05 October 2007

Time for a ruby?

Beer and food? That's a no-brainer for me and means curry every time. Historically speaking, the beer should be Carlsberg, the first lager to be associated with Indian food back in the 1920s. In general, however, I tend to drink Cobra. Yes I know it's made with maize and is about as Indian as I am, but I don't care.

In the halcyon days of the Dublin Brewing Company, my curry would always be accompanied by Maeve's Crystal Weiss, a spectacular spicy weissbier which sat beautifully with Indian food. It's gone now, though another Irish craft wheat beer is almost as good, namely Curim from the Carlow Brewing Company.

For this post, however, I'm going with a new "slow-brewed" lager called Time. This appears to be another one of the plastic paddies I ranted about over on Hop Talk last month. "Born in Ireland" says the label, and "Brewed in the European Union". The web address given is dead and the company address is an office over a boutique in central Dublin, also the address of several marketing and communications companies. It all adds up to contract brewed abroad and passed off as Irish.

Time, incidentally, was a brand formerly used by Smithwick's before it was taken over by Guinness. If Diageo still owned the trademark, no doubt they would have had it made at one of their Irish lager factories in Kilkenny or Dundalk where they make Harp, Satzenbrau, Bud and Carlsberg. However, I'm told the "Time Brewing Company" acquired the name when the trademark lapsed and they're having this brewed in England.

The beer itself, I'm pleased to report, is quite decent. It has a fairly light carbonation for a pilsner, which is a plus point when it comes to curry, and a bold malty flavour which cuts through the vindaloo sauce beautifully. At the end there's a little bit of a dry hops bite, but nothing too severe. It puts me in mind of Beck's, and if I had to guess a country of origin I would have placed it in Germany. All-in-all, Time passes the curry test with flying colours.

However, what with the vast range of eastern European lagers now available at bargain prices, I find it bizarre that someone would try and push an Irish-themed premium-priced lager onto the market. This sort of money will get you a bottle of Flensburger or Augustiner in any decent off licence. Why would a punter, either here or abroad, be attracted to this?


  1. Intersting re. Time beer. I tasted this recently & really liked it-if blind tasted would have said it's a German lager.A clever but not unusual marketing ploy, the label says 'born' in Ireland,i.e. not brewed here.Similar tactics used by the Meath based Celtic Brewing Co. to sell Baadoc Mongolian beer to the Mongolian BBQ in London and possibly Shiva 'from' Nepal.

  2. The born-not-brewed ploy has been in use by Coors for some time here. I'd say their lawyers did the research on it carefully.

    I don't recall the Shiva label saying it was supposedly from Nepal. Monty's menu quite proudly proclaims its Irishness.