Beer Review: Carlsberg

YESTERDAY’S snooze-worthy Bavaria Holland Beer got me thinking. Are there any better green-bottled beers and lagers from north-west continental Europe? To answer that question, I’ve picked up bottles of Becks from Germany; Heineken from Holland and Carlsberg from Denmark. First up, is a little green bottle of Carlsberg.

Carlsberg bottle

Of the three green bottles I purchased today, this is the only one that didn’t say “imported” anywhere on it. I figure it’s best to get the worst out of the way first. An inverted attitude, since this is the very same Danish lager that goes by the slogan “Probably the best lager in the world…” It’s also not to be confused with its sister lager, and alcoholics favourite, Carlsberg Special Brew. You really wouldn’t want to get the two of them confused.

With no back label, the neck is where it all happens.

Carlsberg front of neck label

The front of the neck label does everything possible to make sure you recall the brand. First, it has the big Carlsberg “C” logo. The crown for the Royal Danish Court. And the words “Carlsberg Copenhagen Since 1847″ all there to remind you of this brewers name and Danish heritage.

If that fails, there’s the slogan prominently printed. If you’ve watched any commercial breaks on television over the last few years, you can’t fail to be familiar with the slogan “Probably the best lager in the world…” I like how they made a virtue of fact that it could, “probably” be the best lager in the world. Instead of definitely the best lager in the world. Incidentally, leave your nominations for the actual best lager in the world in the comments at the end of this post.

The left-hand-side of the neck label kicks off the fine print.

Carlsberg left neck label

Next to the barcode, is the symbol telling us how many UK units of alcohol this bottle contains. And you won’t believe this. It has 1.0 UK units of alcohol. Not a decimal point more or less, but dead on 1 unit. Did that happen by accident? Or did they tweak the volume and bottle size until it reached 1.0 exactly?

The ingredients list is brief to say the least. It contains malted barley. But you knew that.

Over on the right-hand-side of the neck label, we get all the other small print details.

Carlsberg right neck label

Most prominent of all, are this lagers vital statistics. The bottle holds the less than common 275 millilitres. And you’ll need to drink plenty of them, because the volume is a paltry 3.8%. This is not going to be a strong, premium lager. Not by a long-shot.

The side-ways text informs us that this was brewed in the EU for Carlsberg’s UJK subsidiary. And it gives their Northampton postal address. Brewed in the EU? So it could have been brewed in Denmark or elsewhere on the continent? Or, the most likely option, it wasn’t. Is it me, or is the phrase “Lager brewed and bottled in the EU for Carlsberg UK” deliberately vague?

Also written sideways are the ever present words “Enjoy Responsibly”. You really have no choice with a lager this weak. There’s a consumer helpline telephone number. The drinkaware web address. And the Carlsberg web address, which is www.carlsberg.co.uk. After having a poke around, I can see where I’ve gone wrong with this bottle. This is regular Carlsberg. What I need is their strong export version, Carlsberg Export. I’ll have to look out for a bottle. Not a can though. Cans make every beer taste of aluminium.

Down to the front label now.

Carlsberg front label

And in contrast to the crowded neck label, everything is calm, peaceful and Danish. I like the green-ness. It goes well with the green bottle glass. The “Carlsberg” name and crown prominently hint at the heritage. As do those reassuring words “By Appointment To the Royal Danish Court”. Presumably, that means someone in the Danish Royal household is procuring Carlsberg’s products. But which ones? My money is on their Special Brew.

What else can I say about the front? Not much. There’s a strange looking leaf type symbol. And the words “Copenhagen Denmark”. There is nothing more to describe. Which means that it’s time to open this bottle of lager. And to answer the question… is this the best lager in the world?

Straight after opening the bottle, and before I could pour, something strange happened.

Carlsberg opened

This happened. The head tried to escape from the bottle. It didn’t want to sit still when it came to pouring either.

Carlsberg poured into a glass

The glass had a good thick head. Fortunately, it settled down in a couple of minutes, leaving my half-pint glass nicely brimming.

The colour is what you would expect from a lager. A pale yellow colour with lots of fizz.

The smell is barely worth describing. It smells like virtually every other lager. That is to say, it has a faint smell of a blend of malted barley and the usual lager ingredients.

How does it taste? After a couple of gulps, I’d say it tastes of lager. To see what I mean, simply try any other lager, anywhere in the world. The taste is mostly, and lightly of malted barley. And it leaves a mild, hoppy bitterness on your tongue.

Unexpectedly, there are some things that I like about Carlsberg. The taste isn’t all that bad. Certainly not as bad as some lagers. The bitterness for example, isn’t as horrible and lingering as, say, the appalling Michelob. It’s surprisingly easy to drink. Served cold, it would also be light and refreshing.

But, there is plenty to hate here too. The taste is lingering enough for it to stop being refreshing fairly quickly. The flavours, although not totally offensive, really aren’t something to get enthused about. The lightness, and refreshing-ness come from how weak and watery it is. You’d need to drink a lot of this to get a full taste of it, and to feel the effects. But you wouldn’t want to drink much of it.

Just like yesterday’s beer, and like so many lagers, drinking this is like eating mashed potato. It has a bland, yet mostly inoffensive taste. And it’s something most people consumer only because they have to. Is it the best lager in the world? No.

Rating: 2.55

Have you tried Carlsberg? What did you think? Is it better or worse than Export?
Leave your corrections, opinions, thoughts, ideas, suggestions and requests with the world here please. And check back tomorrow for more green-bottled blandness.

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7 Responses to “Beer Review: Carlsberg”

  1. brangers marie-jeanne Says:

    hello
    i am marie-jeanne brangers i am living in belgum
    the reasen why i do this mail is that i been fraude thanks carlsberg beer
    i have a mail from edward phil processing director carsberg beer he called him
    i had any chares from carsberg beer because i have worked by centerparcs
    he said that i have won a lotery first i must pay 3250GBP for taxes because i dont living in the uk than i must 800GBP for opening an account by abbey banc and than i must pay 720GBP for delevery the director from the firma was john coleman
    i am an invalid women and i need my money because i have high doctors bills
    and i believe him because he was director by carsberg beer and i find that carlsberg have a respondely that this not may done
    so i ask you please will you please give me my money back i need it badly
    will you give me an answer

  2. brangers marie-jeanne Says:

    i told my story and i will my money back on my account

  3. deny Says:

    ??

  4. Wij Says:

    Is it me or are the comments on here becoming increasingly random ?

  5. Tom Says:

    Good and cheap lager, definitely not the best in the world though. Not by a long shot. 4/10 for this one from me!

  6. Alextacy Says:

    Rubbish beer. Gives a really nasty hangover when you have a few of them. RUBBISH!!

  7. nigel robinson Says:

    Probably one of the worlds worst lagers. Great advertising thou. People do tend to believe the hype. Even Skol is better than this bitter barrel of bullshit.

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