06 December 2008

Efes Pilsener/Bare Knuckle Stout (TUR/NH)

Efes Beverage is a swaggering international corporation based in Turkey. They apparently sponsor a basketball club where Mehmet Okur and Hidayet Turkoglu used to play (and where former Syracuse Orangeman Preston Shumpert currently plays, but I digress).

Their pilsener isn't all that bad. I think this a beer that our European cousins have seen around a lot, but it's new to me. It tastes like a second tier Euro pils, with grainy malts and light, grassy hops. Not much kick, but nothing off about it either, and it's reasonably crisp and refreshing. I liked it with a spicy stew.

Bare Knuckle Stout is A-B's attempt at a Guinness clone. I'd never heard of it before and ordered it in an out of town hotel bar thinking it might be a local beer. A-B only sells it on tap I think. It certainly has the look down, complete with cascading foam, and the nitrogen texture, for better or worse. Taste-wise, it comes across as a somewhat watery version of Guinness (which isn't the stoutest stout to begin with). Still, it wasn't bad, and I'd order it again in an A-B exclusive location (or maybe I'd order American Ale).

But who's going to drink it? This isn't Anheuser-Busch trying to overhwelm tiny microbreweries. Guinness has formidable marketing and distribution of their own. Also, I can't imagine the Guinness fanboys switching even if BK Stout were superior. Is Bare Knuckle destined to be the stout of choice in unlikely places (e.g., hotel and airport bars)? Or does A-B plan on doing some serious arm-twisting to take taps away from Guinness?


Beer Blokes said...

Efes has been around in Australia a few years now and seems popular as the second default beer at Greek restaurants (behind Myhos) and doesn't seem to mind the fact that it's Turkish - close enough?! Second tier Euro-Pils is a spot on tag. Wonder if between us we can get it to become a 'style'?!
Prof. Pilsner

Buttle said...

Well it's nice to hear Greek and Turkish beers being amicably served side by side.