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The Foreign Beer Test

I meant to write about this a few weeks ago but got distracted.  At last month's TRUB homebrew club meeting, someone brought in two bottles of commercial beer.  One was a London Pride he'd bought a a bottle shop down the road.  The other was a bottle of London Pride he'd brought back from a trip to the UK the week prior.

There was no question which bottle tasted better- the one smuggled straight back from London won hands down.  In fact, several folks at the meeting said the fresh bottle was one of the better foreign beers they'd tasted.

There are a lot of things that can affect the flavor of a beer heading to another country, things like the temperature it's stored at or how long it takes to get from the brewery to a store shelf can all erode the quality of the beer.  Hell, in some cases foreign beers have breweries in other countries that make beer for export.  Case in point, the Guinness sold in the United States isn't brewed in Ireland, it's brewed in Canada.  Even if every other part of the brewing process is exactly the same, the difference in water sources will have an undeniable effect on the flavor.

This got me thinking about imported beers and whether or not most of the ones I'd tried had a fair shot at impressing me.  Might Corona and Heineken actually taste good straight from the tap?

What's your experience with foreign beers?  Have you been able to try any while visiting the country they originated in?  Did they taste better?  Share your experiences in the comments below!