Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Review: Hoegaarden Grand Cru

Hoegaarden Grand Cru from Brouwerij van Hoegaarden
Rating: A-

Had a bottle of this at the Sands in Macau to top off quite a nice day. Appearance is pale and very cloudy, light yellow/orange in color, good head and lacing, despite higher than usual abv. Smell is true to the description, full or orange citrus and corriander. Taste is sweet, heavy on Belgian yeast on top of the citrus and spice already noted. Alcohol is noticeable. Mouthfeel is on the thick side of medium in terms of body, well-carbonated. Drinkability is decent.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-25-2007 05:33:48

Review: Fuller's 1845

Fuller's 1845 from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Rating: A-

Purchased at City Super in Shatian. Appearance is rich and red in color, huge amount of carbonation and bubbles that exhibit exceptionanl retention and leave lace. Aroma is shockingly vinuous at first, slightly boozy. Dark fruits, earthy hops and sweet malts take over as it warms. Same can be said for the flavor - vinuous and boozy at first, but improving as it warms to a quite nice strong ale. Bitterness is well-balanced. Mouthfeel is medium body, well-carbonated. Drinkability is aided by the just-right alcohol content.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-25-2007 05:30:07

Review: Yebisu The Hop

Yebisu The Hop from Sapporo Breweries Ltd.
Rating: B

When I happened to come across a beer with a name like this in a Hong Kong grocery store, of course I had to get it.

Appearance was typical of the style, pale straw/gold, but with a nice head and decent lacing. Aroma was, true to packaging, nice: strong floral and spicy noble hop aromas. Granted my expectations were very low, but I was surprised by this one. Flavor was less impressive, but still decent and by no means objectionable in any way. Mouthfeel light-medium, good carbonation. Drinkability above average.

Definitely the best macro-brewed Asian beer I have ever had.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-25-2007 05:25:19

Review: Hong Kong Beer

Hong Kong Beer from Hong Kong S.A.R. Brewing Company Ltd., The
Rating: C

Purchased at City Super in Shatian. After my first negative experience with HKSAR Brewing, my expectations are limited - especially since this is by all indications a boring lager. Just about on the mark. Pours yellow, with a thin head. Light aroma, brown bottle so no skunk. Doesn't have the ridiculous extracty aroma of the first HKSAR beer I had, but not exactly exploding with malt or hops either. Flavor along the same lines. Mouthfeel and drinkability about average for the style. Gives me hope that there's still room in the HK market for craft beer. From reading the other review, seems like the bottled version might be a little better!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-25-2007 05:21:26

Review: Bali Hai Premium

Bali Hai Premium from PT Bali Hai Brewery Indonesia
Rating: C

Had a bottle of this at an (amazing) Indonesian restaurant in Wanchai, HK. Appearance is yellow and fizzy, as you'd expect in the style. Smell is better than expected, a glance at the label reveals that this is an all-malt beer, no adjuncts. Taste is boring, but not offensive. Mouthfeel light and fizzy. Not bad, especially with spicy food.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-25-2007 05:16:38

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Review: Macau Beer

Macau Beer from Macau Beer Company Limited
Rating: D+

Had a pint of this on tap at the Sands Casino in Macau (where else?)

Pretty much your typical random euro-style lager. Not quite as pale in color as some other regional varieties (Pearl River, I'm looking at you). Decent head, little retention or lacing. Smell is very adjuncty - bad, with some grain. Flavor is better than the aroma, but not by much. Lacks any real offensiveness. Mouthfeel is light and fizzy. Drinkability is low. The same bar was serving Rochefort 10 - guess what we switched to after this one?

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 07-22-2007 03:58:49

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Review: Thunderhead IPA

Thunderhead IPA from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
Rating: B-

Decent but unexceptional IPA, sampled at Hong Kong Brew House in LKF, one of two IPAs available.

