Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Carib Lager - Trinidad and Tobago - 17-9-14


The low down: 
I've barely hit 7 of the 28 nations and territories in the Caribbean, it's slow going because of their limited exports. Thank God for Top Hops New York. Unfortunately they were out of a couple I wanted, but they did have this gem.

I'll be visiting the Caribbean in 2016 and I'm hoping there are more beers like this. It's a really refreshing drop, no significant flavour to speak of, but in this case it's not a bad thing.

It's not very carbonated and drinks well from the once again clear bottle, but this was well refrigerated and I drank it at night, though it might suffer on a shelf.





Packaging: 7/10
Feels Caribbean, and doesn't come in red and green!
Refreshment: 8/10
It was barely 19 degrees in New York, and this still worked.
Flavour 6/10
Fruity, a little malty, but not amazing.
Alcohol Content: 7/10
5.2% High for a Caribbean lager.
Price: 8/10
$4.15. And this included the corkage at Top Hops.
Total: 36/50


Trinidad and Tobago invented the Calypso and the Limbo, which pretty much define the Caribbean for me. The cuisine is a combination of Indian, African and Creole. One of their specialties is a fried dough called Fried Bake. Can you see where this is going?

Cheers.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kalik - The Bahamas - 11-9-14


 The low down: 

The Bahamas is only proceeded by Aruba, Jamaica and Bermuda in the list of places The Beach Boys want to take you to. Then again, Kokomo is in Indiana, so they probably don't know crap.
For the record there is also a Kokomo in Mississippi as well, but no one cares about that.

The beer is OK, but has a distinct skunk smell that is brought on by its shelf storage and clear bottle. Considering the Bahamas are supposed to be the sunniest place on earth, someone should have thought of this.

It's macro produced by Heineken on the island, so with that consideration in place, it does pretty well, in that it is better than Heineken.



Packaging: 3/10
A clear glass bottle for a beer to be drunk in the sun....
Refreshment: 6/10
Skunk ruins it, but otherwise reasonably easy drinking.
Flavour 5/10
Almost no hop flavour, a little malt and that's it.
Alcohol Content: 5/10
5% About par for the course.
Price: 8/10
$1.85. It's probably more in a resort, but it will be better there too.
Total: 27/50


Atlanta is a pretty good analog for the Bahamas, except it has no sea breeze, no beach and a lot more craft breweries. Apparently conch fritters are a thing and hugely popular in the Bahamas. I would like to eat some, and I could do worse than pairing them with this beer.
Cheers.

Presidente - Dominican Republic - 10-9-14


The low down: 
In the Dominican Republic in 1496, Bartholomew, the kid brother of Christopher Columbus, established the first Spanish colony in the West Indies. This began 30 years of the decimation and subjugation of the native Taino people. I say 30 as opposed to 500 as they were all but eradicated by the 1530's.

With that depressing story out of the way let's talk Caribbean beer. It's not quite as heinous as the actions of the European settlers in the 15th and 16th centuries, but it's also not that great.

The primary flavour is sickly sweet malt, but there isn't a lot else to it. Another in a long line of beers that are forgettable but serviceable in the tropics.




Packaging: 3/10
What is with Caribbean beers and this colour set?
Refreshment: 5/10
On the Island of Hispaniola sure, in Atlanta, partly.
Flavour 2/10
Fake sweetness not optional.
Alcohol Content: 5/10
5% Good enough for government work.
Price: 7/10
$1.65 Well, at least it's cheap.
Total: 22/50


I drank this with preserved meats from the Pepper Palace, it's probably better suited to something even spicier. We visited the world of Coca Cola before I drank this and it still seemed sweet. Drink it with jalapeños, or habaneros.
Cheers.

Cerveza Tona - Nicaragua - 8-9-14


The low down: 
I have to admit, I know nothing about Nicaragua, except that there's a lot of coffee. Research indicates that the 2 largest lakes in Central America are located there, which makes sense because this is one watery beer.

There's also an area of Nicaragua called the Mosquito Coast which sounds entirely unappealing. Thankfully this beer does a pretty good job of making me unlikely to want to go to Nicaragua, which I keep wanting to spell "Nicuragua" and I'm not sure why.

Watery equatorial lager with flavours of corn and cardboard. Whoopee.





