Beer Review: Club Colombia Premium Extra Fina

BEING more famous for exporting kidnaps, assassinations and cocaine, Columbia’s Aguila lager shouldn’t have been much good. Yet it thoroughly impressed me by being excellent. I’m delighted then to introduce another bottle of beer imported to Britain all the way from Colombia: Club Colombia Premium.

Club Colombia Premium Extra Fina bottle

The bottle looks almost exactly the same as that of Aguila. Right down to the “No Retornable” embossed around the shoulder. Could this hint at their shared origins? Or a complete lack of imagination by Colombian brewers?

Just like Aguila, Club Colombia uses the screw top. What is it with Colombian beers and screw tops instead of proper bottle tops? Do they all have them? If you know the answer, leave a comment at the end of this post.

Club Colombia Premium Extra Fina bottle top

The similarities continue with the neck-label. Albeit not with the front of it.

Club Colombia Premium Extra Fina front of neck label

The front of the neck-label is a classy looking thing. Partly down to the gold, partly down to the typeface. Which, of course, is Spanish. I can’t understand it, but I think it’s the usual marketing guff about finest ingredients and dedication. So you haven’t missed anything. If you can translate it though, do please leave a comment at the end of this post.

Two words that I can understand however, are two words that keep popping up all over the labels. “Extra Fina” must mean something along the lines of “Extra Fine”. Even I know that. Or do I? If you know better, you know where to leave your translations.

The back of the wrap-around neck-label is where you’ll find the small-print and barcode. Just like with Aguila.

Club Colombia Premium Extra Fina back of neck label

It’s all in Spanish. But don’t worry. This bottle of Club Colombia was imported by La Casa De Jack Ltd, the same people who imported Aguila. And that means that everything you need to know is printed on the ugly white sticker that they stuck over the original label.

Club Colombia Premium Extra Fina back label

There’s not a lot to say about the big, white sticker stuck on by the importer. Most of it is exactly the same as it was for Aguila. Even the facts about the beer are the same. Take the bottle size and alcoholic volume. Both exactly the same at 330ml and 4%. The same with the ingredients which are “water, barley malt and deputy hops”. Whatever they are.

There’s all the contact information you could possibly want for the importer, whose website is www.lachatica.com. It’s still, and reassuringly so, a product of Colombia. It was “commercialized” by Arcas and even made by Bavaria S.A. Exactly the same brewer as Aguila. And that would explain why everything about it looks the same. Even the Spanish language warning at the bottom of the back label is the same.

Around on the front label, everything looks hunky dory. Not a roundel in sight, which makes it original and stylish too.

Club Colombia Premium Extra Fina front label

You can’t ignore the native South-American-style graphic. I’m not sure which ancient tribe it represents. Or who or what it is. But it looks to me like someone with two steering wheels and boomerangs attached to their head.

The “Club Colombia” name has that native South-American look too. It tells us, in Spanish of course, that it is “Desde 1889”. Something that gives it some decent heritage. At the bottom, under the words “Extra Fina”, I’m informed that it says something along the lines of “Brewed longer for a fine taste”. Translators, do please leave a comment at the end of this post.

So, will Club Colombia Premium taste the same as its Colombian cousin and join it as one of the best Latin American beers? More importantly, should you buy it? There’s only one way to find out. It’s time to unscrew the bottle and sample the contents.

Club Colombia Premium Extra Fina poured into a glass

It looks much the same as Aguila did, just minus the frothy head. The amber is a little deeper. And the head is much smaller and patchier. Altogether unimpressive.

Does it have a smell? Yes, it has the same smell of lagery blended malted barley. That makes it smell not just like its Colombian stable-mate, but like nearly every pilsner style lager in the world. Not strong or unpleasant, just straightforward and uncomplicated.

But what does it taste like? The first couple of gulps of this refrigerated bottle of Club Colombia Premium lager aren’t bad. But they’re not great either. Being a lager, it has no flavour whatsoever. That leaves it fighting every other lager in the world on the basis of aftertaste. Aguila was brilliant by having the least offensive aftertaste since the potato was discovered. Club Colombia Premium however does what almost every other lager in the world does: it has that lagery “bite” with a bitter aftertaste.

It’s not a bad example of lagery aftertaste. Not as unpleasant as some. Not as drinkable as others. Just sitting somewhere around the word “average”, trying not to be noticed.

What am I enjoying about this cool bottle of Club Colombia Premium “Extra Fina”? For starters, it’s refreshing, at least while cold. The bitter aftertaste “bite” is by no means the worst around. And that makes this quite drinkable by lager standards. It’s also quite well made and not a gassy experience.

There are, of course, one or two problems with Club Colombia. The way it tastes makes it almost identical to hundreds of other lagers around the world. That makes it indistinctive, unoriginal and boring. And, at a meagre 4% volume, it’s not strong enough to compete with the world’s other premium lagers.

