Sunday, July 6, 2014

Hinano - Tahiti - 29/12/13


The low down: 
Tahiti, it's a magical place. I drank this back in December last year but for some reason forgot to publish it. The only reason I realised was that someone in Tahiti was offering me a beer and I wanted to link them to it. And now the extensive rewrite to accommodate this apology.

Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia, so think of a place where there is a constant 27 degree day year round, with stunning coral reefs and rain-forests and you are part of the way there.

Hinano is brewed by the local Heineken installation, and sadly reflects it. A reasonable pacific lager for the hot days, but ultimately "more of the same."




Packaging: 6/10
While reasonable reminisce of Tahiti, there's nothing stand out about this.
Refreshment: 7/10
Fairly refreshing, light carbonation and cold temperature help.
Flavour 5/10
What little there is, is acceptable.
Alcohol Content: 5/10
5% just close enough to every other macro brewed pacific lager.
Price: 7/10
$6.00 which is in line with its rarity here.
Total: 30/50


Surprisingly scores higher than I felt it would, and since I inadvertently published this late, I got to include the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. quote above. As for a match, this lives with your left-over leg ham, and cherries.
Cheers.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Brewmeister Snake Venom - Scotland -28/6/14


The low down: 
I picked this up as my 34th birthday present to myself. I wanted to take on the behemoth, the leviathan, the indomitable lord and master of all beers. This is that beer.

Tipping the scales at a ridiculous 67.5% alcohol, this is stronger than most cask whisky. To achieve this the mad men at Brewmeister used specialty engineered yeasts and malts and a brewing process that makes the Manhattan project look like 2 kids playing with blocks.

This is a stunning act of science and sorcery, a truly magnificent achievement, and it pretty much tastes like beer! Less burn than tequila or whisky, but more kick. Definitely a sipping drink





Packaging: 10/10
A 275ml bottle that comes with a warning label indicating imbibing alone is tantamount to suicide.
Refreshment: 8/10
It wasn't what I would call refreshing, but it wasn't what I would call the opposite of refreshing, what ever that is.
Flavour 10/10
Really complex, rich smoky malt, with subtle notes of caramel and light yeast.
Alcohol Content: 10/10
67.5% I'm going to over flow some points into price here, because this is insane.
Price: 4/10
$200. This is not as bad as it sounds, since there are 13.4 Standard drinks in a bottle. That's $15 a drink, cheaper than top shelf whisky.
Total: 42/50


Would I do this again? Probably not. I think the only other "Big Beer" that interest me now is The End of History from BrewDog, and mainly because I want the stoat bottle. Drink this with 3 pints of water, and a couple of mates, or else you will die.
Cheers.

Matutu Mai Lager - The Cook Islands - 29/6/14


The low down: 
Just for the record NSA, who I know are listening, the ISIS shirt is from the TV show Archer, not from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, who are currently delivering bloodshed and mayhem to Mosul, Tikrit and other areas of northern Iraq.

With that disclaimer out of the way, we can talk about this lager from a country where 5 times as many Cook Islanders live in New Zealand than their own capital city.

What are they running away to? you might ask, and it might be the case that it's the beer. This is a very rudimentary pilsner style beer with a fairly sour malty bread flavour broken up by the very mild carbonation..



Packaging: 8/10
Love the design.
Refreshment: 5/10
Needs to be very cold, there isn't much carbonation to save this.
Flavour 5/10
Sourish bready malt bag with a few yeasty notes.
Alcohol Content: 7/10
5%. About as respectable as could be expected.
Price: 7/10
$3.80 Once again I had to look this up as it was the second delivery by Bill Adams. Thanks Bill!
Total: 32/50


I have it on good authority that the coconut porter is at least 3 times better, so if you find your self on Rarotonga, that should be your first option. If you do select this lager, something with coconut might match pretty well.
Cheers.

Mustang Lager - Nepal - 28/6/14


The low down: 

Probably made with Himalayan melt brought on by global warming, this beer is yet another in a long line of mediocre central Asian lagers. Nepal is much more recognised for its dramatic and awe inspiring natural beauty, which we the good people of earth are dutifully destroying.

The standout flavours are chemical and burnt malt, but at least it's not yak's milk, one of the other favorite drinks of the Nepalese.

