Saturday, August 25, 2012

Good Beer. Fuck, Yeah!

This is what beer should look like.
Before I moved to Turkey, I liked beer a lot. I liked drinking beer, and I liked drinking a lot of it.

For awhile when I first arrived, I drank a lot of beer. It was hard to kill the beer habit.

Might as well have done it like this.
But there's a problem with beer in Turkey. It's all Efes and it all sucks. Carbonated beer-flavored rice water that tastes a bit like pee when it's warm.

No excuse for this beer.

Okay, there's also Tuborg, which also sucks. And there's Heineken, which is pretty bad. For years, the most tolerable beer to be found in Turkey has been Miller. Enough said with that one.

Recently, a beer called Leffe has appeared in major markets. Everyone is really happy about that. Leffe is all right. It has a sweet aftertaste I don't love, and I still can't bring myself to shell out 6 lira for a small bottle. But it's all right.

The Efes factory.
I'll still tolerate Efes when it's the only think around to drink, but just barely. It's hardly even worth the extra trips to the toilet to drink that shit. And sometimes it's nice on a really hot summer day, but only on tap.

All this just background to why yesterday was such a cool day. My dad, brothers, and I ditched the boy with my mom and loaded up in the car for a wee brewery tour. It was the best idea ever.

Not just because the company was good. Or the meat and cheese plate we had at one place. Or that we got to check out one of the micro-breweries and then the guy comped us the beer because my brothers' new job is going to be beer and they're wanting to do business with this guy.

No. It was the best idea ever because I drank 18 kinds of beer in one day and all of them were fabulous, even the ones I didn't like so much. You know why?

Because they weren't goddamn Efes.

Dear Efes: You suck.
Also, two of the places we went to were in converted warehouses. I love converted warehouses because they have exposed industrial pipes and ventilation tubes and old wooden beams. The brewing operation we saw was in a space that used to be a call center, making it the best possible use of a call center.

All of the beers came with lengthy, detailed descriptions that I pretty much lost the plot on halfway through. But I'm sure they were very interesting. I'll just never be the sort of person who goes on at length about an alcoholic beverage, except to talk about how it's great. Or how drunk it got me. Or the fact that it isn't Efes.

The first place, Hair of the Dog, had the best beer. There was also a meat plate with four kinds of cured salami-like meats and some cheese, plus dried fruit and giant capers.

We tried 4 beers there, plus my brother had a sour beer. It was weird and I didn't love it, but at least it wasn't Efes.
More very good beer

Very good beer
The other beers were like 10 million billion times better than Efes.

Pretty good beer
We made short work of that beer.

Interesting beer, but not my thing.
The next place was Cascade Brewing. Apparently sour beers are their specialty. One of them was made with ginger and lemon and my brother rightfully pointed out that it would have been better with vodka in it. The other one was kind of yucky but it was still way better than Efes.

12 very good beers.

The last brewery we went to was Coalition Brewing. That's the place where we got to see the beer tanks doing weird bubbly things and making interesting smells. Then the guy brought us a tray of 12 beers, cunningly arranged from lightest to darkest. The wheat beer was the lightest and I don't even like wheat beer but this one was great. So was the red beer. And one other one I forgot. The rest were good too, like 9.8 million billion times better than Efes, except for the porter because I don't like porter as much as other beer. But the porter was still 9.5 million billion times better than Efes.

Fuck you, Efes. Would it kill you to start making some good beer already?

Unless it's Efes.


Monkey1313 said...

Awesome Sarah! I love this one.

BacktoBodrum said...

You're going to hate this but I miss Efes when I'm abroad.

Stranger said...

I don't hate that.

I just think it's really, really weird.


Ayak said...

I actually like Efes, but then I wouldn't consider myself to be a beer connoisseur. I never drank beer in the UK, but do enjoy the occasional Efes...sorry :-(

Stranger said...

I won't hold it against you, Ayak ;)

Nico said...

You're not going to believe this but Efes have brought out a good beer. It's called 'Unfiltered' (in English) and it tastes mighty fine.

Stranger said...

I don't believe it. I've tasted unfiltered, and it's just like Efes, only slightly different.

Anonymous said...

Efes uses formaldehyde (like embalming fluid style). I've definately had my fair share though. This article had me cracking up! Takes me back. Good luck with all that! Turkey has many other good things to focus on instead :)

Stranger said...

I didn't come here and stay here this long for the beer, that's for sure :)

KuzuX said...

Give a try at Taps, a microbrewery in İstanbul. They produce the best beer i've tasted in Turkey

Stranger said...

I went to Taps way back in the Old Days when it was in Nişantaşı, and for sure they had some good beer. Their own brews weren't much to write home about, so I didn't, but they had a nice selection of foreign beers I couldn't really afford. I think I spent half of what was in my wallet on a bottle of Anchor Steam, and was relieved when we took the party elsewhere.

I heard they had the new(ish) digs in Bebek, but I haven't gone yet...