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Bintang Pilsner (351 of 1001)

June 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.7

My first ever Indonesian beer now and one that I’ve actually been looking for since I first started working through the beers in the 1001 book. This is a beer that I assumed would be relatively straight forward and easy to pick up in southeast Asia but on my last trip there a couple of years ago there was no sign of it in Singapore, Malaysia or Thailand; I’d didn’t search too hard but I’d thought it would be available everywhere and sadly it was not. The beer is the main one brewed in Indonesia and yet I only managed to pick it up recently when Morrison’s started stocking but it’s better late than never I guess. Brewed in the country since 1930 when Indonesia was still under Dutch rule, the beer is effectively a localised version of Heineken and the brewery is still owned by them so the taste is said to be quite similar so I’m not as hopeful for this one as I was before finding that out.

Appearance (3/5): Medium to light amber in colour but probably not as light as I’d be expecting given it’s a macro pale lager hailing from Asia. The head was a relatively thin, bubbly one that sat a white colour in the glass and initially covered the surface well before starting to turn a little patchy around the edges after thirty seconds or so; there was a touch more build up around the edges through and the beer was a clear one. 3.5
Aroma (4/10): Fairly standard on the nose for the style in the early going, there was some basic grassy notes and a little skunk coming through in the early going whilst some citrus notes were hinted at but never really materialised. The beer was somewhat fresh with the odd lager malt and some earthy hops going but there wasn’t a whole lot going on. Around the middle and towards the end of the beer a hay aroma and faint biscuit started to come through but it was hard to distinguish between smells at times and the grassy notes seemed to dominate for the most part. 2.25
Taste (5/10): Again a basic lager taste that matches the nose closely, there was some grassy flavours and a little corn to open things up before some of the faint citrus touches from the nose started to come through but again they were weak. There was some background biscuit and hay nearer the middle with a bit of vegetable adjunct in there as well but thankfully the skunky flavours were kept to a minimum. The beer was faintly hoppy, mainly from the grassy flavours and the odd bit of grain showed as well but it was nothing to write home about. 2.25
Palate (3/5): This one can only be described as a very light bodied beer that bordered on thin and bland, although it was relatively well carbonated and had a crisp feel that you could easily imagine being refreshing in the Indonesian sun. It’s not got a whole lot going for it and there wasn’t much variety coming through but it was easy to drink with the skunky flavours appearing only briefly and there wasn’t much in the way of offensive flavours beyond them. 2.5

Overall (12/20): This one is pretty much what I’d been expecting when I picked it up, it was an easy going and somewhat refreshing pale lager that could easily be described and basic and bland but definitely not offensive. It was easy to drink without much in the way of flavour showing, some lager malts and the odd grassy flavours were about it really but I won’t complain too much since the beer serves a purpose. I can’t imagine it will be a beer I’d pick up again unless I manage to visit Indonesia, and if I do then I’ll probably end up drinking it 24/7 over there; it’s also not the worse Asian beer I’ve tried which has to count for something.

Brewed In: Surabaya, Central Java, Indonesia
Brewery: PT Multi Bintang
First Brewed: 1930
Full Name: Bir Bintang Pilsner
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 4.7%
Serving: Bottle (620ml)
Purchased: Morrison’s (Glasgow)
Price: £1.67

Taiwan Long Chuan Beer Peach

Rating: 2.05

Following very quickly on from the lemon version of this beer from the same brewery, I’ll now be sampling the Taiwan Long Chuan Beer Peach flavours which will be my second from the Taiwan Tsing Beer Co. and my third in total from Taiwan, the other being the can of Taiwan Beer Gold Medal that I tried and hated a number of years ago. Thankfully the lemon version of this beer wasn’t quite as bad as the first Taiwan beer I tried and although it wasn’t exactly one to write home about, the beer was drinkable and I’m hopeful that this one will be too. It’s not often I get to pick up a peach flavoured beer and I’m also hoping it is more fruit beer than radler this time but given the fact that it is another 2.5% abv. beer, I’m not exactly holding my breath for it.