Considering they are top 50 for population world wide, with 2 million working and studying abroad, I thought this would have been more readily available.





Packaging: 7/10
It certainly looks the part, however I'm not sure there are any wild horses in Nepal
Refreshment: 5/10
Very ordinary, and given the climate in Kathmandu, it won't be gaining points in its natural habitat.
Flavour 5/10
A little strong on the chemical flavours.
Alcohol Content: 6/10
5.5% Quite respectable for a lager
Price: 5/10
$5.25 Had to look this up, as it was a wings night offering from Bill Adams. Thanks Bill
Total: 28/50


So it turns out Mustang is an area in Nepal by the border with China/Tibet and not a high powered automobile or a North American equine. While I wouldn't recommend you eat either, there's a lot to be said for a beer that's best accompaniment is pretzels.
Cheers.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bell Lager - Uganda - 11/6/14



The low down: 
Things I know about Uganda: 1. The most oppressive legislation against homosexuals in the world, 2. A really pretty lake, 3. Kony's child army. I mean I also know it's in Central Africa and makes Bell Lager.

Bell Lager is the very definition of inoffensive. It has a light malty caramel taste but apart from that I can't pick a single thing. I cant even taste the hops. The Bottle has embossing that touts "BEER ONLY" which is probably Alanis Morisette levels of Ironic, because it doesn't really taste like beer.

Yes I am aware that most of the lyrics from that song refer more to happenstance and coincidence than irony.





Packaging: 8/10
Not super impressed, but BEER ONLY pushes the score up a little
Refreshment: 10/10
NO arguing with this, you could drink it on a plane, you could drink it with your brain.
Flavour 4/10
Super mild caramelish malt, and then? No and then!
Alcohol Content: 4/10
4% pretty much explains why it tastes like nothing.
Price: 4/10
$10.50 for a 500. It's not horrible, in that it's a reasonable import.
Total: 30/50



Uganda is pretty much the poorest country that exists. Over a third of their population could not afford this beer working a 7 day week and it certainly isn't good enough to warrant that expense. However as an accompaniment to some First Street boneless hot-wings, it was spectacular.
Cheers.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cerveza Imperial - Costa Rica - 7/6/14




The low down: 

Recently I was sad to learn that Laura Chinchilla was no longer the President of Costa Rica. Not because I think she was good for the country, unilaterally opposing separation of church and state and all that, but because her name is Chinchilla. Have you seen a fricken Chinchilla?!?!?! Here, I'll wait.

The beer is less cute, but still a pretty good offering from the country that also offers up 5% of the earths land based biodiversity, with such epic murderers as vampire bats, crocodiles and Puma's. Sadly I'm told that these creatures are attributed with less kills per year than domestic chickens.

Imperial is a light citrus flavoured tropical lager, the brown bottle is deceptive and this is really quite easy to drink.




Packaging: 7/10
A little deceptive but well designed.
Refreshment: 8/10
Almost palate cleansing in its refreshment.
Flavour 6/10
Citrus and  lightly toasted malt.
Alcohol Content: 5/10
4.6% almost the de-facto standard for Caribbean lagers.
Price: 7/10
$7.80 being a rare import it was worth the little bit extra.
Total: 33/50


Costa Rica faces both the Pacific and the Atlantic ocean, and Cerveza Imperial is a good blending of Pacific summer beers, with Caribbean tropical ones. I matched it to chicken kiev, but anything with garlic would work.
Cheers.

Cisk Lager - Malta 8/6/14


The low down: 
Malta, the home of Cisk, the Maltese Falcon, and I can only assume, Malteasers. One of these things is not like the others.

You would think given that the country has malt in it's name they might have monopolised on that fact and made a truly spectacular malty dunkel, or even a rich bock. Heck I'd take an old school barley wine! Instead we get this, whatever this is.

To elaborate, this has a kind of bitter fruit flavour, that feels like it could have been malty once, but is over far too fast. a very forgettable beer, but maybe that's OK when you are on a stunningly beautiful rock in the Mediterranean sea. Maybe that's exactly what you are looking for, something that doesn't draw the focus of where you are and what you are doing.





