World Cup of Beer Sweepstakes – Australia

Posted on July 9, 2010 by

I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest soccer fan. Hockey is my sport, but I always enjoy watching Olympic and World Cup Soccer. There is something about your country being on a world stage that is extremely exciting to watch, and I must thank the 2010 World Cup for one of the most memorable and exciting sporting moments I’ve ever witnessed. Here in the states it was 10:30ish in the morning as the US vs Algeria game was coming to an end. I skipped work for the day and was drinking beers at one of the only bars in the city that opens before 11. There was about 20 of us odd fellows that only come together when the US is playing soccer. It was a must win game for the US if they were to move onto the round of 16 and time was ticking away. Chance after chance put us all on an emotional roller coaster that would not end.

Stoppage time started and everyone was beginning to pack up and go home. Algeria came down, put a ball on the goalie and all hope was fading away. Until the ball sprang out, down the left side of the field and within 10 seconds a shot was put on goal. Algeria’s goal struggle with it and Donovan made him pay by scoring the game winning goal. I have never hugged so many men in my life. It was truly an amazing game to watch and will go down in history as one of the best sporting moments I’ve witnessed in my life. Low and behold, we would not win any more games. Better luck next time.

World Cup of Beer Sweepstakes

Today I just finished watching Germany vs Spain and I realized it was time to finally do my World Cup of Beer Sweepstakes entry. I wandered around, store after store, questioning, asking, pleading with people to help me find a beer brewed and bottled in Australia. Ninety percent of the time I was lead to Fosters, which I don’t think is even brewed in Australia. I finally came across someone who was able to direct me to something that would fit the bill. He lead me down the aisle of craft beer where 6 packs of New Belgium, Redhook and Boulevard were screaming, “Pick me, Pick me!” My guide maneuvered me through the jungle of import beers to the very end of the row, the absolute furthest place from the front door. “Here we are,” he said as he bent down to his knees. As if he was unearthing treasure, he moved a 6 pack of the wrong product out of the way to reveal one last six pack of beer. He pulled it forward and said, “Tasmania…that’s in Australia…”

Needless to say, I struggled to find a beer here in the U.S. and not only the U.S. but the middle of the U.S., Fargo, ND. I thought I would luck out as it just so happened I had a friend, who had a sister that was living in Australia for 6 months coming back at the end of June. I tried desperately to get her to bring me back something, anything, but there just wasn’t room and I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone traveling. If you don’t know, getting back into the U.S., even as a citizen, is a bitch.

Dirty James Boags Premium LagerFargo’s Only Australian Beer

So, disappointingly I picked up the James Boag’s Premium Lager. The presentation of the beer is about as big of a let down as the actual performance of Australia in the 2010 World Cup. The beer looked as though the Tasmanian Devil blew past it and left it discombobulated and filthy. (Sorry, had to get that in there.) You could tell this stuff doesn’t move much on the shelves of the stores here in Fargo. Mine had dust on it, and not just dust, but dust bunnies. Little fluffy balls of god knows what. On top of that, I think I saw a spider web in the finger holes that act as a handle. In fact, one of the caps had some kind of sticky, oily residue on it that I could not explain. But it was still within its “freshness” date and its brewed in Tasmania, so I went for it!

Review of James Boag’s Premium Lager

Review of James Boags Premium Lager

Packaging

Comes in a green bottle with a painting on the front. The painting, I can only assume is of the Esk River in Tasmania where they get the water to brew this lager. There is a story on the back of the bottle that reads -

In 1853 James Boag commenced his brewing tradition on the banks of the Esk River in Launceston, Tasmania. Today, we are dedicated to carry on this tradition of excellence which he established. We use Tasmania’s finest ingredients combined with extended lagering to create a crisp, pale lager rich in flavour, which delivers an especially smooth finish.

Appearance

Pours a light straw color with a decent fluffly white head on the top. You can see a lot of carbonation as well as it sits there and I take a picture of it. I noticed a bit of really good lacing down the side of the glass as I drank it.

Smell

Malty smell that I can only associate with other premium beers like Sapporo from Japan and a Mickey’s here in the states. Like most “Premium” types of beer this one has little hop character or tasty grain smell.

