09 April 2008

Villa of the Damned

Travel arrangements not of my making have landed me in Cyprus for the week. The whole island is a permanent building site and the cement is barely dry on the villa I'm staying in, but there's wireless broadband, so I'm surviving. I was here before, several years ago, so was perfectly aware that beer is not one of the island's strongpoints. Therefore it is in the spirit of determined and pointless tickerism that I here present these offerings.

The dominant local brand is Keo, from a manufacturer in Limassol which pumps out wine, spirits, "sherry" and this maize-laden pale lager. It's a very light and limpid shade of yellow and as gassy as you might expect. It's bulked up with maize, and I suspect quite a lot of it too: the flavour is very sweet and very corny. There's also a severe lack of body so the finish tails off into wateriness where the hops bite ought to be. I'm not a fan.

Carlsberg is the other ubiquitous brand on the island, and it's been brewed here since 1966. Certainly it's one to turn to for a bit less sweetcorn and a bit more hops than Keo. The brewery is owned by drinks magnate, property developer, financier and all-round Big Cheese Photos Photiades. His minions churn out another beer under his own brand, called Leon. It shows that the people brewing this have been making Carlsberg for nearly half a century: it's a very heavily carbonated golden lager, with a decently full body and just a hint of bitterness. Carlsberg tend to be quite proprietorial about their yeast and hops, according to their hype. Leon makes me wonder how close an eye the lads above in Copenhagen are keeping on their licensees at the opposite corner of the continent.

I should get another post in before I leave. No, there won't be any good beer in it. Probably (as Mr Photiades might say).


  1. This explains the hit from Cypress on my blog. It baffled me until I read your post. I thought it might be some poor beer loving bastard window shopping for decent beer.

  2. And by Cypress I mean Cyprus, not someone living in an evergreen coniferous tree.....

  3. some poor beer loving bastard window shopping for decent beer
    Yep, that's me.

  4. Rather than indulge in what you admit is "pointless tickerism", why not have a glass of wine or something? Or just give your liver a rest for a week!

  5. Leon could have been the greatest beer the world has ever seen, but I wouldn't have known until I cracked open a bottle.

    With Keo I just wanted to see if it was as bad as I remember. It is, but they could have changed the recipe.

    Fundamentally, I wouldn't really be in a position to comment on beer if I deliberately went around the place not drinking it.

  6. "Fundamentally, I wouldn't really be in a position to comment on beer if I deliberately went around the place not drinking it."

    I couldn't disagree with that more - you don't need to be absolutely single minded about something to comment on it!

  7. I'm not sure where you're seeing the single-mindedness, but I do think one has to have direct experience of something (Keo, for instance) in order to comment on it.

    It sounds to me like you're objecting more to my writing about crap beer than my actual drinking of the wretched stuff.

  8. Au contraire, I've written about crap holiday lager before too - voila.

    I think I misunderstood you. I thought you meant that one couldn't comment on beer generally if one sometimes chose not to drink beer from time to time. In other words, I thought you were implying that one needed to be a ticker of some sort - who doesn't pass up the chance to try new beers - in order to write a beer blog - which would rule me out. Your response however suggests that's not what you meant at all, so sorry!

  9. Ahh. No worries. Except, I don't do comment on beer generally except where it illustrates commentary on a specific beer or beers.

    Think of this not so much as a blog as a particularly long-winded ticker's notebook.

    And thank you for scribbling in my margins.

  10. I suppose I take exactly the opposite approach. I don't comment on individual beers unless it helps to illustrate the opinion I'm expressing or - more often - the story I want to write. Sometimes shoehorning beer in simply becomes too much and I just write off topic.

  11. Yes, yours is a much harder path to follow, especially if you're aiming to be writing something more-or-less every day.

    Whereas drinking a beer and then writing about it is a piece of piss.