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.

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.