Cheap beer

by / 16/07/07

If you see a bright-orange milk tanker on campus today, do not be alarmed. It is not the Vice-Chancellor’s controversial new company car, it is in fact the start of the “The Tui Beer Run”.

The Beer Run (www.tuibeerrun.co.nz) is a new promotion encouraging students to decorate their flats in Tui colours and merchandise in order to win prizes, free beer and maybe even a visit from the Tui brewery workers (as depicted on television, not the actual brewery workers who are mainly called “Bill”).

The arrival of an orange milk tanker seemed like the perfect opportunity to review some of the more affordable beers on the market today.

Sometimes an exasperated student will lean back in their chair, close their state-of-the-art laptop, take out their iPod nano earplugs, put their designer sunglasses on top of their head, take a big swig of V, move their pack of cigarettes, adjust their label t-shirts, put their box-fresh trainers up on the table and say:

“Look Neil, I’m just a poor student. I really can’t afford all these hoity-toity beers you keep recommending. Those are for rich people who take showers and stuff…”

So, I decided to put Tui to the test against nine competing beers which all sell for under $15 a dozen. The tasting was conducted by a panel of five (two female, three male) with diverse beer tasting skills (ranging from beer guru to “I don’t really drink beer”). Each panellist marked the beers out of ten and made a few comments. Beers were therefore scored out of fifty, and here are the results:

13 points – Flame (5.2%, $13/dozen) “Easy to carry, hard to drink.” “Has a smell familiar to students who have set their couches on fire.” “I imagine this is what a jandal tastes like.”

16 points – DB Bitter (3.5%, $10/dozen) Sugary and uninspiring, “reminiscent of flat Sprite Zero.” Sponsors the Warriors too.

20 points – DB Draught (4%, $15/dozen) “The Switzerland of beers” – kind of neutral. Blue collar brew.

20 – Resch’s Real Bitter (4%, $15/dozen) Reasonably bitter but “tastes like there is vodka in it.” Name could be unintentionally onomatopoeic.

20 – Hollandia (5%, $12/dozen) Grassy but “failed to deliver.”

25 – Burmeister (4%, $9/dozen) Not exactly tasty, but light and easy to drink.

25 – Bushmans’ Draught (4%, $14/dozen) The Mill’s own swappa-crate, some malt and vaguely pleasant overall.

26 – Tui (4%, $14/dozen) Pleasant, caramel, tingly.

33 – Haagen (5%, $15/dozen) Yeasty, malty, bitter – real flavours! “Surprisingly good.”

34 – Bavaria (5%, $14/dozen) Smooth, semi-dry, “very drinkable.”

It was quite a pleasant way to start a Saturday night really.

The beers were kindly supplied by the darker side of the excellent beer selection at Thorndon New World (Molesworth Street) and by that old friend of budget-conscious students, The Mill on Victoria Street (www.themill.co.nz).

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