Where does all this leave Club Colombia Premium “Extra Fina”? This will no doubt enrage the lager purists out there who would happily murder anyone who dislikes the bitter aftertaste “bite”, but, I have to say that I don’t rate it. Aguila was great because it did something different with it. Club Colombia however just did what all the competition does, and it does it weaker than they do. If you’re travelling in Colombia, I’d happily drink this. But, if you have a shop shelf filled with interesting beers from all around the globe, pick something nicer instead.

Rating: 2.8

Have you tried Club Colobia Premium “Extra Fina”? Do you work for Bavaria S.A.? If so, do please leave a comment with any corrections, opinions, requests, recommendations and places to buy.

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9 Responses to “Beer Review: Club Colombia Premium Extra Fina”

  1. Cristian Says:

    To answers some of your questions, the “no retornable” embossed which happens to be the same as in the aguila bottle, as well as the bottle design, is the result of being part of the same company, so all the five beer brands the company owns (Club Colombia, Costeña, Poker, Pilsen and Aguila) use the same bottle, what changes is the label.

    About the neck-label it reads:”To ‘achieve’ his extra-fine quality, Club Colombia is made with the best ingredients, dedication and the longest time of brewing”, my English is not that good but I made my best to translate it ;).

    Referring to its quality, CC received a Grand Gold Medal with Palm Leaves from Monde-Selection in 2008. That’s the biggest award they have received. You can see it here: http://www.cervezaclubcolombia.com/index.php?page=2&page_name=Home (spanish).

    Answering to other question, about the bottle tops. The screw top is used for bottle of this kind. I don’t know if you don’t have this kind of system, but the “no retornable” means you throw away the bottle, to a can or whatever. But there is a “retornable” version, which is the one you return to where you bought it after you finished it, so that they can be reused (the bottle), obviously after a long process of cleaning. That version has the traditional top 😉 and that bottle even has another shape.

    Finally its label design does not correspond to any particular tribe, but mainly to precolumbian art.

    Greetings from Colombia, personally I love this beer, it is for most of us the best beer in Colombia, better than Aguila of course hehe… I hoped you liked it…

  2. Andres Says:

    Im sorry but I have to disagree with your opinions. Club Colombia is one of the nicest beers I have tried. It is way better than Aguila, Aguila is a very light cheap Colombian beer, while Club Colombia has a better taste and body.

    All the similarities with the bottle have to do mainly because of Colombian laws about which labels the bottle should include such as “El exceso de alcohol es perjudicial para la salud” which is a warning that means “the excess of alcohol can damage your health”. The other similarities are because they are both brewed by the same brewery.

  3. oswaldo paez Says:

    OK. if you think Aguila is better than Club Colombia I figure out you were very drunk when you tried both. Could be the effect of cocaine in your travel.

  4. Camilo Says:

    Totally desagree… Club Colombia is just quite better than Aguila, the former is one of the best beers i have ever tried, the last is one of the beers i have just hated…

  5. Raymundo Says:

    Writing from Bogota, Colombia after just having spent six months in Mexico, six months in the States and several years in Canada, Club Colombia beats the local offerings in all those places. I’m not hip to all the fancy lingo you use in your review, but as we plebes are fond of saying, “I know what I like” and Club Colombia is one heck of a good beer. Bonus: here in Colombia it only costs about a buck, cheaper by a third than a Bohemia or Dos Equis in Mexico City.

  6. dion Says:

    Having just returned to the Uk from a 2 week holiday/wedding in Colombia, I can say i thoroughly enjoyed both Club Colombia and Aguila… After having a pint of Carling in my local after returning home, i found the Carling very bland in comparisson to both the Colombian beers…

    So much so, i am on the hunt to find where they sell/stock either beer (this includes aguadiente ofcourse!!) in the uk…

    Peace!

  7. Anonymous Says:

    “BEING more famous for exporting kidnaps, assassinations and cocain…Columbia’s (sic) …” that says it all about you dude: An average ignorant Briton

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I think it might have to do with the fact that this beer is brewed 2.600 metres above sea level in Bogotá. It will loose a lot of its qualities due to the constant change of temperature and pressure levels throughout the shipment. That picture of the glass of beer looks nothing to what I have had during my trips to Bogotá.
    Anyway, all Colombian commercial beers(Pilsen, Costeña, Póker, Aguila, Redd’s) are made by Bavaria S.A. Its more or less a monopoly on beers in Colombia.
    Regardless, nearly all beers made by Bavaria S.A are from German recipes and methods from the founder, who was a German immigrant, and the flavours will not be as exotic or different from other beers.
    Btw, you made plenty of insensitive remarks here, not cool.

  9. Bob Says:

    I love club colombia gold can’t seem to find it in USA any suggestions

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