THE last in my Asian beer round-up. At least until I find more. This is another favourite accompaniment in restaurants for spicy foods and hot curries. It is, the famous Tiger Lager Beer.
This small 330 millilitre bottle was from my local off-licence. But you can probably find Tiger bottles on sale for very reasonable prices almost everywhere. But not at my local Tesco. Strangely.
The neck label has all the important details.
The “Tiger” logo features an “Est.” date of 1932. That makes it the most established Asian beer, by a single year, of this round-up. Whether the extra year will make a difference, I’m doubtful. But having been around for so long must be a sign of some sort of quality.
And the good news from the neck label downwards continues. That’s because this is imported. Just like that other, well established Asian beer, Singha Lager Beer, it was brewed in Asia. Unlike Asahi Super Dry and Cobra Extra Smooth, it wasn’t brewed here and pretending to be from overseas. And that does count for something.
The blue, orange and gold colour scheme stays for the main front label. But in comes a lot more clutter. Let’s make some sense of it all.
Under the big “Tiger” logo, they describe this as “World Acclaimed Lager Beer”. Under that is what looks like five medals. And under those, in rather small text is our explanation: “Awarded Championship Gold Medals: London Geneva Paris”. The tiny pictures of the medals themselves are too tiny for me to read, but they look like the real deal. This really is an award winner, and in recent years too.
Under that is a confirmation that this genuinely is imported. This was “Brewed and Bottled by Asia Pacific Breweries (S) PTE Ltd”. Not the most imaginative name for a brewery.
Under that and on the border of the label are a few measurements. Less than Singha, but more than your typical bottle. Maybe it has something to do with both this and Singha having been imported? In addition to the millilitres (330 in this case), we’re also given the fluid ounces, which are 11.2. Again I ask, who measures beer in fluid ounces? Anyone?
There’s not much to say about the read label.
The little ‘story’, if you can call it that, tells us that it’s been brewed in Asia since 1932. But we knew that from the front of the bottle. It goes on though, to mention a “distinctive taste”. I hope that’s what it has. The world has enough bland lagers.
The label goes on to tell you the temperatures, in both C and F to serve it in. Good because usually, we only get it in C. That the ingredients are water, malted barley, maize, hops and yeast. Nothing unusual there.
There’s a couple of addresses and a web address on there. These deserve a closer look. Tiger Beer UK is based in Surrey. But the address of Asia Pacific Breweries is Singapore. They kept that a well hidden secret. Instead of promoting Tiger as Asian, how about promoting themselves as Singaporean? I don’t remember seeing any other Singaporean beers on the shelves. Would that work? I think it would.
The UK Tiger website is also on there. And it’s website is at www.tigerbeer.co.uk. Lastly, hidden away under the “330ml” and next to the barcode is “alc. 5% vol.”. Nothing out of the ordinary, but strong and respectable enough to be more prominent. Surely it deserves a place on the front of the bottle. What do you think?
In the glass, it looks just like every other lager. That is to say, it’s yellow and fizzy. It is keeping its head better than most other, however. Which I take to be a good sign.
It smells a little different to other lagers too. There’s something richer and less cheap about it. Even though it is still dominated by the usual blend of malted barley and hops.
The taste is… somewhat better than I had been expecting. Unlike most lagers, this one does give a certain amount of hop powered bitter and sourness. And one that lingers too. Not quite up to proper bitter beer standards, but for a lager, it’s doing well. This gives it the “distinctive taste” that was mentioned on the label.
It’s one of the smoother lagers out there. As you’d probably expect, it’s also refreshing and easy to drink by the barrel load. Most important for me is that it isn’t a bland imitation of western beer, intended cool the diner of spicy hot cuisine. My gripe with Asahi Super Dry and Singha Lager Beer was that they none of their flavours stood out. Cobra Extra Smooth did better by having some taste. And this does much the same by having a flavour that stands up to be counted.
The downsides are that it’s still a lager. It’s a little on the gassy side. The little taste that it does have, isn’t pronounced enough for my taste and it can’t match European beers in terms of flavour or body.
That said, Tiger is one of the best Asian beers I’ve tried. It has the character that comes from being distinctive. It’s easy to drink, good quality and deserving of it’s medals and heritage.
Out of my brief round-up of Asian beers, Tiger and Cobra are my favourites. Asahi and Singha were okay but too bland. None of them score very highly because they are all lagers. And that makes them all poor relations to real beer and ale.
If they are brewing such acceptable lagers now however, how good will their proper beers be when they go mainstream in a few years time? These could be the big names that dominate the shop shelves in years to come.
Have you tried Tiger? What did you think?
Any suggestions, ideas, corrections or insults? Then leave a comment!