Appearance is clear and the expected amber/orange color. Decent head. Aroma is hoppy, but individual characteristics are not easily pried out - citrus and pine, yes, but not as clearly defined as in other IPAs. Taste is bitter, but balanced. Decent, but unexceptional. Same can be said for mouthfeel and drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-11-2007 05:24:15

Review: Porter 39

Porter 39 from Brasserie Heineken
Rating: D+

Had one of these yesterday at a Vietnamese restaurant in Shatian, HK.

Pours out of a 25cl green bottle shaped like a miniature red stripe bottle. Looks like coca cola, except less carbonated and with less of a head. No retention or lacing. Aroma is of artificial-smelling caramel. A glance at the labeling reveals this beer contains maize, caramel, and coloring in addition to the traditional ingredients. Great. Flavor is underwhelming, to say the least. Adjuncty corn, lots of cola-like caramel, and a somewhat harsh bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium body, decent carbonation. Drinkability is low.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-11-2007 05:20:46

Review: Aldrich Bay Pale Ale

Aldrich Bay Pale Ale from Hong Kong S.A.R. Brewing Company Ltd., The
Rating: C-

Sampled at the Hong Kong Brew House in LKF.
Appearance is a decent pale ale orange/amber color, with a very small head with little retention and no lacing. Smell is uninspiring - lots of caramel, distinctly smells like it's been brewed with extract, and little in the way of hops. Lots of fruit and caramel in the flavor - and little hops. Not the balance I expect or desire in a Pale Ale - actually though, I guess I was expecting an American Pale Ale. Knowing this is an EPA the flavor profile is much more forgiveable. Mouthfeel is of medium body, carbonation a little light. Drinkability is poor - not a great beer. After having this one, I decided against trying another one of the house beers.

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 07-11-2007 05:17:10

Monday, 2 July 2007

Review: San Miguel Premium Lager

San Miguel Premium Lager from San Miguel Corporation
Rating: C

Lots of this available in Hong Kong for some reason.

Appearance: Macro lager looking, with a decent head - leaves lace.

Smell: Grainy, with grassy hops. Not incredibly interesting, but not unappealing either.

Taste: Not bad at all. No hint of skunk (huzzah for brown bottles), fairly refreshing, better than expected anyway. Pretty standard flavor profile for the style.

Mouthfeel: Light and fizzy, big surprise.

Drinkability: Likely to become my standby lager in Hong Kong, although that's not saying much given the typical selection.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-02-2007 09:39:47

Review: Hite

Hite from Hite Brewery Company LTD
Rating: D+

Purchased at Taste in Kowloon Tong. A good thirst quencher.

Appearance: Very pale straw in color, decent sized head but little retention and no lacing.

Smell: smells like water, with the faintest hints of sweet malt.

Taste: The brand plays up being made from "fresh water" on the label, and to be honest one could be forgiven for mistaking this beverage for mineral water of some kind. Try it and struggle to find the malt and hops that it supposedly contains...

Mouthfeel: Light, fizzy - but not so fizzy that it doesn't go down easy.

Drinkability: Perhaps the highlight of this beer - you can drink a lot of it, and very quickly if you needed to. That said, why bother?

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-02-2007 09:34:08

Review: Carlsberg Special Brew

Carlsberg Special Brew from Carlsberg Danmark A/S
Rating: D-

Purchased at Taste in Kowloon Tong. Quite possibly the worst beer I've ever had.
Appearance is just as you'd expect: pale, clear, and yellow. Some head, not much retention though thanks to an 8.6% alcohol content. Aroma is surprisingly light, considering the assault on the senses that follows: light alcohol, malt. Tastes like someone took Bud Light and dropped in a shot of 151: horrible boozy aftertaste and finish. I found myself wincing after every sip. Mouthfeel is more or less what you'd expect in the style: light and fizzy. Really horrible, will actively avoid. Surprised it's not worse-reviewed on BA.

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 07-02-2007 09:29:39