Strange Foreign Beer
American beer is held in genial contempt by most Brits, largely due to a concoction made of rice husks called Budweiser.
This is an American icon, brewed originally in St. Louis, Missouri. The American version of Budweiser should NOT be confused with the Czech original Budvar Budweiser, which is a horse of a very different colour. Now includes a Budvar Dark (available in my local Morrisons for about £1.38 for a 500ml bottle - worth a try).
Other American brews include Rolling Rock, Michelob, Miller, Schlitz,Coors and various micro brewery outputs in places like Boston ,NY and San Francisco. Many can be freely purchased in the UK.
Mexican beers are also imported cheaply into the United States, and found in greatest abundance in the Southern and Western states, to go with the fine food of the invaders. Tecate (served best in an ice-cold can, with rock salt and a slice of lime on the rim), Bohemia, El Sol, Negro Modelo (their version of a dark beer), Pacifico Claro and Corona are all light, frothy lagers without too much alcohol punch but perfect in the warmer climes. Corona is also sold in UK stores, but it's not the real Mexican formula; it's actually some sugary shite brewed outside of Birmingham -- don't bother. Which begs: What really is the difference between sugary shite and the ready-mixed shandy called Corona?
India have also produced a popular beer known as Cobra which is popular amongst residents in the UK it is now served in various pubs. Kingfisher is another fine example of an Indian beer, and it is said that due to the low gas content, Indian beers help to settle your stomach and reduce burping during curry consumption.
Travellers to Hong Kong may be surprised to find San Miguel on tap in many of the local bars ( and those with fond memories of the 'new' China Fleet Club in the Wanchai will be well aware of this anomaly). This is because San Miguel is brewed under licence in Singapore for the Far Eastern market.
You don't need to go abroad to be offered Strange Foreign Beer - In many British Chinese restaurants you may be offered a beer from China called Tsingtao.
- The history behind this brew is that the port this beer is named after was once a German Treaty port, in the period 1880 to 1939. The German colonial authorities imported a Bavarian brewery lock ,stock and barrel to keep their ex-pat staff happy. When the Reds took over Tsingtao (renamed Qingdao after the new-fangled pin-yin system) in 1949, they kept the brewery going and now it is exported world wide. Its a bit like wifebeater...nothing to write home to Grossmutti about...
Schtop! The best known Dutch beer is regretibly Heineken, sold worldwide, although the better product is of course Grolsch. Grolsch is the staple beer of the Royal Netherlands Army(not the navy, those wankers drink Heineken). Grolsch is the only non-German beer to pass the test for the Reinheitsgebot. Which though it is a pretty useless bit of knowledge is kind of cool to "know".* Watch out when drinking this real mens beer though, it has the same alcoholic percentage as Stella. Unfortunately for even light drinkers, Grolsch is pure bottled headache. How the Dutch managed to bottle headache shall remain a crayshee sheckshee mystery.
- Pilsner Urquell also claims to conform to the Reinheitsgebot, as does Founders Brewery in New Zealand (which is kosher too, apparently). There must be more...
In a bold move Tesco have recently started selling Guinness brewed in Nigeria. This is a cheeky little number with 7.5%ABV and a somewhat dryer taste than its Dublin brewed counterpart, Guinness FES. Well worth a taste.
Home to a rather fine little number called Keo - whose profits are boosted dramatically by the UK forces still in Cyprus. It can be found in the UK now as well.
Canadians famously love drinking. So you'd expect their beer to be okay? Well, beer often doesn't mean "lager", unlike with their heathen southern neighbours, and it is generally better than Yank beer (in that it does actually contain alcohol.) Depending where you are, it usually also actually tastes of something. But you are probably so cold that your tastebuds stopped functioning 20 degrees ago and your nose will be completely blocked. By icicles.
- Keith's - Halifax beer. Best drunk in loud company. Excellent drinking song (Barrett's Privateers). Watch out for some college kid putting orange slices in it if you try the expensive stuff though.
- Labatts - own Keith's but also produce their own stuff. Better than (Yank) Budweiser. Just.
- Molson - another large brewery. Produce irritating adverts for Coors, which is best avoided. Rickards is better. "Sub Zero" is an attempt to out-bogan the Aussies.
- Lots and lots of micro-breweries. Almost always good for a laugh.