Yeah, that’s right, imported. No, this is not a very belated April Fool’s day joke.
Yes, Hammer ‘n’ Tongs, the cheap Liquorland beer brand is imported. Says so right there on the label “product of Vietnam”, and I assume that’s true – why would they lie about that? But after that it gets a bit confusing – there are no fewer than three different organisations on the label.
On the front it refers to “Freeman and Sons Brewing Corp”, who quite frankly don’t sound like Vietnamese brewers. On the side it’s imported by Australian Beer Connoisseurs (aka Coles) and then that it’s brewed by “SABMiller VN” which I trust stands for Vietnam.
And that is the most interesting thing about these beers. I started with the Gold because it was lower in alcohol (it’s 3.3 per cent). The upside is that it comes in a 375ml bottle rather than the more common 330ml, so you get more beer. The downside is that it’s so watery and smells of wet, malty cardboard that you’re not interested in the extra beer.
As for the full-strength version, I can remember the local Liquorland giving me a free bottle when it first came out. This was before I was a beer geek and yet I still thought it tasted like crap. This time around I have a slightly different opinion. It’s still not a great beer but it doesn’t inspire the previous revulsion (which is odd, I’d have thought with the maturing of my palate I’d think it worse still). It’s actually a nice pale amber colour with a slight sweet malty aroma. Taste-wise it’s the same – it’s definitely better than the terrible Gold.
It’s not doing anything interesting but it’s decent enough for what it is – a cheap “Home Brand” beer.
Would I drink them again?: Nope.