NORMAL service is resumed tonight with another bottle of beer. Four bottles of beer in fact. That’s because Tesco was offering this four-pack of little bottles of Dutch beer for half-price. Even if it’s only mediocre, which I expect it to be, that’s going to be £1.94 pence that’s well spent. But how good is it? Lets find out.
If the cardboard packaging that holds the bottles in place doesn’t do it for you, then neither will the bottles themselves. All four of them are thoroughly unremarkable, green bottles.
And it gets worse. The tops aren’t proper bottle tops. Instead, in tiny writing, it tells you to “Twist to Open”. It’ll never catch on.
What about the neck label?
Well… it has one. It has an inoffensive green shiny orange colour scheme. It features the strange “Bavaria” logo, with what looks like barley either side of it. And the words “Bavaria Holland Beer”. And that in itself it a mystery. I checked on Google Earth earlier today, and I’m happy to report that Bavaria is still located in southern Germany. Is it cashing in on the famous German region? Or an honest geographical blunder? What is going on here?
The front label garishly answers some questions.
The top of the roundel proudly gives us the good news that this is “Genuine Imported”. But from where? “Produced in Holland” follows the curve of the top border. Although we had already guessed that by the name “Bavaria Holland Beer”.
To it’s credit, we do get what I think is a place name. That’s because inside the border is the name “Lieshout Holland”. Has anyone reading this ever been there? What’s is like?
The top half also has an “Anno”. This one dates back to 1719. An early date, hinting at decent heritage. The bottom border of the label roundel has the ever re-assuring words “Family Brewed Premium Beer”. Maybe I’m being too harsh on this one?
Over on the back label, the mystery surrounding this beer isn’t exactly cleared.
The morass of poorly laid out foreign languages makes it a pain to pick out anything I could understand. Fortunately, the vital statistics are prominent for all to see and understand. This bottle is the typical 33 centilitres (330 millilitres) and has an alcoholic volume of 5%. That makes this possibly the most typical bottle I’ve ever had.
There is a block of text, which I think has the address of the brewery. But it doesn’t have it in English, so I can’t be sure. So, as you’re busy trying to pick out some recognisable words, you’ll miss the web address, which is listed at www.bavaria.com. The front page is the usual, with a place to enter your age and country. If you want to skip that, then go straight to www.bavariahollandbeer.co.uk where you can discover that is uses Flash and doesn’t work well with your Firefox web browser.
Amongst the multilingual block dedicated to ingredients, there is, lo and behold, an English language section. For the curious, the ingredients are “purest mineral water, barley malt, wheat, hops”. With my expectations suitably levelled, it’s time to open this bottle and investigate what lies within. Not forgetting to answer the big questions of what it’s like and is it any good?
This beer comes with a head. A big one. So watch out for that when you pour. It also stays around for longer than some others. The photo doesn’t show it clearly, but the colour is a very lagery pale yellow.
What about the smell? It’s not a bad beer smell. A more rounded smell of barley and wheat than most lagers. But less interesting than many beers. And blown away by any ale. This one doesn’t have a strong smell. But at least it has one.
And the taste? Does it taste like a lager? In a word; no. The taste is light, and of the barley malt and wheat. A taste that is quickly followed by an equally light hoppy bitterness. The interesting thing is, it doesn’t have that ‘sharp’, unpleasant bitterness of a cheap lager. Instead, the bitterness is light and lingers only a brief time.
Unexpectedly, there are some things I am liking about Bavaria Holland Beer. First, it doesn’t appear at least to be a lager. That means, instead of having the taste profile of a puddle, it tastes of beer. You can taste many of the ingredients, and none of them jump out and surprise you. It isn’t gassy. I’d go as far as to say that this is a refreshing and easy to drink beer.
On the other hand, there’s plenty to dislike here. The word “Premium” on the front is practically false advertising, because this beer tastes cheap. Although the flavours aren’t unpleasant, it doesn’t taste as refined and well crafted as I would like. The flavours themselves, whilst inoffensive, aren’t exactly delicious. As for the drinkability, that comes from the watery-ness of the thing.
To sum up, Bavaria Holland Beer is cheap but drinkable. Especially if you can buy it at half-price. If you can afford it though, do yourself a favour and buy something better.
Have you tried Bavaria Holland Beer? What did you think of it? Are you thinking of trying it? Or have I put you off it completely?
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