Brewed in New Market, a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, my first experience with this beer was in an English pub in San Diego.
Across the bar, a neon sign broadcast to everyone that Steinlager was on tap, and since neon lights illuminate all that is good and holy on the earth, I instantly became mesmerized by the notion I could have a Kiwi beer in San Diego.
If one is going to drink beer, it is my belief that it should be a quest. Not a quest for the quickest buzz, but a quest for the best taste, flavor, aroma, finish, color, and overall quality. Anyone can sit down and drink a PBR or a Busch, but for many, sitting down to a Smithwick’s is like sitting down for sushi – a foreign concept.
Beer also has a geographic quality, in that beers produced globally can vary in taste, color, and quality. For some cultures, i.e. Thai or Japanese, the brewing of beer is a relatively new endeavor, introduced by a colonial power. For others, i.e. the Czechs and Germans, brewing beer has been around for a thousand years.
Steinlager was created in 1957 under the auspices of the New Zealand government to replace imported beers in New Zealand with a domestic beer. Man, do I feel sorry for the New Zealanders . . .
What is the bottom line, then? Is this beer worth drinking? In a word, no; save your money.
I have consumed a fairly wide variety of beers, not quantities of beer, but a variety of beers, and I have to say I have tasted none as bad as this beer in a long time.
I’m pretty sure I figured out how it was “brewed” and I use that term loosely.
First, good beer is imported from abroad. The beer is then consumed by whatever is available, people, or perhaps sheep, since sheep outnumber people in New Zealand about 12:1. Kidneys are then used to filter the beer, and the kidney output is collected and piped into bottles containing the Steinlager label for resale abroad.
Pure speculation on my part, of course, but I suspect that my formula hits close to the mark.
Your mileage may vary.