bottle shop

An Indian beer that isn’t


A few months ago a First Choice bottle shop opened up in North Wollongong, and that meant that I needed to go and check it out.
On the first day it opened, no less.

I picked up a few things not available in other places around the traps – such as Feral White. But I have to say what I was really looking for was a beer I’d never seen before. That’s what I’m looking for every single time I enter a bottle shop.

It’s certainly why I walk into my local Dan Murphys every time I’m at Corrimal. I’m sure the staff there must recognise me by now – ‘‘Hey, look,’’ they might say to themselves, ‘‘it’s that big guy with no hair. He’s always here. Must be a drunk.’’

But I digress.

I did find one beer I’d never seen before – and it looked fancy too because it came with a cork and a cage. The beer is either called ‘‘Cobra King’’ or ‘‘King Cobra’’. See, the brewery website says the beer is called King Cobra – which makes sense – but as you can see from the accompanying pic, the label quite clearly says ‘‘Cobra King’’.

Want to be confused even more? Notice how that label also reads ‘‘the inspiring taste of India’’? So that would make it an Indian beer, yeah?

Nope, it’s brewed in the UK. You ask me, that would be a most egregious case of geographical misrepresentation in beer terms. Why imply a beer is Indian when it’s brewed in the UK? And, as far as I can tell Cobra beers have always been brewed in the UK. And now they’re mainly owned by Molson Coors – who are also not from India.

Anyway, as I’ve said before on this site, dodgy provenance issues don’t matter if the beer is good. so is the beer good?
Well, it claims for itself the title of ‘‘the world’s first double fermented Pilsner-style lager’’. Now even though we obviously have cause to doubt the accuracy of Cobra’s beers claims, we’ll accept that. But we’re less likely to accept the claim that this is ‘‘superior beer’’.

It’s not yak piss by any measure, but jeez, it wouldn’t be hard to come up with a load of beers more superior than this. There’s a dominant malt flavour here, which sits over the top of an odd sweetness. A sweetness that, to me, tastes like pineapples. And, while I’m not au fait with double fermented pilsner-style lagers, I’m sure they’re not supposed to taste like pineapple.

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