Appearance (2/5): Even lighter than the lemon version, this one is incredibly light straw coloured that isn’t too far away from water in appearance. There is again a lot of fine bubbles rising to the surface but this time the head is much better, it’s a white and foamy one that sits about a centimetre tall in the glass and holds a lot better than expected too, lasting the opening minute or so before slowly reducing in size.
Aroma (5/10): Plenty of peach in the early going, the nose was again quite artificial but not overly so at least. There was some sugars adding to the sweetness initially with some apricot and floral notes in there too which meant this was a little bit more to it than the lemon version. It’s overly sweet at times and there isn’t much in the way of the traditional beer notes to this one really with the nose rounded off with what was a very sweet, syrupy type aroma to see things out.
Taste (4/10): Sweet with an opening combination of peaches and apricot, there was some oranges and a syrupy type, artificial sweetness to the beer in the early going. It has no bitterness or any of the usual beer flavours coming through, I got a tonne of sugar and a couple of summer fruits and white grapes nearer the middle but that was about it really; again it’s not much like a beer at all.
Palate (2/5): Light bodied but very sweet and with a slightly syrupy feel, the beer was quite smooth for the most part though but could have been a little stronger at times. There was some summer fruits at times but it was fairly one-dimensional for the most part and not very beer like either.

Overall (7/20): This one was another fairly poor offering from the brewery overall although if pushed I would say it was a very slightly worse that the lemon version at times but it was also overly sweet throughout. There was some peach and apricot with a white grape flavour in there too but there wasn’t a whole lot beyond that and it didn’t seem quite as version as expected either which was disappointing.

Brewed In:  Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Brewery: Taiwan Tsing Beer Co.
First Brewed: 2012
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 2.5%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Chung Ying Supermarket (Glasgow)
Price: £1.28

Taiwan Long Chuan Beer Lemon

Rating: 2.15

This one is only my second ever beer from Taiwan and follows on from the can of Taiwan Beer Gold Medal that I tried back in the summer of 2013 in travelling around southeast Asia and picking up a can of the stuff in Singapore on night. That last beer from the country is one that can only be described as terrible and it’s not an experience I want to repeat so hopefully this fruit beer offering that I picked up from a Chinese supermarket in Glasgow a few weeks ago will turn out to be better. I grabbed this lemon flavoured version (despite the fact a lime is shown on the can) alongside their peach flavour since it was an unusual beer and one I hadn’t spotted anywhere before, hopefully it’s not a decision I’ll come to regret. The beer itself comes in at 2.5% abv. so it should be a relatively easy one to drink for what was a 2012 release from the Taiwan Tsing Beer Co. and will be my first from them so far; let’s find out.

Appearance (2/5): A very clear beer, this one is a light golden straw colour that isn’t unlike a pale lager but it’s definitely got a lot more visible carbonation with a lot of active bubbles rising to the surface in the early going. The head is a thin, foamy one that is white in colour but fades to nothing pretty quickly, there is a tiny bit of lace left sitting in the middle of the glass but that is about it really.
Aroma (4/10): It’s not the strongest beer on the nose, there was a combination of lime and lemon coming through but both definitely had an artificial aroma to them with some sugars and sticky sweetness in there too. It’s very much like a lot of radlers I’ve tried when travelling around Europe in the past, there’s not much to it other than some lemonade type notes and a faint touch of corn nearer the end; pretty disappointing stuff really.
Taste (4/10): Starting in a similar vein to the nose, there was some lemon flavours kicking things off and they were at least a touch stronger than with the nose. Towards the middle some lime and various sugars feature with a corn adjunct taste that was a little off. The beer tasted more like an alcopop than anything else with some sticky touches around the middle and basic adjuncts seeing things out.
Palate (3/5): Quite light and artificial on the palate, the beer was definitely well carbonated though and proved quite refreshing on a warm day but it was a touch thin at times. It was generally quite a sticky and very sweet offering with an okay balance that was definitely helped by the fact that the flavours and the nose were both so light.

