eliot & drew bike through india for 3 months, trying to inconspicuously do some good in the world.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Food of India, part IV: beer!

today we're going to tackle the two most popular beers in india: Kingfisher and Haywards 5000, both of which are lagers (meaning, among other things that they bottom-ferment as opposed to "real" ales which top ferment.)

Haywards distinguishes itself as the world's largest selling strong beer, reportedly selling 14 million cases worldwide on average. most reviewers claim that it is strong and assertive but not pungent or unpleasant.  it seems to have a pretty popular following (mostly among folks who had it once and are trying to track it down again, if the forums are any indication).  since the term lager can cover a lot of beer (and in my estimation popular lagers like pilsners are generally tasteless) i imagine that Haywards is probably a middle-of-the-road drinking kinda beer. on the other hand, as the can indicates, it is "SUPER STRONG." i've never had one so i'll leave it here with Haywards 5000's official slug line: 

"Launched in 1983, Hayward's 5000 lager is synonymous with strong beer in India. It's an authentic, premium Indian lager that hails as India's most preferred and popular beer. The bold character and lingering flavor of this Indian classic derives from a careful blend of select hops and malts in a brewing process that exemplifies timeless Indian traditions. Exclusively brewed and bottled in India under SABMiller supervision, this Crown Jewel of Indian beers is now enjoyed worldwide!"

Now Kingfisher you've probably heard of if you spend any amount of time in bars. Take it away, Kingfisher Breweries Marketing Department: 

"Kingfisher Premium Lager is a conventionally fermented beer, with a perfect balance of flavor congenors. It is brewed to the highest international standards, from the finest quality malted barley and hops.

Kingfisher Premium Lager has won numerous international awards for its excellence & exceptional quality.
Kingfisher Premium Lager is available in over 55 countries. In England, Kingfisher Premium is the lager of choice at the over 7000 Indian restaurants. It is also available at stores such as Sainsbury's & Safeway. In the US, Kingfisher is the largest selling lager in Indian restaurants nation-wide!
Kingfisher Premium Lager enhances the taste sensation of many foods - From the savory spiciness of Indian cuisine, to the wholesome taste of steaks, burgers, hot dogs, pizza & pasta!"

Again, i'm generally unimpressed with light beers. But India is no different than the rest of the world and folks prefer what's Cheap and available. Heck, I wouldn't fault a man for drinking (the nigh-tasteless) Lone Star Beer.

As soon as we have boots on the ground in india, we'll let you know how these beers measure up in their native land.  it somehow doesn't seem right to review indian beer in america. until then, please enjoy more efforts from the good folks trying to sell you Kingfisher (OOOhh LA-la-la-La Le-Ley-OOOOOO!) and Haywards 5000 (Dude!).




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