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World Beer Taste Test

Updated on April 7, 2012

International Beers

Over the Easter weekend I am going to spend some time trialing beers from around the world, of course, within moderation.

I am a fan of beer, especially the lager beers from around the world and the earthy ales from the UK. While I always consume within moderation, nothing beats a beer on a warm sunny (or hot) day or during the depths of winter with a dark ale or stout. The only problem with beer is the amount of carbs in the drink that puts on weight around your beer belly area (especially if you are middle aged...just like I am!)

So before I started to test these beers I did the right thing, went on a 5 kms run to work off that beer gut before it starts forming!

One final word before I start the reviews...the great thing about beer tasting is that you must swallow the beer and you can't leave the rest in the glass, so you need to empty the glass or bottle before continuing to the next beer. So, lets start our journey!

Phoenix - Mauritius 5% Alcohol

Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean that is famous for it's white beaches and honeymoon locations. This beer is the national pride having won the famous Grand Gold Medal in 2007. The drop has been brewed since 1963.

This beer is amber in colour with a very bitter after taste that is strangely refreshing. The beer doesn't seem to hold it's head, but it still gives off a nice hoppy smell. I must say that this beer doesn't challenge you and is a bit plain without any real distinctive features. Having said this it is a good robust lager to drink on a nice hot and humid day.

Phoenix is available in Australia from First Choice Liquor for $9 for a 4-pack.

Coopers Clear - Australia 4.5% Alcohol

Adelaide independent, family owned brewer, Coopers have developed this first foray into trend beer of the moment, low carb (or Lite in the US). This beer is pale in colour, with a very dry taste. Interestingly there is a hint of pale ale (Coopers flag ship beer) in the after taste and it smells really hoppy, as if it is a home brew.

This beer is light on flavour and I don’t think that it is one of Coopers best attempts, but the shape of the can and its size combined with the fact that it is low carb style means that it will find some sort of market.

In this case low carb means low taste and I don’t think I’ll be rushing back to try another one of these.

Coopers Clear sells for $14 a six-pack

Steinlager - New Zealand 4.8% Alcohol

New Zealand produces beer that is as good as its Sav Blanc! Top breweries in New Zealand include the Lion Nathan brands of Speights & Canterbury and Monteiths. Steinlager is up there with the world’s best and is NZs premier export beer.

Steinlager is a nice sharp and crisp beer that contains a solid amber colour, but once again with the imports it failed to hold its head.

With its clean, dry taste it reveals a host of deep flavours in every mouthful. You can see why this is NZs export beer. Steinlager doesn’t challenge you like the deep colours of a Speights, but because it is so clear and full of flavour it makes you want to return for another bottle.

Steinlager retails for around $4 a bottle.

Lucky Beer - China 4.8% Alcohol

The novelty of this beer is the bottle. It’s in the shape of Buddha and you can run his tummy while you drink to bring you good luck. Lucky Beer is from China and you can see why it is a hit in China and across the world. But the proof is in the drinking and Lucky doesn’t let us down.

It has a clean clear finish which put’s it right up there with World class lagers. It has a nice amber colour and it keeps its head right through to the finish.

Tonight I drank the beer with some tacos and the spiciness complemented the flavours of the beer. A really nice drop in or out of the bottle, highly recommended and you can keep the bottle as an ornament afterwards (free gift with purchase!)

Lucky Beer sells for $25 for a 12-pack.

Henninger - Germany 4.8% Alcohol

Since 1869 this Frankfurt brewer has been producing this beer. Like the others I have tried it has a strong amber colour and a real nutty flavour, similar to other beers from this part of the globe.

The aftertaste is sweet rather than bitter, unlike the Australian beers. Maybe this has something to do with the barley in Australia verses the Pilsner grain used in this region?

The head doesn’t keep but this is a very drinkable beer that continues to challenge your tastebuds right through to the final drop.

Henninger is currently on special at First Choice Liquor for 3 x 660ml bottles for $10. Single 330ml bottles are usually $3.

Sapporo - Japan 5% Alcohol

This beer is a Japanese beer but the can I am holding has been brewed in Canada! Sapporo are happy to brew off shore and have just recently signed a deal with Coopers in Adelaide to brew their beer under the Sapporo label for the Australian market. Not bad for a brewer who’s been around since 1876.