Overall (7/20): Quite a basic beer overall and one that was more radler than fruit beer despite what the label said, there was also quite a lot of lime showing which seemed to match the picture on the can but not the name of the beer. It was an easy and refreshing one to drink but it was a little light on taste whilst still being miles better than the last beer from Taiwan that I tried. It’s not a classic by any means, it’s not even a good beer really and it’s almost a stretch to call it a beer but it was at least marginally better than expected and hopefully the peach flavour that I’m trying next is slightly better.

Brewed In:  Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Brewery: Taiwan Tsing Beer Co.
First Brewed: 2012
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 2.5%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Chung Ying Supermarket (Glasgow)
Price: £1.28

Red Horse Beer

October 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.3

Time for one of those beer that I really should know better than to pick up now, this one is a bottle that I grabbed at the local Chinese supermarket over the weekend since it was the first time the store has had a new beer I’ve not tried in quite some time. This one is a strong malt liquor from San Miguel in the Philippines and will be the fourth beer from the brewery that I’ll have tried; it’ll also be the first from them since I reviewed their terrible San Mig Light offering when I was in Thailand a few years ago. Introduced in 1982 as the Philippines first extra strong lager, the beer has managed to win a gold medal at the 2014 Australian International Beer Awards as well as a trophy for the best international lager at the same awards a year later. Brewed at various San Miguel breweries across southeast Asia, the beer comes in anywhere between 6% and 8% abv. depending on where it has been brewed; this particular bottle is a 7% offering and to be honest it’s not one I’m looking forward to much; hopefully it can surprise me though.

red-horse-extra-strong-beer

Appearance (2/5): Pouring with a really clear body that is a watery looking amber colour, the beer has quite a lot of bubbles rising to the surface in the early going and the head disappears fast. Initially forming as a thin, quarter centimetre head that was bubbly and white, it managed to appear then disappear completely again in the space of about ten seconds.
Aroma (5/10): Surprisingly light on the nose in the early going for what I thought would be a strong and offensive aroma, this one opened with some light corn and a few touches of skunk but nothing that dominated really. There was a bit of alcohol and some grain which was to be expected but beyond that there was really only some basic vegetable adjuncts and a bit of hay. It’s not exactly a nose that you would call enjoyable but it’s miles better than I expected and I’m not as fearful of the taste as a result; a decent start.
Taste (5/10):
Opening with a slight alcohol sweetness that wasn’t too sickly thankfully and was followed by some basic vegetable adjuncts and some corn. Like the nose, this wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d feared with the majority of the taste coming from some basic lager malts, a light touch of hay and some background skunk. There was a faint spice nearer the end and I got some light sugars rounding things off; again not a bad beer so far, all things considered.
Palate (2/5):
Really thin and bone dry, the palate lets this beer down ever so slightly but you’d expect it to in some respects given the type of beer this one is. There was moderate carbonation to the beer but not too many hops or much bitterness at any point; I did get some touches of sweetness in the early going though and the alcohol seemed well hidden, definitely more so than I thought it would be. Despite the strength it was also a fairly easy beer to drink and went down a lot easier than I’d imagined it would going in.

Overall (10/20): This one was definitely a surprising beer and a lot better than I’d expected it to be without it turning out to be a must try or anything like that. The beer opened with a fairly light nose considering the strength of the beer and thankfully it wasn’t an offensive or unpleasant aroma, I got some touches of corn and the odd adjunct coming through alongside a basic corn and lager malt body. The taste followed on in a similar vein with only the odd touch of alcohol grain coming through and the sweetness from the nose featuring here as well. It’s not exactly a must try offering but it went down a lot better than I thought it would and it’s not one that I’d run scared of were I to stumble across it again either.

