Posts Tagged ‘fosters’

Beer Review: Foster’s

20 March, 2009

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.

Advertisements

Beer Review: Foster’s Ice

30 July, 2008

AFTER the miserable Bud Ice a few days ago, I’ve foolishly decided to give the ‘Ice‘ themed bottled lager another try. Say hello to this little bottle of Foster’s Ice.

Fosters Ice bottle

First impressions are that it looks a lot like Bud Ice. The glass is transparent. And the logos and labels are slanted and trendy. But this is no Anheuser-Busch mega-brand. No. This mega-brand comes from an entirely different mega-brewer.

As a product, it’s hard to fault the packaging. The top has the Foster’s logo of an ice-skating kangaroo. And that’s a logo you don’t see very prominently in their television commercials these days.

Fosters Ice bottle top

The neck label has the familiar Foster’s “F” logo with the gold, red and blue colour scheme that goes with it. The words “Premium Quality Beer” raise a smile. Will that prove to be ironic? Or will it surprise me?

Foster’s Ice neck label

What I like about the little neck label though, is that they’ve managed to stick it onto the bottle at the same slanted angle as the main front label. And that’s good packaging.

Foster’s Ice front label

It’s hard to fault this label. Sure, it dispenses with the anything remotely traditional. In fact, it makes the whole thing look more like an alcopop. But since it’s probably aiming at the alcopop drinker, that’s forgivable.

Under the gigantic logos and brand name are the facts you need to know. Carefully placed in a little silver bar along the bottom is the description “For A Clean Crisp Taste”. This is a lager then, clearly aiming for the basics. Next to that, in red no less, is the alcoholic volume. Which at 5% isn’t notable in any way.

Because the back label is the size of a postage stamp, they’ve carefully put some of the small-print on the sides of the front label. On one side, we’re informed that this is a 33 centilitre bottle. That it’s a “Premium Quality Ice Brewed Beer” that contains barley and wheat.

Over on the other side are the UK units of alcohol. You probably won’t be interested to know, that this little bottle contains all of 1.7 units. But if you are, they also print the recommended daily units for men and women. Which are four and three respectively in case you are the curious type.

Around on the back of the bottle, and the barcode dominates the Post-It Note sized label.

Foster’s Ice back label

Fortunately, they don’t try to cram much else on  there too. What there is, is a quick description about what this drink is. And the address of where it was made. The description describes it as “Ice Brewed and Superchilled”. And that this is to “Produce a Smooth Refreshing Lager” that has a “Uniquely Clean, Crisp Taste”. All good qualities. And with expectations as low as mine, maybe it won’t disappoint.

Sadly, the address of the place where this was made does. That’s because Foster’s comes from UK brewing giant Scottish & Newcastle in Edinburgh. That makes this bottle of Foster’s Ice as Australian as deep-fried Mars bars.

Still, it’s now time to crack open this bottle. And to sample the lager within. In a London hotter than the Earth’s core, I truly hope this one is as refreshing at it promises.

Fosters Ice poured into a glass

Once in the glass, you won’t be surprised by the colour. Which is pale yellow. But you knew that already from the transparent glass bottle. What I was pleased to see was a proper head. A little patchy, but better than expected.

It has a richer smell than expected, too. You don’t need to sniff hard to get a good whiff of malted barley. I like it.

A couple of gulps in, and I must admit, it is no where near as bad as I had been expecting. It has a solid, lagery taste of malted barley with a lightly lingering, but not unpleasant bitterness. Not very strongly flavoured and not so weak as to be un-noticeable.

I didn’t expect to have any positives to report, yet, here they are. The taste and flavour is as inoffensive as you can get for a lager. And that makes it very easy to drink. If you’ve got a chilled bottle, it should be as “refreshing” and “clean” as promised. It’s also smooth and none too gassy.

Being a lager, there is no chance that it can escape fault. For starters, it tastes of lager. Compared to ale or beer in any other form, this means it tastes cheap and it boring. That’s a fact that is true however good the lager in question is. Then there’s the taste itself. That lingering bitterness will stop Foster’s Ice from being so refreshing after a bottle or two.

In summation, Foster’s Ice is a good example of the “ice brewed” lager phenomenon. Think of it like the whole “white cider” boom. Both this and Bud Ice are lagers stripped of real flavours, apparently designed to be as easy to drink as possible. If you have to make a choice, then choose Foster’s Ice over Bud Ice. Alternatively, choose a real beer instead.

Rating: 2.6

Have you tried Foster’s Ice? What did you think of it?
Leave your corrections, opinions, thoughts and recommendations with the world in the little box below.


%d bloggers like this: