So here I am sitting next to the only bottle of Heineken Light in Canada. Maybe. I got it in a press kit for the release from a guy called Charlie. Not really my first but my first with a neat little bottle inside, and a sweet bottle opener and a CD with these graphics and other stuff. Charlie seemed to be a good guy so when he sent me an email and asked if I would like to try a new beer I said sure. Little did I know it would be a Heinie.
...click on white on green...
Now, I have to admit it - I like the stuff in the little green bottles. Twenty years ago right now I was 23 and working in Holland and the lunchroom at the plant had 200 ml Heinekens you could buy with spare change which I got to drink with hard working Dutchmen after work and which created a number of very fond memories of less than stable bicycling across the Dutch dykelands. Now there is a light version and it even has its own website. Here's a bit of Charlie's press release:
Following a successful on-premise launch on March 1, Heineken USA announced the smooth arrival of Heineken Premium Light into grocery, liquor and convenience stores across the country starting Saturday, April 1. Sales of the new brew to distributors and retailers have been strong, evidence of trade enthusiasm for the Luxury Light category Heineken USA is pioneering. The company fully expects to meet its goal to sell at least five million cases of Heineken Premium Light in its first year. The creation of the new Luxury Light segment marks a groundbreaking moment for the U.S. light beer landscape and Heineken USA continues to dominate the category with a bookend strategy supporting the new Heineken Premium Light and a re-positioned Amstel Light.These seem reasonable claims. Ever since I learned a trick in the Netherlands of sticking your index finger into the Hieneken bottle, snapping it out quickly to make a little bottlely "pop", it has been a go to brew when I have a tie on as opposed to those moments of youthful indiscretion when I might be accused (faslely I assure you) of tying one on. I also like that "e" that is designed to be a happy little face according to those clever Dutch fontsters between the wars. I recall thinking upon that clever fontmen as I sat in a railway bar in Paris where I was waiting with pals to head north by train to that Dutch job of the wonky cycling safety, sitting as late afternoon turned to dusk then night, watching train after train leaving knowing there was another in half an hour or so...
But it is the beer I really like, not just the memories. I don't like too many lagers but I have plenty of time for that steely steely hop combined with the biscuity pale malt with nip of graininess and light but creamy low country yeast. So how does the light version stack up?
The beer pours a light straw with a white rim. There is the signature Heineken aroma. In the mouth the lager has low carbonation and an initially light mouthfeel, noticeably less than the regular version but the lightness is water rather than something else, that something you get in most light beers. Then you notice there is a bit of the creamy and biscuit. Same flavour, just less. There is also a mix of steel and green hops coming together, maybe, for what you can think of as a citrus feel without the lemon or lime flavour. I am having this one unrefrigerated so I can taste it all but it tolds up without a unbalanced weirdness. I could see in numbers it being entirely welcome on a stinking hot day, say, at that co-worker's friend's wedding you were invited to to make up numbers. Or golfing. I don't like golfing that much...but finding a bucket of these would make it better...on a stinking hot day.
Thanks Charlie. Some of you others out there could learn a thing or two from his good work.