In the collaboration that nobody asked for, needed or probably even thought of, Northern Monk have taken two classic Seabrook’s crisp flavours and turned them into beer.
This collaboration of Northern powerhouses was teased by Northern Monk as an April Fool’s joke, but in a double-bluff two beers were actually released on April 10th in Northern Monk’s online store.
Claiming to be the world’s first crisp-flavoured beers, there’s a cheese and onion lager (5.4%) and a prawn cocktail gose (5%).
As with all kinds of novelty beers, they quickly sold out. But we have managed to get our hands on one of each and reviewed them. We put the review live on our Instagram, you can see the IGTV post here.
CHEESE AND ONION LAGER REVIEW
Combining Britain’s favourite beer style with Britain’s favourite crisp flavour, this cheese and onion lager is made with sharp cheese and tangy onion, both of which evident in the aroma of this most unusual of beers.
Cheese & Onion Lager: Taste Test
Adam: The smell is pure cheese and onion crisps. I know it well and I could pick it out of a line up, but I wouldn’t have thought about putting it in lager.
It pours a lovely light golden colour, like you expect from a lager, with a fluffy white head and lots of fizz. The taste isn’t as strong in flavour as the aroma, but there’s a definite savoury tang from the cheese to go with the malty, light flavour of lager.
The aftertaste is all about the onion though, with that subtly acidic bite you get at the roof of your mouth. Despite what you’d expect, it actually works quite nicely together, in a weird way.
Elliot: While you can instantly smell the cheese and onion smell that many of us know and love (or hate, if that is your game), I have to say I was rather disappointed that the strength in the smell of the beer wasn't mirrored in the taste.
That said, did I want to drink a lager that was so prominently flavoured with cheese and onion? Perhaps not, so maybe the subtly actually does this beer a favour. It does have an interesting aftertaste, which I think sums up the beer… interesting.
But I guess that is what you want in a novelty beer - for it to be interesting.
Cheese & Onion Lager: Can Notes
As you'd expect from a collaboration of this kind, the can is basically a beer can version of the crisp packet.
It's a little uncanny how similar they are, with the white background and mustard-yellow design typical of a packer of Seabrook's cheese and onion crisps.
Looking at the front, the only thing to denote that it's not in fact a weird-shaped crisp tube is that it has 'Northern Monk' on the bottom and 'Lager' in tiny letters underneath the flavour.
We love it. More than the beer, probably.
PRAWN COCKTAIL GOSE REVIEW
A more controversial flavour, prawn cocktail has a bit of a marmite effect on people. The tangy, salty-sweetness is very much a love/hate thing which is why it lends itself logically to gose, a sour beer that’s known for being salty and bitter.
Prawn Cocktail Gose: Taste Test
Adam: After the strong scent of cheese and onion lager, this one was a lot fresher and plainer in smell. There’s a little hint of spiciness there, but it’s largely a ‘cold’ smell that’s quite salty, tying in with the gose style.
The pour is darker than the cheese and onion lager, but still retains an amber colour that is very pleasant, aesthetically. It’s salty at first, as expected, with quite a fresh flavour that’s a little spicy and slightly sweet. Like with the crisps it’s difficult to tell what the actual flavour of prawn cocktail is, but it’s definitely there albeit in a subtle way.
The aftertaste is sweet and sour, very reminiscent of the crisps themselves. Odd, but not an entirely unpleasant experience.
Elliot: This was actually a REALLY nice, gose that is delightfully sour that tickles your ears. HOWEVER, Prawn Cocktail flavoured? I’m not too convinced. It is probably a little too subtle, but as with the cheese and onion lager, did we really want a strongly flavoured, prawn cocktail beer?
It not only tastes like a good gose, but it looks like it too. It pours exactly how you expect a gose to pour and it looks exactly like you would hope - if that makes sense?
I did really like this beer, but for the wrong reasons. I liked it because it tasted sour, not because it tasted of Prawn Cocktail.
Prawn Cocktail Gose: Can Notes
As with the cheese & onion lager can, this is very much in line with Seabrook's prawn cocktail crisp packet design, with the dark pink design on the white background.
Again the only distinguishing factor to it being a beer is the word 'gose' underneath the flavour and the 'Northern Monk' name on the front. The back's of both cans have brief beer bios of what to expect, tying in to the crisp flavours. They also advertise for each other on the back with a shout-out to the other flavour which is a nice touch.
We really do admire a trier, and goodness have Northern Monk tried with this one. Neither beer is particularly bad, they're both just unusual.
We're no stranger to the unusual, in fact the weirder a beer is we're more likely to try it - just ask Elliot about the wild garlic sour incident. These were very much novelty beers though: fun to try and talk about, but never really going to take off.
A fan of beer since his first can of John Smiths he snook out of his Dad's fridge, Adam is now a craft beer enthusiast. To offset this 'hobby', he also cycles, runs and plays cricket when not spending time with his family.