Sapporo has a nice dark amber colour and holds its head very well. There is a sweetness in the aftertaste with a really nice barley smell. I ate some salt & vinegar potato crisps with this beer and it complemented it very well.

Interestingly there is a slight cloudy appearance in the beer and this complements well with Coopers cloudy beers and you can see why both brewers have just completed a joint venture deal – cloudiness and taste is very similar.

I found this to be a really great lager beer and can highly recommend it. Sapporo sells for $8 for a 650ml can.

XXXX Gold - Australia 3.5% Alcohol

This is a major commercial beer from Queensland, where XXXX is the local drop, but Gold, a mid-strength beer is the #1 in their market. This is mainly due to the tropical weather in Queensland and as this beer is lower strength you can drink it all day without getting intoxicated.

The interesting fact about this beer is that due to the lower alcohol brewing process it is lower carbs (by about a 1/3) over other beers.

So what does it taste like? Nothing special is the answer. It is a bland beer with a slight nutty taste, a good medium amber colour, but a limited head. Overall it is an all day drinking beer, especially if you are working outside or can’t afford a hangover the next day.

XXXX Gold usually retails for around $40 for a 30 can pack.

Furstenburg - Germany 5.3% Alcohol

This beer is brewed in the Black Forest region in Germany and has a high alcohol content at 5.3%. The colour is pale amber with a very nutty flavour and hoppy smell in the brew. Interestingly the beer is very dry and has a very bitter aftertaste. What is really apparent is that you can taste the alcohol and feel its effect almost immediately.

This is a lighter looking beer than most from Germany, but with the high alcohol rate that does take away from the enjoyment and flavour of the beer. It does retain a really good crisp lager taste, but it doesn’t challenge you like other brews from this region. The head remains to about half way through the glass and it is a very bubbly beer.

This would be a great refreshing beer on a very hot day (above 35 degrees Celsius). Furstenburg sells for $3 a bottle at First Choice Liquor.

Budejovicky Budvar - Czech Republic 5.0% Alcohol

I had been looking forward to this beer for a long time, this is the original Budweiser and it rocks! Apparently immigrants from the Czech region bought this style of beer to the USA and Budweiser was born in a poor watery style of beer. So it was great to be tasting the real thing again.

The colour is a perfect mid-amber hue and you can really smell the pilsner in the beer which creates a refreshing feel to the beer. It is almost the perfect lager. It retains a crisp, clear and clean taste from the first drop through to the final mouthful. The only criticism is that it doesn’t retain its head.

I will be Prague in June this year and I am looking forward to have a lot of this while in town! This has to be the best beer of the weekend and is available for $4 a bottle.

XXXX Summer Bright Lager - Australia 4.2% Alcohol

Regardless of what we think of the XXXX brewery this is a really easy drinking beer. A pale amber greets us with a head that lasts. This is another low card beer from the XXXX range that has a fresh, almost sweet aftertaste. If the brewers wanted to capture the essence of summer they have nearly bottled it!

This is a great beer to have over summer without growing a beer gut at the same time. It is very drinkable and comes highly recommended.

Summer Bright is available at most bottle shops for round $40 for a 24 bottle carton.

Fax - Denmark 5% Alcohol

The shop assistant told me that she had only recently tried Faxe for the first time and has become a huge fan of the drop. Well, after having a few mouthfuls I can tell why. This Danish brewer has created a great lager that has a really nutty coloured amber with lots of nuts featuring in the flavour.

This beer tastes nothing like Calsberg and it is a full rounded beer. You can really think while drinking its huge 1 litre can that maybe the Vikings actually drank this beer as well!

It has a long lasting after taste and is a really nice premium beer from this region – it really is a pleasant drop.

Faxe is available from First Choice Liquor for $8 for a 1000ml can.

That's All Folks

Thanks for stopping by to read my weekend of beer indulgence! To summarise I got to enjoy some really nice beers this weekend with my top 3 being:

  1. Budejovicky Budwar
  2. Sapporo
  3. Lucky Beer

Honourable mentions go to Faxe, Henninger and Summer Bright, but I'll be keeping clear of Furstenburg and Coopers Clear in the future.