Taste

It has a bit of a sweet taste to it. It is pretty easy to drink. When it is super cold it is refreshing, crisp and doesn’t taste half bad. As it warms it isn’t very good at all. There is little hop character, if any, and the flavor is pretty simple.

Mouthfeel

Crisp and light bodied this beer goes down easy.

Drinkability

I’d say its high. If you keep this cold and are thirsty on a hot summers day, probably much like it is in Australia, this would surely quench that thirst. I don’t think I’d make a night out of it.

So even though Australia bounced out of the World Cup in the first round and I wasn’t able to really find a beer fitting of the Australian people, I’d have to say it has been fun learning more about Australia and beer. I hope someday to actually get my hands on some of their more flavorful beers. This beer cost me $14 for a six pack and was not at all worth the money. However, I’m excited that I was able to actually participate in this contest with an actual brewed and bottle Australian beer.

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  • http://freshbeereveryfriday.blogspot.com Jez

    $14 for a sixer of lager. It is a sad, sad day for Australia, indeed.

  • mikebiewer

    Yea. Agreed. I should have just bought some more Goose Island Bourbon County Stout…

    Mike

  • http://freshbeereveryfriday.blogspot.com Jez

    So, if you like hockey, do you have a favorite pro team? I can almost imagine that you might like UND.

  • mikebiewer

    Well, I gotta be honest. UND is the only team that I ride the good with the bad. Its probably because they are my local team. I'm not a huge Wild fan but I'm always pulling for them. I've come to determine that what I like most about hockey is watching what teams, make what moves, then picking from there.

    Last year, and you can ask all my friends this, I saw that Hossa came over to the Hawks. The day he signed I said, well, they've rounded that team completely out, watch out, they will win the cup. Low and behold. I really enjoy the mechanics of the game and the political business stuff in the background. I've been a fan of many teams. I enjoyed watching the Penguins in the 90's with Jagr and Leimiux. I really loved the Av's with Foresberg, Sakic, Hedjuk, and the whole line up they had. Watching Borque in the Stanley Cup is one of my favorite sporting moments I got to witness. And now I'm really enjoying watching the Hawks. Plus Toews is ex-UND…sooo…

    I could honestly ramble for hours about hockey and I've probably said to much here. Sorry for the letter. All in all. I just enjoy watching good hockey games that are exciting right down to the fundamentals of a good pass. You will never see me cheering for the Dallas Stars or Red Wings. Two teams I do not enjoy.

    How bout yourself? You into any hockey?

    Mike

  • Jeff

    Forgive the obviously late response, but I just happened to stumble across this.

    Having just returned from Australia, you should consider $14 a bargain. My wife and I paid about $17 (in Australian Dollars, it would be more in US Dollars) in Adelaide for a 6 pack of Boag’s from their beer store. The better James Squire brand beer (which unfortunately I don’t think is available in the US) started at about $19AUD per 6 pack.

    As a side-note, a 24 pack of Budweiser at the beer shop in Adelaide cost about $45.

  • Anonymous

    Jeff,

    Thanks for the response. Yea, I should consider it a bargain. But when I pulled it off the shelf it was covered in dust and seemed to have been spilt on from beers above it. (It was on the bottom, in the corner shelf)

    Anyway. That is not the fault of the brand, but more so the distributor and the store I shopped at.

    Since this review, I have moved out to Portland, OR and have started talking more and more with people that actually make the beer. I’ve started to realize that, though my opinion matters, I just don’t like talking about beer in anyway that isn’t positive. Sure, some of it is gross or a botched batch or recipe, but when you see, experience and assist in making a brew that you think is good and have some troll come and tell you it sucks through the web…it is kind of a punch in the face.

    I think there is totally room for bloggers to talk about beer and tell their stories and opinions, good, bad or indifferent. I just slowly began to realize that it isn’t something I want to do. I want to do everything in my power to move the craft forward.

    Long story short. This brew just wasn’t my cup of tea and cost me to much for the quality that the store kept it at.

    Oh, and I’d never pay $45 for Budweiser :) It was even more expensive than that in Japan…YIKES!

    Thanks again for the comment!

    Mike

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