World beer advent calendar: postscript

Well, another Christmas has gone by, and another alcoholic advent calendar is complete. Well, I never actually completed the whisky advent calendar, which is something I thought I might do this year…but I got ill in December, and drinking every single day is already a bit of an ask and not too healthy. In fact, it will be terribly obvious despite my attempt at scheduling posts that I don’t have a beer a day, or anything like that. My final two beers were consumed on 29 December!

As I finish my slightly-oddly-sweet Asahi, and look at the shell of a box that it came in, I have realised a few things about my taste in beer.

First off, I definitely have a preference for dry European lagers, especially German beers. Basically I think that if you’re going to do a crisp, dry lager, you have to do it really well, like Warsteiner, but if you’ve got some odd flavours in there then it’s not going to be to my taste.

That takes me to my second point, which is if you’re going to have flavours, make them interesting. I thought that the Belhaven did that really well, though looking back at the Craft beer advent calendar two beers from the same brewery got lesser 7 and 6.5 scores. I think, on the whole, that I was a little more picky for that advent calendar (the posts were longer too!).

I’m not one to say that I’m an expert on beers, nor am I ever going to say that my taste in beer is universally applicable to others. I’m absolutely sure there are people out there who like the opposite of what I do, or who think Stella is a classy beer.

But I’m pleased to have tried most of these beers, and I’m glad to have had this experience this Christmas. I do recommend this as an advent calendar, though if there were one thing I could change, it would be adding more interesting beers (like Namibian Windhoek) in place of the common beers you get all the time.

7/10 – good advent calendar!

World beer advent calendar 24: Asahi (Japan)

And so it ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper

Name: Asahi

Country of Origin: Japan (brewed in…Italy)

Alc vol: 5.2%

Well, here we are at the end of all things. Funnily enough, the advent calendar is book-ended by two beers from my mother- and father-land respectively. However, this beer is brewed in Italy, not in Japan.

I’ve known Asahi for many years, and for a long time it was one of my favourite beers. And with the danger of sounding like a broken record, it was when they stopped importing it and started brewing it locally that I stopped enjoying it. That said, I’m not sure I’ve had an Italian-brewed version before.

So this is…interesting. Asahi in its original form is very crisp and dry (hence Asahi super-dry…which I assume has no connection to the clothing range. This ticks most of those boxes, but has a strange sweetness to it that I’m not used to. It’s very faint, but it’s definitely there; this is not Asahi. But it’s not bad either. So they’ve at least done a decent job with the final beer.

But I can’t help thinking that if they reversed the beers, it would be better. Ending with a Warsteiner would have crowned it off.


World beer advent calendar 23: Tuborg (Denmark)

Name: Tuborg

Country of Origin: Denmark (brewed in UK)

So at least Tuborg has a ring pull. But that’s about all that it has going for it, unfortunately; it’s supposedly hoppy, or at least has pictures of hops on the front, but it doesn’t really taste that nice; it’s got a strange chemical taste, possibly trying to be citrus, but really not that close.

I thought of Tuborg as a decent beer, but I haven’t had it very much; I can now see that it’s really nothing special. And in this case (as in almost every case), I came to my conclusions before realising it was brewed in the UK.

5/10 – ah well. Never mind.

World beer advent calendar 22: Peroni (Italy)

With comparison UK bottle

Name: Peroni

Country of Origin: Italy (imported)

Alc vol: 5.1%

Well, this advent calendar is slightly petering out – though with today’s beer, at least the bottle is unfamiliar if the beer itself isn’t. I’ve not seen Peroni in this kind of bottle; in fact, I had to double check that this was the same type of beer, and it turns out that it is.

But other than that, the beer is exactly the same as other Peronis I’ve had. And I have quite a lot – it’s easily available and one of the better ones (and if you buy Peroni in this country, it’s imported rather than brewed in the UK).

Which is to say that it’s fairly enjoyable. It’s light, has a bit of a hoppy flavour, and is on the refreshing side of things. And if I didn’t have it a lot, I think I’d be happy that it turned up, especially with the flashy bottle.


