#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

#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

Review #26 – Crest Super

It could be worse, conceivably.

An auspicious day, this. May the first, international worker’s day, when sweaty layabouts worldwide belt out the Internationale¬†almost as if it still means anything; neopagan Beltane, which really should be Samhain here, the end of the harvest and the beginning of the dark half of the year, marked with the opening of gates to the various netherworlds. It is also the feast day of St. James the Less, an epithet I am not going to mock if his dead-but-not-really spirit happens to be out and about (though if you’re reading this, zombie Jim, it’s not as bad as being remembered as Charles the Fat or Charles the Simple or George the Worryingly Mad and they were all kings). But it’s also tightarse Tuesday, and I choose to commemmorate the day with another cheapie from the nasty end of the shelf, the Crest Super.

Continue reading

Review #10 – Melchers Dutch

Melchers Dutch Gold Lager, aka Melchers Rembrandt Masterpiece (Pale Lager, 5% abv). InBev (Leuven, Belgium). $2.49/500ml can.

Canned meh. Better than it sounds.

After a week long Southern sojourn I find myself back in Wellington again on tight-arse Tuesday*, and it’s with a feeling of dread I pick out another can of Dutch pale lager. The last one was frankly awful, and it’s not until I get this home that I discover to my horror that this is in fact brewed by the same company. Upon further investigation though there are signs of encouragement. Continue reading

Review #9 -Sprig & Fern Tasman Lager

Tasman Lager (Strong Lager, 6.5%). Sprig & Fern, Nelson, New Zealand. $11/1.3 litre rigger.

The good stuff.

Tight-arse Tuesday round two, and I’m attacking the Sprig & Fern Tasman Lager which has been looking out at me from the shelves at Pak’n’Save for a while now. $11 for a 1.3 litre plastic rigger doesn’t exactly scream quality, but it is undeniably good value – assuming it’s drinkable. I can try and convince myself that decent beer need not come in a bottle or (god forbid) a can. But something’s not right. I read that Sprig & Fern are actually in the process of setting up a tavern on Tinakori road, within theoretical walking distance of my house, to sell their ‘award-winning’ range of craft beers. It opens in late February or early March, and while it’s their first North of the strait they have five in the Nelson area. I read on and these awards actually mean something. I mean, I’m sure even the Atlas from last week won an award somewhere, no doubt at some backwoods Albanian festival no reputable brewer could be bothered entering anything into but I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. These people might actually know what they’re doing. Then I find some reviews and they are utterly glowing. I’m left confused and intrigued. It’s cheap, so what’s the catch again? Continue reading

Review #5 – Atlas Super Strong 12%

It’s not as bad as it looks. It’s considerably worse.

Atlas Strong Beer – Strong Pale Lager, 12% abv./ InBev Breweries, Breda, Netherlands/ $7 per 500ml can.

It can be expensive being a beer snob. So, starting today, I’ll be trying once a week to visit the forgotten and unfashionable end of the shelf, trying to find something affordable and drinkable – or at lest non-toxic – amongst the unloved inhabitants of the savage black heart of the local bottle shop. I’m hoping ‘tight-arse Tuesday’ catches on, though not to the extent where a certain pizza chain decides it has grounds to sue for breach of intellectual property rights. Continue reading