Ooooh, we have another guest reviewer this week! Actually, TWO guest reviewers! A husband and wife ale drinking team that go by the collective name of…. Olice.
Ready? Let’s go..
BREWER: Sharp’s, Cornwall
STYLE: Amber Ale
VESSEL: 500ml bottle
MOB RATING: 76.5%
The year is 1998. The location is Cornwall, in some shabby spit n sawdust (but absolutely glorious) pub in Launceston. The personnel are Jymi and Jymi’s Daddy… Johnny 🙂
Now I don’t remember the precise dialogue due to it being 10’000 years ago but it went something along the lines of…
Johnny: “Due you fancy a pint of Doom Jymi”?
Jymi: “Yeah, go on then”
Now back then Doom Bar was something I had never seen, heard of, nor drunk before. Johnny said it was a cracking pint and brewed not that far away from where we were, and let me say, he wasn’t wrong. I remember that moment as though it was yesterday.
I was taken aback by the mysterious and even macabre nature of the name. Then, I had no idea it was named after a treacherous sandbank off the north coast of Cornwall.
Now, this was back in the day when you walked into a pub and if they had Doom on, you would be one happy drinker and immediately order one up. Fast forward 13 years and things changed, a lot. Sharp’s were bought by a BIG BOY and Doom Bar went global. Hat’s off to everyone that this benefited of course, business is business, but, that was the day the mystery surrounding this beer died. Nowadays you are very likely to find her in more main stream high street bars rather than a tucked away ale house, which again is fair enough, but also makes Jymi kind of sad.
The world of ale has very much moved on too, and while Doom is still a decent brew, as a whole it has suddenly fallen in to the average bracket.
However, it is a very sound everyday classic that you will never ever go far wrong with and will always have a place in my heart.
In the beer world, the story of the take over of Sharp’s Brewery (a relative David) by Molson Coors (a definite Goliath) is one that’s well known. (More than just) Rumour has it that this take over was down to Molson Coors wanting to acquire Doom Bar, which is aptly named after a perilous Cornish sandbank. For a Goliath of a brewer to want to own a relative ‘David’ brand, there has to be something special about Doom Bar…doesn’t there?
Doom Bar is a beer that appeals to the masses. And that’s a good thing. It’s one for the session, easy to quaff down one after the other. It’s easy on the mouth, nice and rounded. The nose is very pleasant, if a little subtle. And the taste is very good, if not exceptional. The packaging is nothing to write home about and is indifferent but there’s a clear strategy to keep the ‘local’ appeal with this now international brand.
So, is there something special about Doom Bar? No. But there is something very very good. The question that I’m debating is would I prefer it had it remained produced by independent brewery? The answer to that has to probably be yes. One could argue that it doesn’t matter. However, it does matter a very little bit because ‘bigness’ can take away soul. In a funny, strange kind of way, that’s what Sharp’s have sold: the soul of Doom Bar. The ‘specialness’ of Doom Bar was lost in its bid for greatness.
All that having been said, it won’t stop any of us enjoying a pint of Doom Bar in our local (or global) pub.
MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 76.5%
I am very guilty of trying all the ales my husband has as soon as he pours them and this is one that I definitely enjoy. However if I didn’t know that I enjoyed this ale would I pick it up in a shop going purely just off the label? Probably not as it is nothing exciting and is pretty plain. Are Sharps letting the beer do the talking knowing that it is established and well liked? Pretty risky for the first time drinkers standing looking at a shelf in a supermarket if you ask me. Saying this the label is packed full of information about the taste, aroma etc which if you get that far could make you want to try.
When it comes to the smell I feel like a proper girl by sticking my nose in and thinking “god damn it, it just smells like beer, there is nothing else in there!” however I get this with wine tasting too! I swear my nose can’t pick out anything other than beer or wine or said drink I am sniffing. So, it just smells like beer to me but it smells damn good and makes me want to try!
I love it, I think it’s smooth, easy to drink and super tasty! I could happily sit down and watch the rugby with a few of these on the go. I have never had a full on beer session so whether or not I could last an evening on it is hard to say, I think a few of these would be just enough for me.
Overall I like it, I am a girly girl when it comes to drinks, Prosecco and cocktails, you get the picture but I would happily have one or two of these and thoroughly enjoy.
PS I have had half a glass and it’s gone straight to my head… is this because of the beer or because I have recently had a baby and had 9 months off?! Who knows!!
The self proclaimed ‘Exceptional Amber Ale’….I’d agree. It’s also perhaps one of the darker amber ales out there?
It’s a very well rounded tasting ale with 2 stages of the taste culminating to a smooth rich finish.
Doom Bar for me is a good ale in the sense you can enjoy with your meal poured directly from the bottle at under the stairs temperature.
Doom Bar doesn’t need to be fancy looking nor have some quirky hop to set it from the rest, this ale is too well known & established.
The other thing I like about this ale is that I would stock (I do) this beer at home & still go to the pub & order & drink it from the pump. I wouldn’t necessarily do this with other brands such as London Pride (this is a pump only beer for me).
The other wonderful thing with Doom Bar is that you can really have a good session with this by your side.