World beer advent calendar 21: Tiger (Singpore)

Name: Tiger

Country of Origin: Singapore (brewed in UK)

Alc Vol: 4.8%

It took a bit of googling to work out where Tiger beer actually comes from; it’s apparently originally from Singapore, though I doubt it’s brewed there in much quantity any more. It’s another beer I associate with curry, which is why I’d have actually assumed it was from India.

I’m a bit at risk of running out of adjectives to describe the samey lagers that you get. These perhaps don’t warrant a review blog, but there has been enough variety to keep this at least a bit interesting to write.

This beer is pretty standard, without much to say for it; but clean, easy drinking, and without much negative to say for it, but not much interesting either.


World beer advent calendar 20: Kronenbourg 1664 (France)

Name: Kronenbourg 1664

Country of Origin: France (brewed in the UK)

Alc vol: 5%

There’s no picture. I didn’t take one and I can’t be bothered to do so now, not for Kronenbourg.

Maybe this needs a side trip on how advent calendars should work. I think I’ve said this before – yes, I have – but putting something average, or a beer that’s banana-flavoured, in at the late stage of an advent calendar is cruel.

So this time the beer isn’t banana flavoured, but it’s Kronenbourg 1664, which is once again so easily available in the UK that it’s hardly a wold beer. And this one’s brewed in the UK anyway.

Rather than talk about this boring beer, I did a bit of research, and it turns out that this company is the same company that make the red and white Kronenbourg bottles that you get in France. They don’t taste great either (they’re good by the pool but so small that you feel like you’re drinking very fast), but at least it’s something more interesting than this beer.

5/10 – I’m annoyed…and slightly fearful of getting Foster’s tomorrow.

World beer advent calendar 19: Amstel (Netherlands)

Name: Amstel

Country of Origin: Netherlands (brewed in the UK)

Alc vol: 4.5%

Going back to the theme of what beers remind me of, Amstel, for me, will always make me think of Champions League football, because there was a time when the Champions league coverage was always sponsored by Amstel (rather than the natural gas company sponsoring it now). I’m not sure I’ve had Amstel very often, but I think of it as a standard European lager – pretty easy drinking, but nothing special.

And I was right – there is nothing really memorable about this. If I was in a European bar I’d feel safe in the knowledge that this was a perfectly drinkable beer, but I wouldn’t remember anything about it. Mind you, this could be because it’s another beer brewed in the UK…

7/10 to be honest, if it’s not causing problems then I’m okay with it.

World beer advent calendar 18: Ichnuso (Sardinia)

Game on!

Name: Inchuso

Country of origin: Sardinia (imported)

Alc vol: 4.7%

Another interesting beer I’ve never heard of. Sardinia is not somewhere I know a great deal about; I can place it on a map and I think it’s essentially part of Italy. I kind of imagined this beer would be a bit exotic – in fact, though, it was pretty bland. Not at all in an unpleasant way – it just didn’t really taste of much.

6/10 I bet it would be better if I were on holiday in Sardinia…

World beer advent calendar 17: Mythos (Greece)

Name: Mythos

Country of Origin: Greece (imported)

Alc Vol: 5%

I’ve had a number of beers, but never this one. The exciting thing here was actually the top – it was basically a kind of ring pull. Loved it – meant that you didn’t have to have a beer opener, which I suppose opens you up to the beer accidentally being opened. I’ve always wondered why some bottles are screw caps, some like this, and some need a bottle opener.

The beer itself here wasn’t anything special – there was a bit of fizz, a bit of flavour, but nothing easily pinpointed. But it was drinkable, and it went very well with the pizzas I was eating – I’d certainly be happy ordering it.


World beer advent calendar 16: Kingfisher (India)

Guest post by Clifford Matsuya

Name: Kingfisher

Country of Origin: India (brewed in the UK)

Alc vol: 4.8%

Perhaps it’s picking this beer up after the memory of last night’s (?) Super Bock, but drinking the Kingfisher felt like a drinking a glass of orange juice after brushing your teeth.

The beer had only subtle flavours during the initial sip, and later tasted like it had been watered down – lacking both depth of flavour, and after taste. And yet still managed to fill me with loathing.

3/ 10 – disappointing, but at least I felt hydrated.