1) Last week I went on a cruise for the first time – eight nights to New Caledonia. All in all, it was better than I expected. Despite there being more than 2000 people on board, the ship never felt crowded. Also, the food was great – and there was plenty of it (which means I have to burn all that off now). And I didn’t end up with a bout of gastro tearing through my body – most likely because I used the on board hand sanitisers every time I passed one.
2) On the downside I did get a bit seasick on the return journey. And our stopover at Noumea kind of sucked a bit. My wife and I were under the impression the tour we booked would involve a lot of sightseeing and maybe a small visit to a beach at the end. So, while my wife and daughter took their swimmers and towels, I didn’t think it was worth the effort. Of course the tour ended up being a little bit of sightseeing and a whole lot of swimming around at an island resort. For everyone except me – who had to sit on the shore on a 35-degree day and watch everyone else splash about. Oh yeah, did I mention I also wore a black T-shirt that day? Yeah, no better colour to wear on a stinking hot day than the heat magnet that is black.
3) So, sucks to be me right?
4) At least we had some French francs left over and the resort had a bar. So I chose to both cool off and drown my sorrows in the local beers from the Grande Brasserie de Nouvelle-Calédonie (owned by Heineken). Suprisingly my favourite was a lemonade beer shandy called Pananche (no, I don’t know why the name on the can is missing the E at the end). Surprising because I hate shandies. But on that stinking hot day, it was truly lovely. It’s another example of the “right place, right beer” philosophy; that even beers you ordinarily hate you find work in certain circumstances.
5) I doubt there is any circumstances under which another beer from G.B.N.C would work. That’s the poorly named Number One – if you’re going to name a beer, best steer clear of one that is a euphemism for urine (“are you doing number one or number two?”). The first word that came to mind when I tried this beer was “processed”. It tasted like it had been processed to within an inch of its life. While pretty much all beers are made in stainless steel tanks these days, the Number One is the first time I’ve had a beer where it was as if I could actually taste the stainless steel. And that’s not a good thing at all.
Free or paid for?: I bought each of the poolside beers I had with my own money.
Categories: Beer of the Week
Noumea was pretty underwhelming. When I visited last year on a cruise, I managed a visit to 3 Brasseurs, a craft brewer. Unfortunately they were cleaning and the place stank. GBNC do make a beer called Manta (which could very well be Number One in a different can.
Yeah, I’ve heard bad things about Noumea – seems they don’t much like tourists.