you covered up your MS diagnosis or ordered an extra-judicial killing of a foreign official (sorry, I'm doing it again).
Back to the beer. It's a 4.9 per cent lager which pours a crystal clear straw colour with a white head. One the nose, you'll first encounter some strong malt aromas before this gives way to slight fruity and acidic aromas, kind of like a very delicate hints of apple cider.
There's an upfront sweet, biscuity malt on the palate before the Tettnang hops introduce a rich herbal bitterness to it.
It has a crisp, dry finish but there's a decent amount of body in it for a lager. A light and refreshing beer, it could be nicely paired with seafood, like New England crab puffs (OK, I'll stop now, I promise).