Beer Review: Foster’s

UNTIL now, there’s been a Foster’s shaped hole in my blog. Last summer, I endured most of the bigname lagers. And, to the chagrin of dozens of angry commenters, I slammed them all. Foster’s escaped until now, because it took until now to find it in bottled form. Not easy, when most shops sell cans.

Some of you get all huffy when I turn my attention to a lager. So, allow me explain something. If I think your favourite big-name lager is awful, then it probably is. That’s my opinion. It doesn’t mean I despise all lagers. Perła Chmielowa Premium Pils and Leżajsk Beer were lagers, and they were both excellent. What it means is that you could do so much better when you’re next in the off-license or supermarket.

So, what will Foster’s be like? With hopes this low, all it needs to be is adequate to exceed expectations. If you’ve never seen what Foster’s looks like in a bottle instead of a can, here it is.

Foster's bottle

Funny looking little thing, isn’t it? It’s nearly half neck. Look closely and you’ll spot the Foster’s “F” embossed around the shoulder.

Foster's neck label

Yes, it has a neck label. The message is simple. There’s a big Foster’s “F” logo. And the slogan “The Amber Nectar”. When you have branding this good, you don’t need much else.

It’s a similar story with the front label.

Foster's front label

It conveys less information than any other bottle of beer I’ve seen. Even foreign language beers convey more than this. You’ll learn more from a copy of The Star than you will here. But then, do they need to say anything? With a name this well known, they could have stuck on a photocopied address label with the “F” logo, and we’d all immediately recognised what it was.

Fortunately, the back label makes of for the lack of information elsewhere. And they appear to have squished it into a label nearly the size of a Post-It® note.

Foster's back label

On it, we learn that Foster’s is “Australia’s famous award winning quality lager”. Award winning? From whom? When? Was it for their marketing by any chance? Whatever the case, we learn that it’s “enjoyed in over 150 countries”.

They describe as “clean, crisp and refreshing”. No mention of flavour. But then this is a lager. And all those qualities are what a good lager should have. In my opinion. And that’s what I hope Fosters’s will have. To give it the best chance possible, I’ll even try to drink it “Super Chilled at 3 C” like they recommend. Honestly, I’m completely open minded about Foster’s. I sincerely want to enjoy a good lager right now.

Sadly, Foster’s itself isn’t quite so sincere. That’s because it was brewed not in Australia, but here. By Scottish & Newcastle in Edinburgh. That makes it as Australian as bagpipes.

In a tiny space near the barcode are all the vital statistics. This is a small 275ml bottle. The alcoholic volume is a moderate 4%. Both of these facts together give this bottle 1.1 UK units of alcohol. That must be the smallest number of UK units of alcohol of any bottle I’ve ever tried for this blog. Astonishing. There’s a small section advising men not to exceed 4 daily units, and women, 3. But with bottles like this, you’re quite, quite safe.

So, what is the bottle of Foster’s actually like? What does it taste like? And should you buy a bottle? Time to crack it open and find out…

Foster's poured into a glass

At 275ml, it fits your half-pint glass perfectly. And, through the miracle of surface tension, the small layer of foam doesn’t overflow either. Give it a couple of minutes though, and that layer of head turns into a forlorn patch of bubbles.

The colour isn’t as pale as some cheap lagers. But then it’s never going to be Newcastle Brown, is it. All in all, a good amber hue. Just like they said it would be.

What does it smell like? It smells of pilsner style lager. It has much the same blend of malted barley in it’s odour as every other pilsner lager. Compared to some, it doesn’t smell strong. Quite light and inoffensive.

What does it taste like? A couple of gulps into this “Super Chilled” (40 minutes in my freezer ice box) Foster’s reveal a taste that’s identical to the smell. It tastes like most pilsner style lagers. That is to say, that is tastes of a blend of malted barley. And, like the smell, you can barely taste it. That makes it completely inoffensive.

