Friday, 22 February 2013

Lagers Ying & Yang

Two beers found in Hong Kong supermarkets, both lagers but very different. First up is simply titled 'Hong Kong Beer'.

Most beer actually brewed in Hong Kong is locally brewed under licence Europiss like Carlsberg or Heineken, or San Miguel from the Philippines (you can get both the locally made and original San Mig in supermarkets). This one is a happy exception though: it's 'hand-crafted', although presumably not literally.
It reminded me straight away of a Brewdog lager I had once; floral hops, although there was something subtly different about them from the bog-standard citrus hops you seem to get in every IPA. My Mother-in-Law said it tasted like soap, although that was because it's probably the first hoppy beer she's tasted. I'm sure we've all overheard a conversation in a pub when, faced with a round of drinks on the bar and unsure which is which, someone might try one at random and ask "errrr... did someone order pineapple juice???" when it's actually a citrus-hopped beer.
As is depressingly  familiar though, to purchase this you have to go to a poncey foreigner-oriented supermarket; the local ones don't stock it, although there are a few bars around town that have it.

Next up: Mesquita from Cordoba in Spain.

To be honest I didn't know exactly how to approach this at first: I wasn't even sure if it was a lager or an ale. I had it straight out of the fridge, although the ABV strength of 7.2 and the dark pour suggested I might have been better off letting it sit for half an hour. It is a lager though, but unlike the Hong Kong Beer it was totally over to the malty end of the spectrum. When I taste a strong very malty lager I can't help thinking 'tramp juice' but this was far from it. Certainly one I'd look out for if I'm ever in Cordoba again (and if they actually sell it in Cordoba, of course. It wouldn't surprise me if you can't actually get it there.)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Stoke via Hong Kong

Not the Stoke which produced Lemmy, or the Stoke who like to kick lumps out of the shins of persons wearing red and white outfits, but rather the Stoke brewed in Nelson, New Zealand by the McCashin family.

Beer in Hong Kong is unfortunately dominated by the evil Triad of Heineken, Carlsberg and San Miguel. If you cross their path, you may wake up to find a bag of decaying barley under your bedsheets (which they would have otherwise used to make their foul excuse for beer.)
But if you make an effort you can find decent beer without much trouble. Even in your bog standard supermarkets you can find some decent imported stuff like this: and at less than £1.30 or so a bottle you don't have to be Li Ka Shing or borrow from loan sharks to afford one.
They claim it's brewed with 14,000 year old water, and is made "the old fashioned way", with "bespoke" yeast, whatever that means. Despite that it's a very decent quaff, especially on a humid day. The 'gold' in particular has just the right floral / spicy side without getting in the way of things.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Estrella Damm Inedit

There are quite a few brewers of watery adjunct ridden pissy lager who, presumably to stop their brewers hanging themselves, will sometimes have a stab at making a decent beer. Thus we have Super Bock "gourmet", Peroni "gran reserva" and this fella, who grabbed my attention in El Corte Ingles.

It comes in a 75cl bottle with some poncey tags and stuff hanging off the top, like those jars of jam with hats on that you find at some posh shop in Devon. With wheat, barley and spices in the ingredients this promised to be another southern European brewer having a shot at a Witbier.

Spices in a Witbier should be like the icing on a cake, not the cake itself. Here, the spices were too prominent because there wasn't enough backing to them from the beer - altogether too lacking in any guts. Perhaps Estrella Damm should stick to lager.