An artisanally crafted blog curated by Cooking Lager for discerning readers of beer bloggery

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Amber Nectar

Ah Foster’s lager, the amber nectar. This is cooking lager heaven. 4%, tasteless piss, slips down a treat. Beer of the gods. Foster’s deserves pride of place on Cooking Lager for a number of reasons beyond being dirt cheap and quaffable. It is a British brewed version of a foreign (Australian) lager that bears no resemblance to the original other than the original is also piss.

My cockney pal who emigrated to the land of the Kangaroo informs me that no one in Australia drinks Foster’s, and that it is more popular here than there. He tells me it is a 4.9% lager over there, rather than 4%, and considered dishwater even by Australian standards that are so low most drinkers would consider any Australian beer to be dishwater.

Back in my underage drinking youth, Kylie was in her first wave of popularity as were all things Australian. Every Aussie soap actor was warbling their way into the hit parade. Paul Hogan, more renown for a late night sketch show broadcast on Channel 4 than Crocodile Dundee, starred in a number of amusing ads promoting Aussie beer and a new generation, my generation, started drinking with none of our parent’s prejudices that lager was in any way effeminate or a girl’s drink. Lager was the drink of rough and tough Aussies. It was a man’s drink.

These days Fosters is still loved, for one important reason. You can usually pick it up for 40p a can. However, be careful of the sting with this beer, as often there are evil and venal attempts to flog it for anything upward of 80p or 90p a can by putting it in boxes with a varying number of tins. Sainsbury’s have boxes of 10 for £9 and frankly are having a laugh. Foster's also recently introduced the “in can scuba”, a pointless plastic ball in the beer tin which purports to give the beer smaller bubbles, a smoother taste and an artificial chemical head. Don’t be fooled, it’s only an attempt to flog the same crap for twice the price. Smaller bubbles do not lead to fewer belches, gas is gas. Most brand extensions are nothing to do with improving the lot of you the consumer; they are about getting you to pay more for less. Also avoid any other Fosters variants whether they are ice, twist (the twist is on you if you buy it) or whatever else the marketing scum think of, unless of course they are giving it away for tuppence. In that case, embrace it.

Look out for 24 cans for £9.99. This is the fair market rate. When found, load up the boot of the car with 4 or 5 boxes to see you through until the offer reappears. More recently Morrison’s had 3 boxes of 12 for £18, but were also giving away £5 off tokens in the tabloids if you spent £30. 6 boxes of 12 for £31 (18*2 – 5 = 31) being near enough, I succumbed to the lure of 43p a can (57p a pint).

My local pub stings punters £2.50 a pint for this, as I found out when I acquired (stole) the appropriate branded glass to drink my amber nectar from. Pubs are public houses, extensions of the home, except tattier and smelling of urinals. It is acceptable to nick what you like from them. However please don’t nick glasses from this gentleman here, as he doesn’t like it. Every boozer except his, he seems a nice chap whose pub may very well not be tatty or smell of urinals, though I gather you might be at a loss if you want a pint of ice cold lout rather than pongy. Top tip, rinse the glass out with water after washing as the main flavour with this beer comes not from the beer but the receptacle you drink it from. Rinse the fairy liquid away. The usual drill, half an hour in the freezer super chills it and kills any semblance of taste. Slips down a treat, doesn’t touch the sides. Truly nectar of the gods, Paul Hogan I thank you.

As for what is in this grog, there are only clues on the can, no ingredients list. 1.8 units a can and a picture of a pregnant lass swigging a can with a line through it. Contains barley and wheat it says. Makes sense. British cooking lager is brewed with the English love of head retention (a froth which lasts to the bottom of the glass), and the wheat presumably is added for that purpose. If you notice a Reinheitsgebot lager, they are frothy to begin with, but the head doesn’t last. All barley you see. Weiss biers have a sticky head, contains wheat. So a beer that could even be accused of containing actual beer ingredients is prime Cooking Lager.

Also on the can is a promotion for an “ultimate lad’s night in”. This apparently involves you and your mates, in a posh gaff with a big telly, some playstations, and a big fridge of cooking lager. Stuck in a room with my mates? I cannot think of a worse evening that does not involve genital mutilation or waterboarding. Why not have a competition for something I actually want? Win a mid week shag off your own bird? I’d pay a £1 a can if that was the prize.

Now how to define its hop character? I have been reading some excellent beer blogs (a bravura one here, from a gent that is knowledgeable in regard to his subject, enthusiastic about it and articulate enough to write well), and been learning that if one is to appreciate a beer one has to define its hop character. Light? Bland? Insipid?, Plain? Dull? Lacklustre? Nondescript? I settle on the word “absent”, satisfied I have hit the nail on the head. Resplendently absent.

If I was to be critical of this heavenly liquid I would say it is difficult to get pissed on and you spend a lot of time pissing it out. However I prefer to get pissed slowly, rather than quickly and you can have a few without becoming useless to your girlfriend if she’s expecting a cuddle (a euphemism) at bed time. If there had to be only one beer in the universe I would pick this. The last word must go to Mr Paul Hogan, “Like an angel crying on your tongue”


Wurst-Internet troll, bully, CEO APRK said...

That's it, I'm convinced! You have a position with APRK! Maybe head of Special Operations? We could use a contact from the north, as Rudy hails from the region.

Cooking Lager said...

I see from your blog, you hail from the colonies, my friend. I would like to know more about the cheapest grog in your part of the world. If I travel beyond these shores, what is the cheapest drinkable piss upon your fair isle?

Wurst-Internet troll, bully, CEO APRK said...

Your options would be vast. Old Milwaukee or Pabst Blue Ribbon. Very, very, cheap! Simpler Times Lager is also cheap, and 6.2% abv! It runs $2.99 a six pack, or about $12 a case!

Woolpack Dave said...

"4 or 5 boxes to see you through until the offer reappears" - now come on, that's only 120 cans - 216 units.

Couple of weeks worth, unless you are a lightweight - sometimes the offers can be several weeks apart.

Ta for the link.

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