Packaging: 4/10
Looks like an impoverished Christmas.
Refreshment: 3/10
San Fran was wonderfully hot and this beer didn't help.
Flavour 2/10
As I said, it basically tastes rubbish.
Alcohol Content: 2/10
4.6%, low enough not to matter.
Price: 7/10
$2.00. Cheap, but not cheap enough for redemption.
Total: 18/50


So there you have it, the things I will drink for a country tick. If this wasn't so cheap I don't think anyone would drink it. With that said it costs the same as the average Nicaraguan earns in a day, so maybe its the Bollinger of Central America. Drink it with Bananas.
Cheers.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Blue Ice Beer - Hong Kong -20-7-14


The low down: 
Oh ho ho, have I got a beer for you! Yes I drank some true Hong Kong craft beer, I even attended a craft beer festival, but I felt I must expose you to true horror.

This is the most disgusting can of something resembling beer I've had yet. This stuff is basically buttes in a can.

I have absolutely nothing nice to say about it. The can is boring, it's weak, it tastes crap, it doesn't refresh and while it only costs 80 cents, that's not value, since you can get a San Miguel or a Weihenstephaner for about 30 cents more.



Packaging: 1/10
Nope.
Refreshment: 1/10
Nope.
Flavour 1/10
Nope.
Alcohol Content: 1/10
5% but still nope.
Price: 2/10
$0.80. I still feel like this should be "nope"
Total: 6/50


This is literally the worst. It makes Pure Blonde taste like Dom Pérignon. See the look on my face in this picture? That is me staring into the abyss. If you are ever served this, commit Seppuku and die with your honor in tact. That makes me think sushi, but with LOTS of wasabi.
Cheers.

Macau Beer - Macau - 19-7-14


The low down: 
This place is loaded with money, I mean absolutely flush with cash. I can't imagine anyone drinks this in Macau, given that it costs around $2.50 and the minimum bet for most tables in the Venetian was over $150, it seems unlikely.

We spent a single day here and we saw people hemorrhaging money. I lost around 13 dollars in all, and I consider this a tragedy. some people were gambling thousands per hand.

I'd love to continue talking about Macau, and the whole Portuguese chicken we ate for dinner, but I have to get to the beer. It's abysmal, absolutely abysmal.




Packaging: 4/10
Points for effort, but it is quite plain.
Refreshment: 1/10
Despite the heat, this didn't really help, and it was incredibly hot.
Flavour 1/10
None, bupkis, zip, nada.
Alcohol Content: 2/10
4%. A crappy Euro-lager with a crappy kick.
Price: 6/10
$2.50 and allegedly cheaper in pints.
Total: 13/50


There is a craft beer bar in the bottom of the Venetian called McSorley's. Take my advice, go there and get a real beer on tap. While you are there, eat the Chicken Parma, it's one of the best in the world.
Cheers.

Svyturys Baltijos Märzen Tamsusis - Lithuania - 17-7-14


The low down: 
While in Hong Kong I drank Lithuanian beer. Apparently this isn't that strange and a lot of bars in Lan Kwai Fong area advertise it. More surprising was the fact that this was a Marzen style beer, which I wouldn't usually have matched to the climate.

It's a fairly good representation of the style, and has that sweet bread flavour that's kind of caramel, a staple for the beers of Baltic origins that I've tried so far on this adventure.

Lithuania is another "young country" created when the Soviets pulled out of Eastern Europe and Germany in the early 90's. The Brewery however has existed for 49 years, which actually in retrospect doesn't seem like that long in Europe.




Packaging: 8/10
Reminds me a lot of Baltika, the Russian staple.
Refreshment: 7/10
Being fair, almost anything was refreshing in the 33 degree heat and 80% humidity.
Flavour 8/10
Flavour this does have a proper malty Oktoberfest, and it's good.
Alcohol Content: 8/10
5.8% is quite respectable.
Price: 8/10
$10.00 is a little better than you would expect in a craft bar in Hong Kong.
Total: 39/50



A Bavarian brewing ordinance decreed in 1553 that beer may be brewed only between 29 September and 23 April, and this is why we have Oktoberfest. I would like to have Oktoberfest year round, and the food of choice is sausage. Sausage and pretzels.
Cheers.

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.