I consider myself pretty open minded, especially when it comes to beer; I'll try any beer once. I've even found some proper crackers this way - take a look around the site and you'll see a few of them. Go on, I can wait. God knows we could do with a few extra views/clicks if you have the time. And while you're at it, go and give the Facebook page a like and follow us on Twitter. Honest, we're both really witty and interesting.
Back? Great. So as I was saying - I like pretty much every type, style, make of beer. Yeah, there are a few exceptions, but for the most part I try to see the best in every beer. Also, I have a few favourite brewers (yadda yadda AND Union yadda yadda Sharp's... I feel like I'm repeating myself here...) - one of which include the Wild Beer Co. They make some great beers (Millionaire, Wildebeest) and continue to push the envelope as far as some really far out experimental beers are concerned. Which brings me onto Dr Todd.
I've seen this beer mentioned loads on social media. So much so that I was intrigued enough to put an order into Honest Brew (another of the craft beer websites that have popped up recently, like Beer52 and Flavourly) for a beer that cost £5.99a bottle.
Yep, £5.99. Almost £6 British pounds. In fairness, that's about one cent US/Euro in these post-Brexit days. You Johnny Foreigners must be up to your bollocks in good beer at those prices.
"I've seen this beer mentioned loads on social media - so much so that was intrigued enough to pur an order in online."
Anyway, Dr Todd. This is based on the 'famous' penicillin cocktail, as made by some guy in New York. Look, I'm not going to pretend to know who the guy is - apparently he's a big deal, but not being a cocktail groupie, I'm not in 'the know'. But the chat online, along with the unusual list of ingredients, was enough to sell me on this beer. And honestly - as much as it pains me to say it here, as Wild Beer are great - this is probably the worst beer I've ever tasted (yes, worse than Musselburgh Smoke). Jeez, this might be one of the worst THINGS I've ever tasted, not just including beer. Yes, worse than earwax.
I mean, I guess I should've been alerted to how bad this might be by the idea of a penicillin cocktail. I mean, penicillin is used to clear up those nasty infections that just won't go away, no matter how hard you scrub. I've had antibiotics a few times - they don't strike me as a great ingredient to anything, let alone a tasty beer. It's not like we're all going to pubs, asking for Calpol Chasers to go with our half-pints of craft beer. Although, actually...
So why is this so bad, when clearly the online consensus is that it's some kind of revelation? Well, perhaps hipsters play a part in the online chat. But this just tastes ...weird. Odd. Like I imagine Domestos tastes. Well, it certainly smells like bleach anyway - or some kind of cleaning detergent (other brands are available from all good shops). But sometimes good stuff smells weird and I was prepared to give this beer a shot (plus, £5.99, y'know).
So despite the whiff of hospital, I pushed on through to the other side. And this... I just... I...
"It pains me to say it, but this might be one of the worst things I've ever tasted."
It's left me a bit speechless. Which is fine, I suppose, as I'm typing, not speaking. The taste is just something else. There's an initial sourness - not in itself unpleasant - fresh and sharp like lemon, but then you're hit with the weirdness, including the aforementioned penicillin. And yep, it does taste like antibiotics. I know when you're given antibiotics by the doctor, you're supposed to wash them down with water, without letting them touch the sides. But there's always that lingering, mushroomy, mouldy flavour left after swallowing. That's what you get here - and it's as pleasant in a beer as it is when you're taking prescription drugs in real life; i.e. it's not. There's a smokiness there too, probably from being conditioned in whisky barrels as part of the brewing process. There's supposed to be honey in there among the mix, but I don't get it at all. I do get a strange peanut butter-like aftertaste, that while not unpleasant, is at odds with all the other flavours going on.
It's just a really odd combination. Perhaps I'm not the target audience for this beer - I'm struggling to figure out who the target audience actually is though. Painkiller addicts? Masochists? I can't actually think of anyone who would enjoy drinking a penicillin flavoured anything. Clearly there is a market for it - the cocktail this drink is based on was created in 2005 and was apparently quite popular; popular enough to inspire other drinks. And, as I mentioned above, I saw a lot of positive chat online about the drink, enough to make me part with my readies for a bottle of the stuff. Clearly the only explanation is, I'm not who this beer has been marketed at - or, I'm not hipster enough to ironically enjoy this disgusting drink. Or - a third explanation that's just popped into my head - this is the Marmite of beers; you either love it, or you loathe it.
And I hate Marmite. Maybe that should've been the first sign that I should've avoided this beer?
"This is the Marmite of beers. You either love it or loathe it."
But, if you're in the market for a beer that tastes like a hospital ward, or a beer that, at 9%, will definitely get you fucked up quickly, or just after something completely different, maybe Dr Todd is for you. For me it's a pass; I hate to beat on the Wild Beer Co, as they genuinely try to do things a bit differently and they create some amazing beers, but Dr Todd is just wrong. I can't think of any redeeming factors to write here in its favour. Despite tasting like fungus, this beer definitely didn't grow on me.