One good thing about Hyderabad is the variety of beer you get here. Of course, this is only in comparison with Chennai, but still, that’s saying a lot, seeing as how we keep complaining Hyderabad’s not as good.
There are two shops that sell beer within striking distance of where I live, and usually the choice is limited to whatever beer’s in the cooler. However, if you are planning ahead, and don’t really care if the beer is not cold, you have quite a choice of beers. Almost always available are at least one of my two top favourites – Golden Eagle or Sandpiper. Both are smooth and are drinkable at most temperatures, including warm. Kingfisher, most people’s choice as a safe beer to drink, is really way down my list, though all variants are readily available usually. I find it quite undrinkable unless it is really cold.
A surprise entrant on my list is Royal Challenge, which when cold is easily better than a Kingfisher, but even if approaching room temperature, is unpalatable. Haywards 5000 is another that cannot be chugged unless it is really cold and there is nothing else available. Ice beer and San Miguel, brief acquaintances in Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry respectively, hover somewhere between Royal Challenge and Kingfisher, and also fall into the drinkable-only-if -cold category.
And then there are the dishonourable mentions. Top of these is a recent acquaintance called Armstrong, a dark-bottled, blue-labelled gut-rot that can easily make you sick. It is deceptive – the taste is quite okay. It’s the aftertaste that gets you – it tastes like you are chewing on a rusty spoon. And then it’s downhill all the way from there. Marco Polo and Bullet are two old acquaintances that can give Armstrong stiff competition, but thankfully I haven’t seen them here.
A relative newcomer is Godfather – I picked up a couple of bottles the last time I was at the store and the fellow there told me, “It’s very strong,” in a tone I chose to interpret as challenging. It was surprisingly smooth, but then it was quite cold. The real test will be if it is consumed in less than ideal conditions – not that I am eager to find out.
Continuing my list of favourites, I cannot but mention Singha (which was a lifesaver in Bangkok) and Lion (Sri Lanka’s very own). Singapore’s much touted Tiger beer didn’t impress too much, and will rank slightly below Kingfisher on my list.
So, in a mad fit of blogging enthusiasm, let me try and see if I can tempt any others to enumerate their favourite beers.