Beer Review: Efes Pilsener

ANOTHER bottle that doesn’t have a lot to say is that of Efes Pilsener. This one was purchased from my local off-license, but I recently saw Tesco selling this too.

Efes Pilsener bottle

Aside from the little label around the neck, there’s nothing printed on this 33 centilitre bottle at all. Only the name Efes embossed on to the glass. That, and the tall shape give Efes a distinctive look. And I happen to think that it looks stylish. It reminds me of that other stylish bottled beer; Viru Premium.

The small label on this bottle, doesn’t ruin the enigma of this beer, either. There’s very little detail on it. That’s because what you normally call the front label and back label on any other bottle are both shrunk down to fit on the small label around the neck.

Efes Pilsener front of neck label

The ‘front’ has a clean, Continental look to it. The text isn’t very Germanic in style, so it must be from elsewhere in Europe. I wander where? Let’s read on and try to find out…

Around on what would normally be the back label, most of our questions are answered. There’s a web address for www.dreaminefes.com. Clear and prominent mentions of it’s 5% alcoholic volume and the 33 centilitre size. The small print tells us that the ingredients are water, malted barley, rice and hops. Rice? This is the first time that I’ve seen rice on the ingredients list of any beer.

Efes Pilsener back of neck label

Oh look. There’s an address on there too. Maybe that will answer the question of where in Europe that Efes originates. My bet would be that this comes from somewhere in the Baltic. Let’s find out…

“Brewed and Bottled by: Anadolu Efes Brewery” the label starts. And continues with “Bahçelievler, Istanbul, Turkey”. Looks like I was way out on that one. Efes Pilsener is from Turkey. And that makes this, the first Turkish beer that I’ve tried. Is anyone else surprised to discover that Efes is Turkish?

With that out of the way, we can get going with the all-important taste testing. Since I usually love any beer with the word “Pilsener” mentioned on it, my hopes are high. Time to open the bottle…

Poured into a glass, and Efes Pilsener has a good, yet controllable head. It looks very bubbly and is light gold in colour. It also has a very light malted-barley and hops smell. But you need to sniff hard to detect it. I’m starting to fear that this will be another lagery disappointment.

Efes Pilsener in a glass

Fortunately, my fear are unfounded. A couple of gulps confirms that this is indeed, a pilsener beer. The taste is of malted-barley with a faint aftertaste of hops. And the character is light, crisp and refreshing. There’s a lot to like here. It’s also easy to drink. And inoffensive in almost every way.

On the downside, it is one of the more gassy beers I’ve tried. And, unlike the ales that I’ve grown to love, you won’t be finding complex aromas and flavours. I’m also not entirely sure that Efes Pilsener is all that different to other pilsener beers. But I haven’t tried enough lately to be sure of that.

To sum on then. Efes Pilsener is good, decent middle-of-the-road beer. Not as full flavoured as ale or stout. Nor as crappy as lager. Like most pilseners, Efes epitomises was good beer, in the broad sense of the word, is all about. It tastes quite good. But this one lacks the special quality to separate it from the crowd. A notch above average, but not by very far. Worth a try however, if you want to tell people that you’ve had a Turkish beer.

Rating: 2.99

Have you tried Efes Pilsener? Or any other Efes or Turkish beers? What did you think?
Comments, ideas, suggestions and insults in the comment box below please.

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5 Responses to “Beer Review: Efes Pilsener”

  1. A.Trevett Says:

    Efes Pilsner has got to be the best bottle lager that is on the market. Have been drinking Efes for years and tastes even better in Turkey.

  2. Mark J. Says:

    Just had one yesterday for lunch at Istanbul Cafe in Indianapolis. It was excellent and went very well with my meal. Your review is right in that it’s not a “smack you in the face” Pilsner like some of the best in Germany or the Czech Republic, but it is still quite good, especially when paired with Turkish style food.

  3. RLC Says:

    Had my first bottle last week… Being Greek it feels a bit out of character for me to say this, but Efes/Turkish Pilsener is an excellent beer. It is a bit like Mythos, the Helenic lager and it was especially refreshing, ice cold on that hot, sticky day in Manhattan. Does any one know the abv/abw for Efes Pilsener? Thanks.
    RLC.
    PS What’s up with their website?

  4. B Buhrow Says:

    In the mid-to-late ’70s, I lived in Turkey. I thoroughly enjoyed Efes beer then, but there were wide variations in quality, from great to poor. Last week I found it available in a New Orleans restaurant and made up for lost time. They have fixed their quality control problem. Incidentally, the name Efes is the Turkish word for Ephesus, the biblical city, which is in western Turkey.

  5. Hugh Jarse Says:

    Nice beer, had some last night for the first time. ASDA is selling it for £3.58 for 4X 33CL bottles…bargain. Review is spot on. Rice is used in other beers, Asahi for one, and the god awful American Bud.

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