17 July 2014 - Best Beer HQ
Does it matter if your foreign beer is imported or brewed locally?
How authentic is that foreign beer you’re drinking? Does it even matter?
While once upon a time it was a given that when you order a fancy foreign beer in the pub you would be getting the real deal – an imported beer with more air miles than you have – nowadays that beer mightn’t have travelled very far indeed. In fact, it might have been brewed up the road.
Famous foreign beers brewed under licence by domestic breweries pose a number of questions. Does the “fake imported beer” taste the same as the international one that it purports to be? Doesn’t it kind of defeat the purpose of ordering a foreign beer in the first place?
It’s a subject that’s long been long debated by beer purists around the world – and many a bar patron after a few too many beers at the pub. But the debate does have merit.
There’s a case to be made that a foreign beer brewed under licence domestically will be fresher and cheaper. It keeps people in work (at least locally) and represents a very lucrative opportunity for major international breweries.
Meanwhile, some beer lovers are blissfully unaware that the Peroni or Stella Artois they’re drinking isn’t from Italy or Belgium at all, but from a factory in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain or wherever.
However, surely the purpose of ordering a foreign beer in the first place is to expand one’s horizons, try something new and exotic, and to dream a little dream about life in the country the beer came from.
Furthermore, according to researchers at the University of Seville, beer varies a great deal depending on where it comes from. As reported by the Daily Mail, the university’s research shows that the raw materials used to brew a beer vary on a molecular level – which results in a subtly different taste.
You can’t argue with taste. It turns out that Guinness actually does taste different in Ireland, Peroni might actually be better in Italy, and Foster’s is, well, probably still as horrible in Great Britain as it is in Australia.
Right now, beer purists will be shouting at their screens: ‘I don’t need a university to tell me this!’ That’s right. You probably don’t. But spare a sympathetic thought for all the people out there who are none-the-wiser, sipping on a bottle of Heineken or Stella Artois because they think it makes them cultured.
Those people will need to get out a heck of a lot more if they really want to know what those beers actually taste like.