Cooking Lager Tribute

Aldi Süd, TrierImage via Wikipedia
I have some awesome beers in my fridge right now, some Mikeller, Cantione, Duvel, Orval just to name a few but I’ve been reading (and enjoying) a blog called Cooking Lager for some time now. Its all about Cooky, an English guy and his love of what he calls cooking lager. I’m not sure exactly what the definition of cooking lager is but beers like Fosters are in there and places like Aldi are choice purchasing locations. As best I can tell its cheep quaffable beer. Beer Uni students and tight arses like. He also writes about the UK beer scene, legislation and some stuff that seems to matter. I really don’t get a lot of it (the serious stuff that is) but still like the blog.

Anyway I was in my local IGA tonight and ventured into the bottle shop section. They had a bunch of cheap looking beer which formed the inspiration of my Cooking Lager Tribute. I selected 4 cans of beer, the 2 cheapest domestic and the 2 cheapest imported (full strength of course – got to draw the line somewhere). I chose cans as they keep beer fresher longer, and are generally a better package for beer. This has left me with the following beers;

Tooheys Red $1.99 Australia 375ml
ICE beer $1.99 Australia 375ml
Gosser Beer $3.99 Austria’s Finest Beer 500ml
Furstenbrau Beer $3.99 Greek (I think) 500ml
A bottle of chilli sauce from Belize (I was having tacos for dinner)

These reviews are for you Cooky, or perhaps more appropriately in tribute to you.
I started with the Gosser as it has the words “Gut Besser” on the can. I have no idea what this means. The beer is pale and yellow, not too fizzy, tastes like a generic European lager. I’m getting no hops and stuff all malt. Still I could drink it from a plastic cup at the footy.

Next was the Furstenbrau. I thought by the look of the can it was German. Wrong I guess. As best I can tell its Greek, a country not known for their brewing heritage. Upon pouring I’d say this is paler than the Gosser. It tastes of even less too. This beer has nothing going on. On the can it says ‘Quality Product”. What the fuck were they thinking. In favour of this beer is that it has a high wetness factor. And its very clear. On the can it also says ‘best before end” I’m going to assume that means that the last mouthful will taste bad. I doubt I’ll finish this beer. Perhaps this beer would be best used instead of water for boiling hotdogs in. The can is attractive though.

The Aussie Beers are old friends from my uni days.
ICE beer which I’m guessing is the old Hahn Ice. I think there was some story about it being ice brewed or something. I remember drinking this at the end of exams with my mate Crackas listening to Roxet and watching Flash Gordon. Ah the good old days. I think the ice brew thing got us in to that beer, it also may have been slightly higher alcohol. I don’t know that this is the same beer. OK on pouring this beer is clearer than the others. I can pretty much watch TV through it. It has a bit of a nose on it, not sure what it is (but it has a scent which puts in front of the Greek offering) and upon tasting it has more of an Australian lager taste to it. I put this down to less DMS, this is basically that canned corn taste that a lot of euro lagers have. Its still not much of a beer though. 3 cans in this is kind of a bad idea. What have you don’t to me Cooky?

Tooheys Red. I remember this beer being $20 for 30 cans. How could you beat this? Awesome. I also remember thinking that drinking this beer from a glass somehow made it taste better. It was always an economic decision rather than a go to beer. Has a bit of colour and a stronger nose that the others. This also has a bit more flavour. But not much. This would be my pick of the domestic cooking lager. I remember the add for this beer having something about a German back packer asking for 9 of them. Bugger that I say. This beer may be say 4 IBU with the Ice beer being 2IBU.

I’d really forgotten how bad these beers were, or perhaps wasn’t aware how far my beer tastes have gone. From today’s Cooking Lager Tribute I have learnt that if nothing else. And not to buy the cheapest beer at the supermarket if I want to enjoy a beer. These are not bad beers, they are faultless, and consistent. They don’t make me smile though so although I will enjoy a cheap mass produced lager at family gatherings and sporting events I don’t think I’ll be going back to them. Cooky I’ll hand this space back to you, time for me to have a home brew, a brown ale I think.

Cheers D


10 thoughts on “Cooking Lager Tribute

  1. I'm honoured and pleased to see the appreciation of dirt cheap lager is global!

  2. Darren says:

    it's an honor Cooky, and it took me back a few years. Not going to say i enjoyed all the beers but I did enjoy the process. Glad to get your nod of approval

  3. The term “cooking lager” is a very British colloquialism but one that deserves to go global. Modern cookery shows will tell the viewer that only the best ingredients produce the best dishes. In more austere times cooks routinely used cheap wine in cookery and drank the good stuff. The term “cooking sherry” has long been a term in Britain for cheap and nasty inauthentic fortified wine not from the Jerez region of Spain. Bought by old ladies for cooking but often necked. You might ask your Gran “been on the cooking sherry, old girl?” as a cheeky reply. The term cooking lager is one I first heard a mate use to describe his night out. “Went out and had a skin full of cooking lager last night”, meaning fizzy bland macro lager. Beer appreciation in Britain is often as much a war against macro lager as appreciating craft beer. Hence the need to voice the joy of appreciating dirt cheap supermarket lager. It’s cold, it’s fizzy, it’s cheap, it gets you pissed, what can be bad about that?

  4. Darren says:

    thanks for the clarification, I get the idea of cooking shery (or wine) and references to your grandmother drinking it. We have that same shit here, often gets refered to as goon (cask wine). As for its cold fizzy cheap and gets you pissed, lets not start on whats wrong with it, although i still do enjoy my fair share of it. I'm more into the craft side of beer. Macro lager is in no danger of extinction in my neck of the woods.Still there is one thing you havent addressed, that is the idea that you shouldnt cook with something you wouldnt drink. Would this kind of product breach the rules you live by?

  5. There is nothing I wouldn't drink. And cook with booze? It burns the ethanol off, why would anyone do that?

  6. Darren says:

    Nothing you wouldnt drink? you should have tried my bacon flavoured vodka. And I did suggest cooking hot dogs in the Greek beer, if you simmered it below the evaporation point of the alcohol we would have cooking with out loss of booze and dinner. How can that be wrong?

  7. jayelde says:

    Great post! I remember drinking a cube (30 cans) of Hahn Ice back in the bad-old-days of my youth. The reaction was so terrible that I have never gone near that beer since…AND…I can still barely look at said beer when I unfortunately see it in shops these days!But yes, great thing to do…cover the full spectrum of beer to remind yourself of why "good beer" is good…or not. Which is why I'll still drink XXXX on a hot day when at a regional QLD pub.

  8. Darren says:

    I am well and trully reminded. Looking forward to the Spectapular this weekend and washing all memory of Red and ICE out of my mind

  9. Kate says:

    "Gut besser" loosely means "Good better" in German. However I take it from your review of the beer, this description not only shits on all known grammar rules, but is also highly inaccurate.

  10. Darren says:

    so far from accurate that it may actually be correct

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