11 April 2008

The bitter lessons of experience

Knowing that good beer would be hard to find here in Cyprus, I brought emergency hop rations with me, in the form of some Goose Island IPAs, and one-a-day of those is keeping the shakes away. While buying them in Redmond's last weekend I spotted yet another new batch of Americans. I took one on holiday with me: the East India Pale Ale from Brooklyn Brewery. It's a shockingly malty little chap, pouring a gorgeous shade of red-gold. I guess it's the English hops which mean there's no green whack on the nose or up-front bitter flavour punch that normally comes from the American Indians. Instead it's smooth and aromatically sweet with just a pinch of dry peppery bitterness on the end. For all that, it's quite easy going and not at all the monster that the 6.8% ABV tag might suggest. Well-crafted, enjoyable, but I'm looking forward to today's Goose Island after it.

Speaking more generally, matters have taken a slight turn for the better in the last few days, beerwise. French supermarket chain Carrefour have supplied me with some Hoegaarden and Budvar: quite acceptable for poolside and barbecue purposes. I also found a new (to me) type of Carlsberg: the lemon-flavoured Carlsberg Edge. I assumed this was another Mediterranean special from Mr Photiades, but it bears the label of Carlsberg UK so it's presumably imported from Britain especially for the shaven-headed gentlemen displaying their protuberant abdomena beneath ill-fitting replica sporting apparel. Or more likely for their ladyfolk who all appear to have been generously upholstered in pink leather, since Carlsberg Edge is very sugary sweet and far more like an alcopop than a beer. It reminds me a lot of the Hoegaarden Citron I encountered in England a couple of years ago, except instead of a toned-down 3% ABV, this is a fuller 4.6%. The taste and texture will allow you to rip through a cold six-pack of these very easily, but if you manage to keep it down, I'd say it makes itself felt the next day. Ack.

Is it nearly time to go home?


  1. My bottle of East India Pale Ale is still sitting in my beer fridge, but it's not what I anticipated from your assessment.

  2. I look forward to reading your appraisal. 'Tweren't what I were expecting at all.

  3. Looking at your photos...have you moved all week?

    I liked the Brooklyn EIPA, but it suffers in comparison with Goose Island.

  4. I haven't moved for drinking purposes: no point.

    I have seen lots of ruins and lizards, though. It's what Cyprus is good at.

  5. I'll swap with you, if you want to come to London. These last few days we've been lashed with rain and hail on an almost hourly basis.

    I've said it before - get stuck into the vino and forget beer for a few days!

  6. D'y'know, I've found bugger-all Cypriot white worth drinking, and it's too warm for me to really enjoy red, except after dark.

    I have discovered the late-night joy of seven-star Metaxa, however. Mmm, parma violets.