A couple more gulps in, and I’m still struggling to find any tastes and flavour. If you concentrate really hard, you can just about make out a trace of malted barley. Although I could be imagining it.

Foster’s, when it’s very cold, does have some good points. For a start, it is clean, crisp and refreshing. Exactly what it advertised on the label. And those things are exactly what a lager should be. I can go better than that. This very cold bottle of Foster’s is pretty smooth. It’s not gassy. And, best of all, it doesn’t have that bittersweet “bite” that most lagers use to kick you in the throat. Yes, some of you love that “bite”, but I don’t. Which is why I think that Foster’s is easy to drink.

There are, however, one or two drawbacks. Not suffering from lager “bite”. The drinkability. They’ve come at a cost. This is one of the wateriest lagers I’ve had ina long time. It’s also one of the most tasteless. Even other lagers have more malted barley flavour than this. Only Tesco Value Lager can match this for lack of taste. And that had only 2% alcoholic volume.

How can I sum up Foster’s? I’d hate to have tried it warm. I’m guessing that having it “Super Chilled” helped it to be clean, crisp and refreshing. Sure, it has those qualities. But nothing more. This is one of the weakest, blandest lagers on the market. Totally drinkable and inoffensive; because you’re effectively drinking water.

You can buy better lager, so buy better lager. You can buy better beer than lager, so do that too. Buy Foster’s either to not offend anyone or out of habit. There is no compelling reason to drink this pretend Australian water.

Rating: 1.8

Have you tried Foster’s? Do you want to leave an angry comment? Do you agree? Whatever the case, do please leave your opinions, corrections, thoughts, requests, recommendations and places to buy here in the comments.

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8 Responses to “Beer Review: Foster’s”

  1. kevin john Says:

    Greetings from Beer Drinking paradise in America!
    Yes, I have tried Fostor’s and rather like it, although I enjoy other pales better it’s not that bad. Problem is that it is rather costly around here.I like Heineken, Becks quite a lot. I loved Tsingtao, but got a headacke the other day after only a few.Hope their quality control is still good.
    Just up the road from here in Hampton Virginia, there is a specialty beer company that produces different types of ales which are pricey but not too bad.
    St George Brewing…

  2. Billy Biggs Says:

    I’ve been going around constantly buying and trying new and different brews. i just bought Foster’s today. not terrible but nothing special. I’m rather anal about the beer i drink because i don’t like it to be TO overpowering however i don’t like piss water. I think your review is spot on when it comes to this. Take care

  3. Gabba Says:

    The funny thing about Fosters is that no one drinks it here in Australia, but it is promoted overseas as a great Australian brew. Blech!

    There are many much better Australian beers, and none of them are the fanmous ones such as Castlemaine XXXX or Fosters.

    Cheers!

    p.s. great reviews by the way

  4. Entropy Says:

    Huh, the last time I had (canned) Fosters it tasted and smelled like stale farts. I never touched the stuff again, vowing it to be the lowest of the low among lagers. Perhaps I should try it again.

  5. nigel robinson Says:

    If I dipped my pint glass in my toilet bowl, it would taste better than this rank watery crap. And I do drink lager now and then.

  6. jakey Says:

    Being born and rasied in Australia. Pure Aussie, it is a nice beer to drink on a hot day after a hard days work, it has that natural Aussie taste to it that i can’t help but love, it’s strong tasting beer but smooth crisp taste. Not my favorate beer but one i do enjoy

    And if you live you live in Australia most beer we drink is near frozen because it is so freakin hot.

  7. Aaron Says:

    The new fiostersglasses are SHOCKING! Everybody in the north west of wales are experiecing flat pints and therefore costing local pubs alot of money. Needs sorting quickly as everybody is now changing their brand of drink

  8. Anonymous Says:

    People shouldn’t respond to this Welsh idiot. He hates lagers yet writes reviews about them. Stick to the muddy crap that comes from the valleys boyo! Wales produces a preponderance of average English style bitters that mostly taste of sweet vinegar.

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