Monday, July 2, 2007


This should be called the Joy of Bad Beer ...
Dali Beer Brewery, Yunnan, China consumed in early 2004.

At a meeting trying to think up events or activities that would get the attention, not to mention the imagination, of people regarding global warming, I remember making one not-so-original suggestion -- which elicited a few snorts -- and another that was so unique the reaction was a few seconds of stunned silence followed by a short, calmly delivered "Yuck". Both my suggestions of course had to do with beer: one sounded familiar -- "Save the Ales" while the next one -- the more infamous -- had to do with the launching of a high profile event called "The Annual Warm Beer Festival"...

I kind of think the latter would have been an iconic tradition of the joy we all stand to lose, but of course I was a minority and too many thought my proposal should be nominated to the World Dumbest Ideas of the Year awards. It's also the memory that came to mind while trying to share to you the notes I have of this singularly horrible beer called Love and Rose.

At 4.0%, the name of this beer is only half true. It's made of rose flavor and other faulty beer ingredients and so of course it tasted like rose and weak lager. It's like a "What the?!?! Someone actually thought this would work?!?!" situation. There's simply no love in this drink, except for the few seconds it takes to swallow very quickly and exhale and exclaim quietly, "For the love of God, why?"

Fortunately, I had the beer in stunning Lijiang in Yunnan, right beside a swift, flowing stream. I was with Sze Ping and Moxuan and we had proletarian steamed peanuts and lots of stories and laughs. I think we actually need brews like Love and Rose, if only to remind ourselves of, well, what? I don't know.

GORKHA, Premium Quality Nepali Beer
Authentic Himalayan Brew, Gorkha Brewery, brought to the Kamuning Republic straight from Nepal by fuzzybuddy Toby Sesamestreet in 2007.

5.5%, 650 ml amber bottle with matching bottle cap and boring bottle shape. As the label bravely says, the beer "embodies the bold spirit of the heroic Nepali soldiers from Gorkha -- the mid-Western hilly region from where Nepal was unified as a nation more than two hundred years ago." That's not something that every sudser can lay a claim to ...

I had it at the Kamuning Republic, right after Kala went off to Addis Ababa. It was a typical yellow, with a good head but there wasn't enough bitterness. It was lightly carbonated but I remember it felt very refreshing. I had it alone and at the end of a long and tiring day, with cashews. And I could actually imagine the place where it had come from, up, up and far, far away. Fond thoughts over this one despite the lack of lace and its aromatic deficit. Find out more about the brewery and the beer from here.

ST. GEORGE Premium Lager Beer
Brewed and bottled by Kombolcha Brewery (BGI Ethiopia), brought to Kamuning by Kala from Addis Ababa, 2007.

4.5%, this light beer has a crisp finish and a similar taste to the Southeast Asian gang of favored beer, such as Bintang Beer, Singha, San Miguel Pale Pilsen, and Tiger Beer. I had it in Kamuning with Dumaguete sardines in olive oil and since I was very thirsty and it came straight from the fridge to a wide, medium-height glass during a typical humid Philippine evening, it went down quite well in three gulps and even brought a smile to the face. There was little aroma except for a slight citrus scent (I tried to sniff it out before throwing it down my throat) and the flavor was a little hoppy and, strangely enough, like other local beers in the Philippines, though it came in a bottle the finish tasted a bit metallic. It has a beautiful label though with the beer name in Ethiopian script and a rendition of the esteemed saint, along with a matching yellow bottle cap.

Ethiopians date the coming of Christianity to Ethiopia to the fourth century AD. Coptic Christians make up the majority of the Ethiopian population, which is considered one of the world's oldest nations and the second most populous country in Africa. Ethiopia has a tradition of beer brewing. The Kamuning Republic actually has a number of African beers (four or five of which are Ethiopian), including a fair trade Mongozo label (the one with 'normal' ingredients was quite good though I can't recall right now if I also brought home the banana beer version...). But all this should be for another post... Cheers. Check out more information about St. George and its brewer by clicking here. #


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