Brewed In: Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Brewery: San Miguel Corporation
First Brewed: 1982
Full Name: Red Horse Beer Extra Strong
Type: American Malt Liquor/Imperial Pils
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Chung Ying Grocceries
Price: £2.09

The Himalayan Monkey

September 15, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 1.65

The second of two Indian beers that I have reviewed in quick succession now, this one following on from my recent review of Shimla. Like that previous offering, this is another beer I received as a gift recently and is another new offering from the Mohan Breweries & Distilleries based in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. As was the case with the bottle of Simla that I reviewed, this one comes in at 4.8% abv. and I can’t help but suspect going in that this one will be pretty much the same beer with a few minor alterations; although as only my fifth Indian beer, it’s still one that I’m looking forward to but it’s not one I’m expecting a whole lot from really.

the-himalayan-monkey

Appearance (1/5): Quite a light bodied beer again from this brewery, the beer was a light golden colour that seemed overly watery at first glance. There was some large bubbles rising to the surface and no sign of a head at all sadly; disappointing stuff so far.
Aroma (3/10): Pretty weak on the nose initially, there was a touch of sweetness and some a little grain coming through alongside some basic corn and lager malts. There wasn’t really much to this one other than some faint hay and the odd adjunct nearer the end.
Taste (4/10): Again not an overly strong beer but there was a little more to it than the nose at least, I got some touches of citrus and a faint grassy flavour in the early going before some touches of hay and a basic lager malt taste around the middle. There wasn’t much in the way of any bitterness coming through really but I did detect some touches of sweetness and a few vegetable adjuncts following on behind them. It’s definitely a basic beer but it is at least a step up from the brewery’s last offering.
Palate (2/5): Definitely a thin, light bodied beer but not quite watery, there was some touches of citrus and a faint tang to proceedings. Whilst not an offensive beer on the palate, the balance wasn’t exactly a good one and I can’t image this will be a beer I remember much about in a couple of months.

Overall (7/20): Another very basic beer from Mohan breweries but at the same time it was a major step up from their last offering, Shimla. This one was cheap and basic but unlike its predecessor, this one wasn’t an offensive or overpowering offering thankfully and the skunky flavours were kept to a minimum. There wasn’t a whole lot to the beer really, I got some basic citrus and a few touches of corn in the early going before some grassy flavours featured towards the end. All in all a pretty poor beer but one that was a lot better than I’d expected going in, given the last beer from the brewery was undrinkable.

Brewed In: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Brewery: Mohan Breweries & Distilleries Ltd.
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Home Bargains (Scotland)
Price: Gift

Shimla

September 15, 2016 1 comment

Rating: 1.15

The first of two new Indian beers that I received as gifts recently now, this being a beer that I believe has recently launched as an Indian brewed and bottled beer aimed at the UK market in an attempt to grab some of the market that Cobra, an English brewed Indian beer, seems to dominate. I say Indian brewed as it mentions as much on the bottle but the only address appears to be another English one, I’m hoping that’s just the importers address or where the company is based but I wouldn’t be too surprised either way. As always, I’ll go with what the bottle and a couple of online reports say and list it as only my fourth Indian beer on this blog but it does follow on rather quickly behind last months pint of Lal Toofan that I tried at a local India restaurant; and as I’ve already mentioned, this came as a pair and my next Indian beer won’t be too long in following this one either.

shimla

Appearance (1/5): A really light and ridiculously clear bodied beer, this one is a faint yellow-golden colour and the head initially starts as a thin, bubbly white one but disappears completely after a couple of seconds. It’s quite a poor looking beer overall and the complete lack of head so soon after pouring was quite disappointing.
Aroma (3/10): The aroma was much as I expected, particularly after seeing what it looked like in the glass. The beer opened up with some basic corn and grain notes alongside an adjunct type sweetness and faint hay. There wasn’t a whole lot to it really but some background grassy notes and cheap malts featured nearer the end; poor stuff really.
Taste (2/10): Really cheap tasting, this one kicked off with a combination basic lager malts and a few grassy touches before a huge amount of skunky bitterness featured around the middle. It had an almost burnt taste to it and some faint sweet came through as well, not quite as much as with the nose though. The taste seemed pretty disgusting at point and was a definite struggle to drink with some grain and corn rounding things off in pretty poor fashion.
Palate (1/5): Cheap, very light bodied and thin with an overpoweringly skunky feel to it, this one was a terrible beer from the start and one that I really struggled to work my way down. There was some grains early on and a huge skunky bitterness through the middle that seems slightly burnt too.

