Almanac Beer: Three European Beers

Mowed the lawns and bought my boys a new cricket bat (Gray Nicolls- Maax) so thought it only fair to shout myself a Norwegian lager.


So, I did.


The paragraph on the can includes some stereotypical gibberish asserting that Trost, “brings together ancient Norse philosophy and modern brewing techniques to deliver an impossibly smooth and sublimely refreshing premium lager.”


No, it doesn’t.


Trost lager is probably best taken in a Norwegian wood during the depths of a snowy winter with one’s taste buds frozen shut while a reindeer pokes one in the snout. Watch that antler. Ouch!



In a conclusion sure to anger the Norse gods I found the beer uncannily reminiscent of Great Northern lager, from that other famous Nordic outpost, Cairns. Do your worst Baldur, Borr and Bragi for I found it lacking fatally in charisma.


Using the Pitchfork alternative music metric I give it 2.0. Avoid.


My late Saturday excursion then took me about 900 kilometres south to Dargun, Germany for the approximately homophonic Bear Beer. It was a considerable improvement on my previous ale but that’s akin to declaring a screeching cat better than, well, anything in Pink’s back catalogue.


Bear Beer. Is this beer made from a bear? Or is it beer that might be drunk by a bear? I’ll have to jump the Adelaide Zoo fence after midnight and pop by Wang Wang and Funi’s enclosure with a six pack and see what they reckon.



In a confusing development the label now reveals that the beer is approved by the Royal Danish Court. Does this mean that Princess Mary chugs a few back Sunday night while watching the Magpies and GWS?


Now the refreshment was inoffensive but this was precisely the problem for it had been stripped of robust taste. Beer without taste becomes merely functional, like a Soviet-era apartment block on the grim outskirts of Prague.


Don’t avoid as quickly as the Trost, but still avoid. 4.7 on the Pitchfork scale, you edgy kids.


The final leg of my hoppy world tour saw me touchdown in Holland which, if I can believe this label, is home to a beverage cunningly called Hollandia. The can suggests the beer was first manufactured in 1758.


Now, I love that European beer has a proud history with, for example, Stella Artois dating back to 1366. It’s a remarkable beer, befitting its 700 year legacy. While Hollandia is only 250 years old, I think it should be much, much better. Thomas Cooper first brewed Sparkling Ale in 1862 and as an upstart, it’s streets in front.


Hollandia’s not a disaster. It’s approachable, but then again, a beer shouldn’t punch you on the beak when you first meet. It possesses a little zing that’s evocative of Amsterdam and canals and bicycles to the Rijksmuseum.


If a mate brings some to a barbie at your house, don’t kick them out before they can enjoy a neck chop. 6.1 on the scale.



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About Mickey Randall

Now whip it into shape/ Shape it up, get straight/ Go forward, move ahead/ Try to detect it, it's not too late/ To whip it, whip it good


  1. Daryl Schramm says

    Feeling a bit of grumpiness for time wasting coming through here Mickey. I hadn’t come across the first two, and now won’t be bothering. However your idea of involving Wang Wang and Funi may lead to something all of Australia have been waiting for.

  2. Thanks Daryl. Haven’t Wang Wang and Funi disappointed? Maybe some Barry White should be piped into their enclosure once the sun goes down.

  3. george smith says

    Good news, bought a case of Fourex Bitter in Brisbane with my Christmas voucher. Bad news was I did not get to sample it on tap as most pubs serve that elevator music of beers, Fourex Gold, plus of course Great Northern. Queensland’s finest did not disappoint, and I am looking forward to comparing it with Fourex dry, the middle child of Queensland which is passable and more important, available here.

    As for the Europeans, waste not your time on the Dutch. Go for the real stuff such as Weihenstefaner, the ancient beer of Germany. 7 to 9 dollars a bottle, but well worth it.

  4. Thanks George. Good tip regarding the German beers. Where else could one expect the equivalent of The Bavarian Purity Law {Das Reinheitsgebot} of 1516? I tried a XXXX Dry recently and wish you well with it!

  5. Dan Murphy’s always have a good stock of Weihenstephaner. A nice, reliable drop.

    Another nice drop is Kozel Dark, that hits the spot.

    As I’ve now moved onto Czech beer, if you want to move up market try La Chouffe. A tad more expensive but a very nice drop.



  6. Thanks Glen! A new Dan Murphys opened in Glenelg just before Christmas at the Watermark pub. It features a drive-through which I think is rare for this chain. It’s a boutique size and doesn’t quite have the range of other stores. But it’s shiny and novel. I try to stick with a smaller shop down the road. The owner loves his footy and is a local.

    Weihenstephaner seems to be suggested so will pick one up!

  7. Daryl Schramm says

    Barry White and beer Mickey? Not sure about that.

  8. Sorry Mickey, I’ve made a serious typo.

    Yes Kozel Dark is a Czech beer, however La Chouffe is a Belgian beer.

    A seniors moment: which are becoming more prevalent as I age.

    I reckon I’ll drink to that.


  9. Daryl- unless you’ve tried it…

    Glen!- The Belgians know a bit about the beer business and as I learnt this morning the Czech cricketing powerhouse is the joint T20 record holder with 278 in an international fixture. Wow!

  10. Will have to apply your rating scale to my Dry January Zero Alcohol beer fest. Results to date. Heaps Normal 7.0 – malty hoppy tang. James Squire 3.0 – drinkable; like beer with all the good bits removed. Heineken, Peroni, Carlton – Zero by name and by nature – 0.0 – beer with all the good bits replaced by chemical flavoured bad bits.
    I look forward to you apply the same rating scale and verve to the Crows mid season.

  11. Well done PB. While it’s a noble concept that I shouldn’t mock is there a month remaining that’s not been claimed by absenteeism? Have we Modest March, Austere August and Self-Abnegating September?

    As I vaguely recollect this is a footy site so I’ll call it now: the Crows improve again to just miss the eight!

  12. Luke Reynolds says

    The words “Premium Lager” are usually quite a bold claim. Stick to the Sparkling Ale!

  13. Agreed, Luke. As always the more it’s talked up, the poorer it’s likely to be!

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