Monday, November 6, 2017

Okult Ginger Rousse - Luxembourg - 13-09-17

The low down: 
Firstly, Luxembourg is pretty damn rad. Pretty much everyone has conquered and occupied this area over the past 500 years. From a beer perspective this is great news. We had a lot of crazy beer in Luxembourg, my gout-ridden friend Sean came out with me every night to a new bar to sample their delights. I chose this one because it's mental. Imagine you have arrived 3 hours ago, been for a traditional French meal and then found the nearest craft bar, right before explosions of fireworks lit up the tiny city sky. This was my first night in Luxembourg, and the beer is a perfect allegory.

Packaging: 5/10
I have no true feelings about this. It's ..... fine.
Refreshment: 8/10
Citrus is on the money, ginger brings up the middle and while there's a bit of an aluminium tang, it does most things well.
Flavour 9/10
Some cinnamon, some herbs and a fair chunk of roastiness. There's a lot going on.
Alcohol Content: 5/10
5%, which is either good or bad based on the rest of the beers I tried.
Price: 6/10
$13 (well 8 Euros, at Konrad) it's pretty good by Luxembourg standards, but Luxembourg is not a fiscally sustainable place to drink craft beer en masse.
Total: 33/50
I am Convinced Sean can't camera. (this is a different beer)

I did not take enough photos of beer on this trip, or of this beer. there was an insane celebration in Luxembourg the night we arrived with all sorts of exciting displays lighting up the sky. We visited a traditional French Rotisserie and Restaurant; Goethe Stuff (Les Espaces Saveurs) and think this beer would have sat spectacularly beside the Pi├Ęce du Boucher.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Liechtensteiner Hells Spezialbier Munchner art - 9-9-17 - Liechtenstein

The low down: 
Liechtenstein is really cool! A tiny city in a tiny country with a castle you cannot visit. I had this with Lunch in a nice little hotel restaurant as rain spittled down from the dark skies in 10 degree September. We came by train from Switzerland and the scenery was enough to send you blind; Which is a good thing too as the rough tail end of fusal alcohol in this little gem might have otherwise accomplished the job shortly after. It's a bit of skunky esters, a bit of green matter, and a lot mediocre Munich style lager. It will do for a tick.

Packaging: 6/10
Brand is appealing, I love good font work.
Refreshment: 4/10
I don't know that a Munich style beer was what I needed in the pouring rain, thought this may be more effective in July.
Flavour 4/10
Look it's there, it's just overpowered by the usual things in a micro brewed Helles, primarily missing that crisp finish.
Alcohol Content: 4/10
5.0% flat so not really anything special.
Price: 2/10
$9.00 And just not worth it beyond the country tick.
Total: 20/50

I really wanted to visit the brewery, but they opened late, are out of the main town, and there is no Uber in Leichtenstein. To that end I expect that IPAs and stouts may have been more my speed, but expediting the country tick has let me down. Eat this with Spatzel, it's cheese noodles with cheese sauce, and we know how I feel about cheese.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Latitud Cero Helles Export Lager - 2-5-17 - Ecuador

The Low Down: 
Latitude Zero; Middle of the world; I bet it gets hot there. This makes the production of exceptional lagers an effort in engineering and refrigeration. This brew comes courtesy of a project manager at my work, who recently took the trip to Ecuador exclusively to get me one of these beers*. I was terribly disappointed that it is brewed in Cuenca instead of somewhere actually on the equator but I guess it's pretty close, and it's still really warm. The beer is fruity as hell with lots of stone fruit esters which I can only attribute to the climate. Balanced hops are great in lagers, more breweries need this.

*My benefactor had legitimate real world reasons (I think).

Packaging: 8/10
I love this, from the embossing on the bottle to the colour scheme across the range, and the Spanish that I cannot read.
Refreshment: 6/10
It really is refreshing, like a tropical lager but with more stone fruit.
Flavour 8/10
Did I mention stone fruit? Because I don't feel like I mentioned it enough, it is really like a peach. I could eat a peach for hours.
Alcohol Content: 6/10
5.3% And well concealed by the grain bill and hops or maybe also the yeast esters?
Price: 9/10
$2.20 US Dollars. This is from a calculation on the website and is already a great deal. My deal was better.
Total: 37/50

I liked this beer, it was more stone fruit than I have had in a lager, ever. This made it feel like much more than a simple helles. I've never been to Ecuador, but as part of my research for this article I discovered llapingachos, which are literally cheese stuffed hash browns served with satay sauce. I don't even know what life is for anymore.