Packaging: 4/10
This actually kind of hurts my eyes.
Refreshment: 7/10
Pretty easy to drink.
Flavour 7/10
Hints of flavour that vanish like ninja.
Alcohol Content: 4/10
4.2% Really quite low, even for a macro lager.
Price: 8/10
$5.50 The right price point for an import.
Total: 30/50


I mean who am I kidding, I'm going to recommend you drink this while eating an entire family fun sized bag of Malteasers, and you know I'm right.
Cheers.

Saku Kuld - Estonia - 9/6/14


The low down: 
Some friends of mine were lucky enough to visit Estonia this year. While I was already jealous after hearing their stories; after drinking this beer, my jealousy is now verging on the insane.

A meshing of Scandinavian and Baltic this has the taste of grains and fruits, It's brewed with Nordic oat malt, which gives it a unique and incredible cereal nose. There is some honey and a little bit of hops but mostly it's the fruit that comes through.

So spectacular food, online political voting, Vana Tallinn and now Saku Kuld. Oh and I mustn't forget these guys. Estonia seems like it's moving up the must visit destinations list.






Packaging: 10/10
So regal, all gold and foil and wonderful.
Refreshment: 8/10
The 600ml was gone before I could complain I didn't buy a second.
Flavour 9/10
Lots of flavours, pineapple and lemon and honey with some amazing oat malt as well.
Alcohol Content: 8/10
5.2% In a 600ml bottle this is really respectable for a macro produced beer.
Price: 8/10
$9.60 It's expensive, but it's really good.
Total: 43/50



My friends visited kiek in de kök, a tower and museum in Tallin, afterwards they ate an Estonian buffet, in which the main delicacy was bear meat. I'm pretty sure you can see where I am going with this.
Cheers.

Nektar Pivo - Bosnia and Herzegovina - 4/6/14


The low down: 
The regions of the former Austro-Hungarian empire and later Czechoslovakia have not had an easy 100 or so years. Many of them still wear the scars of this, and brewing it seems is one area among many where Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered.

Nektar isn't an inspiring beer, and I guess that is why In Bosnia and Herzegovina I'm led to believe they drink Rakija, a type of plum brandy, with all 3 meals.

It tastes like cheap, it looks like cheap, and it isn't cheap. Think of the driest pilsner flavour you can, then take away the hoppy aroma and bitterness but leave the dehydrated tongue feel. This truly is the sauvignon blanc of the beer world, except it tastes like rubbish.





Packaging: 3/10
Looks cheap, does everyone want to look like Heineken or Carlsberg?
Refreshment: 3/10
If they turned the dryness down from 11.
Flavour 2/10
Somebody spilled beer in this ashtray!
Alcohol Content: 4/10
5% Pilsner standard.
Price: 3/10
$9.00 Way too much for what is essentially undrinkable.
Total: 15/50


If you find yourself in a situation where it's this or death, try not to let it warm up. I wonder if it's still frowned upon to put ice in a beer? It will water it down, but in the case of Nektar, that's a good thing. Drink this with electrolytes. What are electrolytes? I don't know but they help plants grow.
Cheers.

Keo - Cyprus - 4/6/14


The low down: 
Keeping on with the cans, this here is the supposed haloumi of the beer world. Mostly because it is from Cyprus, as opposed to being an amazing coagulated milk protein product that puts all other coagulated milk protein products to shame. The only shame that came from drinking this, was my own.

It has a weird bitter sweet mouth feel that would be at home if you put equal parts salt and sugar in a teaspoon and stuck it in your mouth.

Importantly though, everyone should be able to order one, because its name represents the three most frequently used sounds common to the most widely spoken languages today; /k/, /e/, and /o/. I'm all for equity of access.


Packaging: 6/10
It's fairly run of the mill, and I don't hate it.
Refreshment: 3/10
Refreshment isn't something I would use to describe this.
Flavour 3/10
Lagerish, with some other subtle cereal flavours, that were left in the silo too long.
Alcohol Content: 5/10
4.6% Macro lager land strikes again.
Price: 5/10
$8.50 Incidentally the same price as 250 grams of Cypriot haloumi.
Total: 22/50



Not recommended. But if you had a meze plate with olives and haloumi and pickles, you could probably get away with drinking one or two, as long as it was really warm outside and the beer was really cold.
Cheers.