In case you haven’t realised it, I’ll drink anything. Well, not quite anything. What I mean is, when I encounter a beer I’ve never tasted before, I like to remedy the situation asap. And so it was when I noticed my local Wetherspoons selling stubby little bottles of Efes Pilsen for a mere £1.49. I was intrigued. The shape of the bottle was not unlike that used by a great many Belgian brewers, a chunky affair with three gradually narrowing bands around the neck.
This beer doesn’t hail from Belgium though. Oh no, it journeyed all the way from that other Mecca of beerdom, Turkey. Efes Pilsen was first brewed in 1969 and is now the No1 beer in Turkey (according to them) with an estimated 80% of the market. It’s exported to many countries, being especially popular in Russia. Luckily for me, it sneaked its way over here as well.
Having a look at their website, I’m guessing that they totally dominate the beer market in Turkey. Not only do they produce this beer, but a few others under the Efes label, as well as many unpronounceable ones which are destined for the Russian and Central Asian beer drinker. They also brew, under licence, such well known beers as: Fosters, Becks, Warsteiner and MGD.
“A combination of crystal clean water and pure culture yeast yields superb fermentation and stable flavour, while Hallertau hops give Efes a complex finish.”
This beer pours a rich, honey-gold colour – crystal clear with a steady stream of sparkly bubbles rising to form a whispy head of thin white foam. The head doesn’t last well though, and only leaves a smattering of lacy residue on the glass.
The aroma is very herbal – minty and grassy…kinda green. There’s plenty of citric tones there – mostly lemon, but also a hint of orange as well and this is enhanced by a sense of honey. It’s a little spicy, a little peppery, but it’s not all hops. There are grainy notes and a touch of toffee and biscuit but it’s quite subtle.
It has quite a thin mouthfeel, a little watery and a surprising lack of effervescence – it’s only moderately carbonated and is pleasantly smooth. The taste is sweet, up front at least, with a definite honey and lemon flavour. The herby, minty tones are there in the palate too, but the spice in the aroma doesn’t seem to transfer…at least not that I can tell. It has a bit of a tang from the hops – just a little acidity, but it’s only a moderating effect, there’s no real bitterness present. It’s definitely grainy, but apart from the general sweetness, it’s hard to distinguish much from the malt – perhaps some biscuity, doughy flavour. It finishes crisp and clean, with a zesty, lemony aftertaste.
At 5% ABV, this wasn’t too bad. I’d say it was comparable to many run-of-the-mill euro-lagers, it’s a decent thirst quencher without taxing the taste buds too much. Compared to some of the ‘premium’ lagers on offer, it can hold its own…especially at that price. I don’t think it’s a beer I’d want to be drinking all evening, but on a hot day, or after a hot kebab, it’ll do the trick.
Would I drink it again? – Sure, next time I have a kebab on a hot day.