Crisps and beer are two staples of the great British pub experience, but what happens if you mix them together?
Leeds-based Northern Monk brewery and Bradford-based crisps brand Seabrook have joined forces to create the world’s first crisp-flavoured beers.
Taking their inspiration from classic cheese and onion and prawn cocktail flavours, the beers blend beer and crisps in a way that’s “never been done before,” according to the brands. The new creations “symbolise the coming together of people in beer gardens,” apparently.
Northern Monk teased of a crisp-based product on April Fool’s day, but has now admitted that was a (somewhat bizarre) double bluff. The beers do indeed exist, and are now available to buy at £3.50 per can online.
Dedicated to trying all things weird and wonderful, two members of the HuffPost team – myself and Life editor Amy Packham – gave them a try, with surprisingly different verdicts. Here’s what we thought.
Cheese & Onion Lager
Amy: “I take a bite of crisp, then have a swig of beer – the logic being, I’m more likely to be able to compare flavours. It just tastes like lager – a light, refreshing one, though. I sniff the beer once again and notice a faint cheesy scent – more mature cheddar, I’d say. But no matter how many times I gulp the beer, and really try to taste cheese, I just can’t. Maybe that’s a good thing – because the beer itself is lovely, and my boyfriend and I drink it all. Later, finishing the last swig of it on the sofa, I suddenly get a hint of cheesiness as I lift it up to my nose. It’s slight, but it’s there. I’d drink it again – but not because of the cheese. It’s a good thing it doesn’t match up to the flavour.”
Rachel: “I’m struggling to even taste this beer because I’m completely distracted by the smell. It’s seriously oniony – more like pickled onion, rather than the standard scent of cheese and onion crisps. Like Amy, I barely detect a hint of cheese in either smell or taste. I’m genuinely horrified to hear she finished the can, because my partner and I manage four tentative sips between us, before pouring the rest down the sink. I can’t stand the aftertaste, which is reminiscent of hungover mornings after a big night out (with onion breath following a dodgy kebab). I raid the fridge for something to take the taste away.”
Prawn Cocktail Gose
Amy: “I have to Google what ‘gose’ is, because despite having tried sour beers before, I didn’t know the name. There’s a sour – and slightly fishy – smell to the beer. As I lift the glass up to my nose and have a sip, I smell the fishiness even more. I take a gulp. It’s the most sour beer I’ve ever tasted. It has that sharp kick, like you get with a prawn cocktail starter. But the taste isn’t for me. I’m afraid to say seafood beer is not the one – I settle for the crisps and don’t drink the rest. Sorry, Seabrook, it’s going down the sink.”
Rachel: “Seabrook’s are the fishiest prawn cocktail crisps I’ve ever tasted (not in a good way, fresh seafood should be that tangy), so I’m relieved the beer doesn’t taste like the snack. It’s got a faint pawn odour, but I ignore that and have a few gulps. The taste is seriously sour, but I quite like it, and in my opinion, it’s much better than the onion monstrosity. I can’t manage a full pint though, and the salty end note prevents this from being refreshing. My partner finishes the can, but we agree we wouldn’t buy it again. With both beers, the smells and flavours are too discordant with the visual, which looks like a standard pint. You don’t get what they deliver – and that’s half the problem. These beers are a gimmick, and nothing more.”
Well, two different verdicts for two crispy beers – but if gimmicks are your thing, and you want to try them for yourself, head to Northern Monk’s shop.