#36 – Wigram Czar

Because there is a time and a place for everything, apparently.

Name: Wigram Czar
Style: Imperial Russian Stout*
Brewer: Wigram Brewing co. (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Alc: 8.5% abv.
Price: $9/500ml bottle at Thorndon New World

It has been mentioned that I should stop treating this blog like a red headed stepchild and actually pay some attention to it, which I had every intention of doing yesterday until circumstances conspired against me. No, you don’t need to know. Thankfully I did get the most important job done which was to sample, and savour, the Wigram Czar Imperial Russian Stout and though the pedants might point out that it is actually Friday, and has been for some considerable time now, this beer was a perfect candidate for Redemption Thursday. Continue reading

#35 – Kingfisher Strong

“India’s Premier Lager” according to, er, itself. If true, this is unfortunate.

Name: Kingfisher Strong Premium Beer
Style: Lager
Brewed by: Blossom Industries/United Breweries (Bangalore, India)
Alc: <7.2% abv.
Price: $4 per 500ml can from Countdown (Crofton Downs)

First Tightarse Tuesday post for a long time and so I turn to the Kingfisher strong, a high strength lager from the land of…wait, what was that? Less than 7.2%? What the hell does that mean? How much less? Could you be a bit more specific on this? No? Well why not say less than 10%, or 18%, or 40%? Regardless, this is what it says on the can. In small writing. Right above where it lists the ingredients which are, and I quote:

Water, Malted Barley, Sugar, Rice/Maize/Millet/Corn Syrup, Ethyl Alcohol (generated in the process), Hops and Yeast. Contains permitted natural colour.

…and suddenly I have that sinking feeling. Continue reading

#34 – Urbock

If you squint you can almost make out the herds of wildebeests sweeping majestically through the Ngaio high country.

Name: Urbock
Style: Dunkler Bock
Brewed by: Namibia Breweries (Windhoek, Namibia)
Alc: 6.2% abv.
Price: $3 per 330ml bottle from Regional Wines and Spirits

Around the World in 80 Beers
Episode 5: Namibia

There’s a lot to like about this one right from the get-go. Nothing fancy about the ingredients (“brewed by choice according to the Reinheitsgebot standards”), the name or the packaging, or even the price which is pretty damn good. Even better, far from being yet another faltering attempt at an entry-level lager with broad appeal to the general market (read: cheap, yellow piss for poor and brainless teens), this is marketed as a winter specialty*, brewed just once a year by a company coming up on a century of operations. Namibia doesn’t immediately spring to mind when one thinks of the great brewing nations but all evidence suggests that these guys at least know what they’re doing and this is, according to ratebeer.com at least, the nation’s finest beer. Continue reading

A slightly belated Beervana report (part the first).

This time last week (being Tuesday afternoon) I was at a certain underground cult bar sampling – for free mind you – two truly excellent beers from 8-wired. Oh, I do hope you’re jealous now. It will only get better later on. Continue reading

#33 – Baltika 3 Lager

In Soviet Russia…the usual beverages are brewed to an acceptable standard and exported in increasingly large quantities.

Name: Baltika #3
Style: Pale Lager
Brewed by: Baltika Brewery (Saint Petersburg, Russia)
Alc: 4.8% abv.
Price: $6.25/500ml bottle from Regional Wines & Spirits

(Yes there is much to say about the last week or so, what with Beervana and such. It’s on the way, I promise. In the meantime…)

Around the world in 80 beers episode 4: Russia

From the outside, everything about Russia seems big. Big empty spaces, big novels, big problems. And deep. Deep thoughts, deep voices tinged with hardship and anger. One doesn’t consider them a people given to frivolousness and half-assery. This though is not a big beer, nor a particularly deep beer. Admittedly from Baltika’s range this would be the one with the broadest appeal in the foreign market. They have a dozen or so of which #6, a Baltic porter, I think sounds the most intriguing. But it is the lager I ended up with. Truth be told, despite the friendly (one hopes) words on the label “Meet the Russian Beer” there’s very little that feels Russian about it at all. Continue reading

#32 – Stoke Bomber Smoky Ale

Good, but probably not good enough.

Name: McCashin Family Original Stoke Bomber Smoky Ale
Style: Smoked Ale
Brewed by: McCashin Family brewery (Nelson, New Zealand)
Alc: 5.7% abv.
Price: $10/650ml bottle @ Thorndon New World.

Today’s review is brought to you by the letters ™.

Lots of baggage with this beer. Following on from the kerfuffle caused when Montieths trademarked the term ‘radler’ (which I ranted about in review #12), earlier this year Stoke decided to do the same to, er, protect the term ‘bomber’ in reference to their 650ml bottle size. It’s bad enough when DB does this sort of thing, but when it’s one of your own, as McCashin’s or Stoke (whatever they want to call themselves) were considered to be, it’s been a bitter pill for many to swallow. But are they really still one of the good guys? Continue reading

As I was saying…

Aside

So it has been pointed out to me there has been a certain slackening here as of late. A certain great lumbering slackening which no amount of illness, tribulation, prior engagements or demonic visitations can justify. Though believe me, I shall try. In the meantime it’ll take a little while to get back up to speed while I try and remember how this works so bear with me while I distract you all with a month-old-article I totally would have brought up if I wasn’t…er…bringing all sorts of other stuff up at the time.

#31 – Efes Pilsner

Around the World in 80 Beers episode 3: Turkey

Name: Efes Pilsner
Style: Pale Lager
Brewed by: Anadolu Efes
Alc: 5% abv.
Price: $17/6 x 330ml

It was always going to happen sooner or later. I’m sure the Turks could make some fine brews if they set their minds to it, and maybe they do, but like many other countries the only stuff that seems to escape their borders and make it down to this chilly little backwater is the seemingly omnipresent thin, yellow lager that doesn’t do anyone any favours, least of all the Turks themselves, because this could have been made by almost anybody with a requisite disregard for taste, pride and distinctiveness. It’s not awful, though it is common as muck and very difficult to enjoy. Or, as it turns out, to write about without sounding like a complete dick. Continue reading

#30 – Headstock IPA & Dead Elephant IPA

Around the World in 80 beers episode 2: Canada

Name: Nickel Brook Headstock IPA
Style: IPA (surprisingly enough)
Brewed by: Better Bitters Brewing co., (Burlington, Ontario, Canada)
Alc: 7% abv.

 

Name: Dead Elephant Ale
Style: IPA
Brewed by: Railway City Brewing co., (St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada)
Alc: 6.5% abv.

 

 

The keenly observant will notice that I have again been absent. Now I could say it was due to a bout of consumption, general lethargy or a family crisis involving the antichrist but I’d also have to admit to some trepidation in doing this beer – or rather beers because there are two of them this time – a couple of badass Ontarioian IPAs bequeathed to me on a recent visit by Kim, site godfather and beer and music guru. I had better tread carefully here for I am a stranger in a strange land. I have to say though that any lingering thoughts I had of Canada being filled with mooses, manic flappy-headed farters and, worst of all, ghastly lightweight American-style pale lagers are, thankfully, not quite entirely accurate. These are both fairly big beers; filling, warming and ever so slightly boozy, all of which is good.

Continue reading