So, last night Mr. Malting came home with a beer for me, made in honor of “that soap I watch.” A beer made after Eastenders? My mind raced with perverse variations of the kind of ale that might be served at the Vic. (For those who feign ignorance because this topic is beneath them, it is the pub on the show.) I wondered: had Mr. Malting found some Black Eagle Porter? Maybe some Albion Ale? Of course all they drink on Eastenders is some thin, brown-to-yellow ersatz, but what if they didn’t?
I started watching EastEnders when I moved to the UK almost five years ago. Not unlike the mermaid in Splash who watches telly hoping she will learn to speak, I hoped it would be a fast-track aculturation. All it really gave me was a time-suck addiction and dreams of certain characters long after they’d moved off the show to Essex.
But no, this ale is called Coronation Street, after a serial I’ve never watched. Maybe Mr. Malting doesn’t know me that well after all! This beer is brewed by JW Lees in Manchester, and the label claims it’s made with “Northern Soul” and is full of “twists and turns” like you find on an episode of the show. I don’t know if contrived complications are what I want in a beer. Even so, this beer is pretty darn uncomplicated. Uneventful, even. But Coronation street has a lovely theme song, and being kind, I’d say this beer is more like that. Just nice. It’s a deep amber color with a thin head that laces down the sides of the glass. Once you get past the soapy confrontation in the nose (maybe that’s where they get the name?) there is caramel upfront, balanced with some mild-mannered Goldings. Consider the iconic opening credits with the brick rooftops, the sun bathing cat. Maybe in the cask this beer would be like that– archetypal and comforting.
Now, what if brewers sponsored beer operas?
*Mr. Malting reminds me yet again that my immigrant-mind has damned me. Brits won’t get the title pun, and Americans won’t really get the telly references.