Thanks for stopping buy and I hope that I have inspired you to expand your taste bud experience with different beers in the future. Cheers Michael


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    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 3 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Hi travmaj - been off line for a while. I would love to hear about your beers, will you post a blog? Over Xmas I got through 14 new brews and will post a hub up on them in the next couple of months. Cheers Michael

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Lovely. Just left Bruges, and enjoyed so many varieties - have a list somewhere but am travelling.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 3 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Reading the hub was like tasting a fine beer. You have written well and it gives everyone an interesting read. Beer is a light drink and is enjoyable. Thank you for this nice post. Shared on FB.

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Thanks for commenting Darrylmdavis. I've tried Urquell in the past and in fact had a bottle of it last night. It's a delicious beer. When I am in Praque in a couple of week's time I'll make sure that I try Staropramen - thanks for the tip! Cheers Michael

    • Darrylmdavis profile image

      Darrylmdavis 5 years ago from Brussels, Belgium

      Budvar was my intro to Czech beer many years ago. If you like it, also try Urquell and Staropramen :-)

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      I really like Theakston's Old Peculiar, Chef, it was introduced to me by a friend from Sheffield (who has lived in Australia for over 30 years)and it is a wonderful drop. Everytime I travel to the UK I aim to try new brews and local ales to 'enhance my experience'. Cheers Michael

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 5 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      Loved this beer comparison, assessment right up there with the best. (All we need in the UK is 35 degrees on the thermometer and I'd be slurping along with you Michael!)

      My best friend is a real ale fiend and is always

      trying to drag me along to his ale evenings for pints of this and that. Great names too....and strong!He calls it medicinal.Elbow Therapy.

      Yorkshire where I live has plenty of brews...Theakston's Old Peculiar,Samuel Smith, Ossett Brewery Specials. Now I'm getting thirsty I'll stop.

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      It's about 14 quid for a small 6-pack! What a game last night - I didn't get up to watch it but recorded it and watched it before going to work. Cisse has to be the buy of the century. I've been having fun at work paying out the Spurs supporters saying that we will get your Europe place!

    • JBastow profile image

      JBastow 5 years ago from Gateshead United Kingdom

      Wowza! 22dollars seems allot of money but I'm not sure of the exchange rate.I know that I paid £2.50 for a 550ml bottle today when I went to a pub before the match and also I can pick up a 550ml bottle from the local corner shop for around £1.70 which in my opinion is great value.

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Thanks JBastow. I'm a huge fan of Newcastle Brown, but our local bottle shops want to charge $22 for a 6-pack of 330ml bottles! When I am in the UK in July I will be hopping into these a fair bit!

    • JBastow profile image

      JBastow 5 years ago from Gateshead United Kingdom

      Definitely the best way to be celebrating the Easter weekend, you should also try my favorite which is Newcastle Brown Ale.

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Thanks Turtlewoman for our comment. I can't wait for Coopers to start distributing Sapporo properly so we have have it more often. I had a couple at the Adelaide Fringe and was sold on its flavour.

    • Turtlewoman profile image

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      What a great way to celebrate Easter! I love beer and Sapporo is my favorite! Once in awhile I'll take it with Sake! Voted up and funnnn!

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Will do Eliza. I'll also be in England after Prague so I'll be sure to work through a stack of your lovely ales & bitters as well.

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Yum Kyricus, Red long do you have to wait before you can partake? Hope you can find some Lucky Beer, I think you would enjoy the fresh crisp lager taste as well as the unique bottle.

    • ElizaDoole profile image

      Lisa McKnight 5 years ago from London

      An Australian doing a beer tasting? Who would have thought eh? Seriously though, I really enjoyed your method and explanations. You have let me know about some beers I hadn't heard of and I like reading this hub. Thanks for all the hard work putting it together, and enjoy Budvar Beers in Prague!

    • Kyricus profile image

      Tony 5 years ago from Ohio

      Now there's a nice way to spend the Easter Weekend. I've got a batch of Red Ale I'm going to be bottling Easter Sunday before I head out to the family.

      Nice write up and video, I enjoyed reading and watching.

      I don't think they sell that brand of Chinese beer here where I live, but I'm going to look for it. It looks like one I'd like to give a taste.

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      I hope you find some time for a drop or two Hally! Easter is a great time to spend with the family - we have just spent Sunday at the Zoo and are having a bit of a feast tonight. Enjoy your Easter.

    • Hally Z. profile image

      Hally Z. 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      What a great idea! I'm so jealous of your Eastertime activity! I just sat down now after about 6 hours of non-stop grocery shopping and cooking for tomorrow's feast- and there will still be more cooking tomorrow. Ugh....