In all my years of exploring beers, I this is the first beer from Argentina I’ve ever seen on sale in the UK. I suppose it’s possible that this might have something to do with the ‘unpleasantness’ that took place between Britain and Argentina back in 1982, and by the sound of recent ‘sabre rattling’ this could recur in this 30th anniversary year.
You won’t be surprised to learn that Quilmes, like so many breweries around the world, was founded by an ex-patriot German. In this case it was one Otto Bemberg, who had trained as a brewer at university in Munich. He founded the Quilmes brewery in 1888 in the city of Quilmes, about 10 miles south of Buenos Aries; the city itself was named after an indigenous Argentine tribe that had been forced to settle in the area by Spanish Conquistadors in 1666.
The brewery is now a major employer in the city, brewing some 330 million gallons of beer annually. Nationally it has around 75% market share and even sponsors the Argentine national football team (that’s soccer, okay?).
Almost inevitably the company was swallowed up by Ambev, the Brazilian corporation that morphed into InBev and now Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Enough history, as a previous sub-title for The Brew Club used to read “it’s all about the beer”!
Well, this beer pours a very pale gold, with a reluctant head that vanishes with indecent haste. There’s no nose to speak of and the flavour is disappointing, there’s no body to speak of and no hint of the 4.7% alcohol.
Here in the UK, this should be going head to head with premium lagers like Peroni, Stella Artois and Grolsch. As such it is unimpressive, it might as well be a cheap 3.5% supermarket lager.
It comes in a 970ml bottle – that’s about two American pints – but I couldn’t bring myself to finish it.
I started this review by observing that I had never encountered an Argentine beer before, and I wondered why they weren’t more common in the UK. On the basis of this example I think I now understand – they’re not very good – and certainly not worth shipping nearly seven thousand miles.
I’ll give this 1 star.
On a hot summer day I suppose could down one of these, but I could just as easily drink something brewed more locally and save someone the effort of shipping it. I wouldn’t serve it to my friends.
~Bob the Brit