My daughter traveled to Mauritius recently to get married, and despite the various and considerable distractions of wedding, honeymoon and all that she and her new husband were kind enough to remember to bring back some samples of the local brew for The Brew Club!
Mauritius is an island situated about 300 miles east of the island of Madagascar, itself a hundred or so miles off the eastern coast of southern Africa. The Portuguese first established a base on the island in the early 16th century, but quickly lost interest, then the Dutch through 17th century before it became a French possession in 1715. The British then captured it in 1810 (Napoleonic wars and all that) and it finally gained its independence in 1968. Mauritius is possibly best known as the home of the now extinct ‘Dodo’ bird.
Phoenix Beer was launched in 1963 and is the most popular beer on the island; the brewery also brews local versions of Guinness, Peroni and Smirnoff Ice, as well as holding the local rights to manufacture Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite and so on. Phoenix Beer is firmly ingrained in local culture, being responsible for sponsoring sporting and cultural events on the island and revelling in the tag-line “NOU PAYS. NOU LA BIERE.” (Our Country. Our beer.)
Much of Mauritius is used for sugar cultivation, so all the ingredients are imported ‘from Australia and Europe’.
It pours a crisp ‘Barley Sugar’ gold, with a fleeting white head; there’s little or no lacing.
The nose is a cunning blend of fruity hops and rich maltiness, a surprisingly complex nose from a ‘beach lager’.
The taste is crisp and refreshing.
Okay so I described this as a ‘beach lager’ – which might sound disparaging, I’m sure you know what I mean – but this is a cut above the average, there’s a depth and maturity in there – possibly as a result of the ‘strictly monitored’ maturation period.
I’m happy to give this three stars, if you find yourself on this small piece of paradise in the Indian Ocean, then look no further.
Oh… and subsequently my wife and I took some time out in Mauritius, and I can confirm that it tastes even better in the sunshine!
Bob the Brit