Khar Khorum Munich Dunkel - 17-8-2016 - Mongolia

The Low Down: 
First let me say the Blue Sky Tower with a Filipino cover band playing all the tracks that you love is a great place to experience the commercial beer of Mongolia. Model included for the glory of Chinggis Khan. We later visited the Chinggis Khan brewery, drank the salt tea and ate all of the trimmings and still this first night in Ulaanbaatar was hard to beat (although, horse riding across the steppe was literally like something from a movie). This beer was pretty damn good for a country I was scared would force me to survive solely on fermented horse milk.

Packaging: 7/10
Silver foil all up in there, pretty classy bottle.
Refreshment: 6/10
It will do. It's certainly better than salted milk tea
Flavour 7/10
Actually a lot. It's really grainy with a little bit of biscuit and char.
Alcohol Content: 4/10
5.3% It does feel like it could do with a touch more. It is still respectable for a commercial drop.
Price: 5/10
$6.00. I thought Mongolia would be cheaper, but this was in the roof lounge.
Total: 29/50

KaraKorum was the capital of Mongolia between 1235 and 1260 when the great Khan and his horde dominated much of the known world. Khuushuur is a mince dumpling that is fricken delicious (probably my favorite Mongolian food) and is well matched to the dark Munich style of the beer. It's actually weird that they even understand hops and grain, especially since all major empires are agricultural, unless you're the Mongols

Maxima Optima Linya "beer" - 15-8-2016 - Belarus

The Low Down: 
The screen cap above should go a fair way towards describing the difficulty I had finding this stuff. It's a screen cap from Google translate, in a supermarket in Vilnius, Lithuania, where I scanned every product for country of origin until I found this beauty. Oh what a beauty it is! The style is beer, which is hilarious in and of itself, but I can best describe it as fizzy sadness. We couldn't get guaranteed visas for Belarus, but the beer scene in Lithuania was off the hook so I'm not really that disappointed.

Packaging: 2/10
1L orange and white PET bottle with supermarket branding. It'll do.
Refreshment: 0/10
It is about as refreshing as soda water, but with a weird metallic after-taste that makes my lips and mouth and insides and eyes and emotions burn.
Flavour 0/10
A literal zero, apart from the acidic burny flavour which should be negative points if I am honest.
Alcohol Content: 4/10
5%. It's OK in 1L bottles I guess?
Price: 3/10
1 Euro for a litre, and yet that still feels over-priced.
Total: 9/50

I drank this from the bottle, shirtless in a Riga hotel while my travelling buddy slept nearby. I had a hangover from drinking a bunch of Latvian craft beer and Riga Balsamic and had a flight 12 hours later to Moscow. I was later assured that this was only drunk by vagrants, university students and "confused tourists", though I'm not sure which I was being compared to. Drink this with a shot of Riga Balsamic; even the herbal medicine bomb improves this rubbish.

Babylon Craft (and Vape Bar) - BV IPA - 30-7-2016 - Kazahkstan

Firstly, new layout. This is mainly due to the laziness setting in; maintaining the left right left structure on a default blogspot is serious business. This is more mobile friendly and easier. Now, to the beer.

The Low Down: 
For the 3 days in Almaty we visited a lot of different bars. Most of the beer is Russian export lagers, the occasional heffeweizen and the very very rare anything else. What a discovery to find Babylon Craft. This bar was great and the IPA was exceptional. They also had a kriek and a lager and a weiss beer, but the IPA was special. The weirdest thing was that it was also a vape bar. Also have you eaten chechil? It's cheese, string cheese, kind of like mozzarella that is smoked. Chechil is the best beer food that exists, and it is everywhere in Kazakhstan. As for the beer, this is all hops all the way down. it is juicy and floral and packed with flavour.

Packaging: 7/10
So there's no packaging, it's all tap, but they have a PET bottle squealer fill system where the bottle screws straight into the tap! Innovation.
Refreshment: 9/10
Outstanding. After a couple of days of stale export lager this made me weep.
Flavour 8/10
This had all the right hops in sufficiently judicial applications.
Alcohol Content: 10/10
7.5%, which is phenomenal since we hadn't seen a beer in Almaty with more than 6%.
Price: 9/10
$4.00. The Most expensive beer we bought in the whole country.
Total: 43/50

I mean, Kazahkstan probably isn't on too many people's list for beer and cheese tourism, but I urge you to reconsider. With the exception of the horse meat parasite we probably picked up and carried all over Europe for the next 3 weeks it was a culinary adventure worthy of song. Drink this beer with literal buckets of Chechil. Cheese is life.