Overall (5/20): This one was a really poor beer from the start I’m afraid, I couldn’t even finish it and obviously it’s not one I’d recommend or be going back to. The fact that it claims to be a “premium Indian lager” on the bottle must be a lie, there was little beyond a basic corn and adjunct taste that was loaded with skunky flavours and didn’t seem to have any balance to it either. Although it’s not the worst beer I’ve ever tried, it’s definitely up there and is one that I can only describe as disgusting; give this one a miss folks.

Brewed In: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Brewery: Mohan Breweries & Distilleries Ltd.
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Home Bargains (Scotland)
Price: Gift

Lal Toofan

August 9, 2016 1 comment

Rating: 2.9

A review of what is only my third ever Indian brewed beer now and three have been macro pale lagers sadly, although this one at least shakes things up slightly given that it is brewed in Mumbai when the previous two were both Bangalore brewed offerings from United Breweries. First imported into the UK way back in 1993, this one follows from the bottle of Taj Mahal lager I tried way back in 2010, an offering that is still ranked as the second worst that I have ever tried and later the bottle of Kingfisher I sampled back in 2011 as the third from the country and it’s one that I managed to find on draught in an Indian restaurant in Glasgow’s West End last weekend. When I spotted the beer it was actually the first time that I’d even heard of it and I had to double-check that it wasn’t another UK brewed offering with an Indian style name but I was happy to find out it would be a new beer from the country for me to try. Going in this definitely wasn’t a beer that I was expecting a whole lot from and to be honest I’d have been happy with a basic but drinkable offering, I was just excited to try a new beer from India give how few and far between they seem to be in the UK, with only Kingfisher being one that is relatively easy to find.

Lal Toofan

Appearance (4/5): Light amber in colour and fairly clear looking, this one has a thin white head that is more of a lacing but it does manage to cover the surface at least. There is some touches of lacing on the sides of the glass too and it does look slightly better than I expected to be honest.
Aroma (5/10): Medium strength on the nose, this one opens with some basic lager malts and a touch of grain with some grassy notes following on behind. There was a hint of hay around the middle as well as some skunky notes featuring but thankfully not dominating before some bread malts and basic adjuncts see things out.
Taste (5/10): Following on in a similar fashion to the nose, this one starts with some grains and a few basic lager malts that was expected before some bread malts and corn started to come through around the middle. These were accompanied by touches of vegetable adjuncts and a faint skunky taste but the beer definitely wasn’t the strongest tasting; all things considered, it wasn’t a bad beer really.
Palate (3/5): A relatively smooth beer, although some touches of grain were present from time to time. The beer was a moderately carbonated offering that was somewhat crisp at times but overall it was quite basic, ordinary and bland, coming through with a touch of bitterness towards the end, although not too much it must be said.

Overall (10/20): To be honest this one was definitely a lot better than expected but that wasn’t to say it was a particularly good beer either, just that I was expecting worse. It opened with some basic malts and the odd skunky flavour but it was drinkable and seemed to go well with my curry. That being said, it was a beer that had to be drunk fresh and cold as it definitely started to fade the longer I left it sitting in the glass. there was some grassy touches and a light bitter finish but in truth everything about the beer was quite basic so it’s not one to go hunting for but it would be worth a try if you happen across it in an Indian restaurant sometime soon.

Brewed In: Mumbai, India
Brewery: Shaw Wallace & Company Ltd.
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Draught (Pint)
Purchased: Green Chilli Cafe (Glasgow)
Price: £3.80