#233 Independent Liquor – Carlsberg

CarlsbergName: Carlsberg
Brewery: Independent Brewery (Auckland, NZ)
Style: Pale Lager
ABV: 4.6%
Source:  Flatmate

I know my descriptions of pale lagers are nearly all the same, but I’m pretty sure this was noticeably more boring than the rest.

My tastebuds barely registered anything other than a slight change in temperature when I drank this. To say there was a weak aroma of hay, grass, or grain would have been generous, to call it bland an understatement.

Why is this so popular? Is it because it’s from Europe and therefore seems posh? Actually, if we’re drinking it NZ it doesn’t come from Copenhagen at all – but rather Independent Liquor which is based in Papakura (or when they’re calling themselves Boundary Rd – “nestled in the foothills of the Hunua Ranges”.)

Sorry if I sound a little grumpy. I haven’t had my morning coffee and a crick neck kept me awake all night. But rather than go off on a big rant about why we need to have a gazillion choices of lagers in NZ that all taste the same, I have a more productive – a shit beer showdown.

What I mean is, I want to have a blind tasting of commercial pale lagers to determine which is the best, with a few craft lagers thrown in to see if I can actually tell the difference (I have this nagging fear that I couldn’t.) If anyone else is interested in partaking in (and by partaking in I do mean organising, hosting etc) the SBS, get in touch!

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Published in: on April 2, 2012 at 9:36 am  Comments (16)  
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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. mmm… an afternoon of going from one crap beer to another, I bet you get inundated with volunteers.
    p.s. please don’t take this as my rsvp 🙂

  2. I once took part in a workplace quiz night where one of the rounds was a blind tasting of several shit beers. Even those who swore by their brand loyalty struggled to distinguish, let alone name, various green bottle lagers, Mac’s Gold, DB Export and I think Lion Red was in there, too.

  3. I would love to be a part of your shit beer tasting as I was very disappointed with your review of Steinlager classic which I believe to be considerably better than the run of the run of he mill lager out there. I believe it has a real hoppy bite and an almost metallic bitterness to finish. I’m not in any way comparing it to a good micro brewed beer. But I do believe it has some merit. I belong to SOBA live in Wellington my name is Kent Lambert and would be keen on hosting or at least partaking in this event. Maybe pairing shit beer with a variety of spicy food (the only time shithouse lager is ‘worth’ drinking) if that sounds like a plan hit me up on my email kentgeorgelambert@gmail.com or call me on 021823381.

    • Hi Kent,
      Thanks for your comment. You’re probably quite right about the Steinlager which is why I need to do this SBS – I have a really hard time distinguishing between commercial lagers unless I’m trying them side by side. I was thinking of doing this in AK (that’s where I live) but if more people in Welly are keen then we could organise something when I’m next down. Cheers.

      • If there was to be an Auckland SBS, what would you include? On one hand, you would want a reasonable range of samples, on the other hand you don’t want to commit to drinking too much shit beer. Comparing with craft beer could upset some people by implying that the craft beers selected are comparable to green-bottle commercial beers. I guess you just have to pick beers that are actually of the style that shit beer claims to be.

        I reckon a fair range would be:
        Stella
        Heineken
        Becks
        Steinlager
        Mac’s Gold
        Tuatara Pilsner
        Emerson’s Pilsner

        You would definitely need to follow that with a taste-bud recalibration session at Galbraiths.

      • Yeah, if craft beer was included I guess you’d have to call it a lager tasting rather than a SBS… I’m just interested to see if I can notice a big difference between craft and commercial lagers. I would probably include all the major ones – Stella, Steinlager, Heineken, becks etc, plus a few craft lagers – like Galbraiths Munich and Moa Original. probably no pilsner though because that’s too obviously different.

  4. Perhaps a better idea would be a craft lager tasting with one “joker” commercial beer thrown in? Wouldn’t that be just as good a test of your ability to distinguish craft from crap, but without consigning yourself to drinking Amstel, DB export dry, Kingfisher, Tui Blond, Steinlager Pure, Speights Summit, Budweiser etc etc.

    • True, but I still feel like it would be useful to establish a “best of the worst” for those times when beer options are dire…

  5. what’s even worse is that the commercial lagers don’t come in singles, so you would have to buy sixes or twelves

    • Yup – that’s exactly why I haven’t done this yet…

      • Maybe we could gradually collect (by which I mean steal out of non-craft-drinkers fridges) over the next month or so?

  6. I have a peculiar curiosity about this, and think a blind tasting would be quite fun – if only to see if my perception that there is little in taste between the ‘premium’ and the ‘standard’ holds true. As for getting individual bottles to sample, if only a friendly wholesaler read this blog….

  7. I have a peculiar curiosity about this, and think a blind tasting would be quite fun, if only to see if my perception – that there is little difference between ‘premium’ and ‘standard’ lagers – holds true. As for getting individual bottles, if only a friendly wholesaler read this blog….

  8. Sorry about that double post.

  9. the shit ones come in singles at regionals….please, take em off our hands. if only they didnt keep replacing them. at least we’ve hidden them in the back fridge now. -RM

  10. Luke Nicholas ran a blind SBS as part of a tasting at the Malthouse a couple of years ago. There were 8-odd shit lagers with Epic Lager and Weka Lager thrown in as well. The differences were generally pretty subtle along the lines of “hmm, this one is slightly grassier than the last one”. I suspect that if you drank them regularly you could distinguish the characteristic traits of each beer but I, and most of the other participants, really struggled. We rated each beer and the best were tasted again resulting in the winning beer: Steinlager Pure, which I think won because it had the most innocuous and inoffensive flavour.


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