Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Жигулёвское Lager Beer


Type: Lager
Origin: St. Petersburg, Russia
Price: $1.99/16.9 oz
ABV: 4.0%

This is the first beer I had during the Great 2011 Power Outage. The first beer of many, because what do you do when the power's out for 8 hours? You drink and hang out with your neighbors and drink more.

So, a bit of backstory on this beer. The Cyrillic name of this beer translates to Zhiguljovskoje (also conveniently printed on the bottle for those of us who can't understand Cyrillic without Google Translate), which was at one time apparently pretty much the only brand of beer you could get in the USSR. But the beer being reviewed here is actually made by Baltika. So I don't know if
Zhiguljovskoje became a style of beer rather than a brand, and this is just Baltika's incarnation of it, or if Baltika actually acquired the Zhiguljovskoje brand and began producing it. In the end, it doesn't really matter all that much because this isn't a fucking Soviet cultural history class.

The color of this beer was unexpected. I figured it'd look like a lot of other cheap eastern European lagers (e.g. the lower-numbered end of the Baltika line Brendan made his way through), you know, like your piss after you go for a six-mile run. But this looks a lot like a golden ale, much deeper than I would've thought. The cloudiness actually makes it look a bit like a Belgian. The nose has the typical sweet skunked character, but with a weird starchiness, almost like dried pasta or peanut shells. Probably just a bit of staleness from being a touch past the 'best before' date, so I'll give it a pass. The flavor has the same features, but the finish has an additional sourness (more like spoiled than skunked) that's a bit off-putting. But right on the front, there's a nice crisp maltiness that prevents this beer from being a total pooch-screw.

So, all in all, not terrible, but nothing I'd hurry to buy again. If the finish wasn't a bit nasty it might actually be pretty good, but it is, so it's not.

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