Water for Elephants
When O moved to London’s scummiest squat in the mid-90’s, she and her friends were all gushing over Special Brew, Carlsberg’s cheap, strong and nasty lager that did its job properly – got poor people drunk easily. When I moved to England a couple of months later, I tried this too. It WAS nasty, too nasty even to the old self-destructive moi, so I picked another, friendlier poison that is white cider.
Years passed. O is still rocking only now with a PhD on Bats in her tattooed hands, I’m not too keen on ciders – be them artificial and poisonous or crafty ones. And once again, I’m up to drinking strong brew by Carlsberg. I’m told I must try this before I die, see? Carlsberg Elephant Beer is not as strong as 9% abv. Special Brew, it’s only 7.2% alcohol. This fine drink was originally exported to West Africa but due to its popularity domestic marketing followed. The elephant on the label has nothing to do with Africa, though. Life- size statues of elephants adorn the entrance to the old brewery in Copenhagen, inspired by the Jacobsen’s family Subcontinental expeditions.
How’s the beer? Interesting. Interesting as in why the hell is it in the book whereas other mediocre commercial lagers are not.
Jacobsen Saaz Blond is another story, though. While not a great beer, it is definitely a beer to try: Husbryggeriet Jacobsen is Carlsberg’s crafty branch. Lower volumes, smaller distribution and more experimental than expected (see last entry about Blue Moon), all packed in a big, sharing-friendly and elegant bottle. The Dead Swedish Girl picked a Jacobsen Saaz Blond at the airport, on her way back from Copenhagen Beer Celebration. This is an attempt at Belgian-style beer with plenty of Czech Saaz hop and angelica extract. All this info is taken from the book, but my tasting notebook tells me that the beer I had in my glass smelled of cleaning detergent and plastic blue and tasted bitter and weird, but I couldn’t point out the weirdness. It didn’t make much sense but nevertheless, it’s something to try. Jacobsen will be available in Israel soon and I’ll probably try the Saaz Blond again, as well as their Sommer Wit that’s also in the book.
Elephant Beer and Jacobsen Saaz Blond are apparently beers #226 and #227 I Must Try Before I Die