Monday, August 29, 2011

I can't get away from Efes

Most people think Turkey is an alcohol free country. Not so. The Turks drink. Heartily. Ataturk, their version of George Washington, was famous for loving the local anis-seed liquor, Raki. He's also got his own brewery for beer. Sure, the strict Islamists don't partake, but Turkey is a secular country, and so to each their own. For the most part.

The trouble is, as with many things, Turkey's beer manufacturing sector is a blatant monopoly. Efes Beverage Company makes not only their beer, but also Becks, Fosters, even MGD! That'd be all fine and good if Efes was decent beer, but it's not. I'll grant you, their Dark and Wheat variations are drinkable, and Becks won't let them mess up their German Purity laws very much; but the regular Efes Pilsner sucks.

And you can't escape it.

The only other brewery in town is Tuborg, and, to be honest, they aren't much better. You can get Bud, and Heineken, and, strangely, Brooklyn Brewery's Brown and Lager, but you will spend, I kid you not, 11 to 13 dollars a beer on any of these.

So, unless I was brewing, or had a hook up from the American base, then Efes was the go to beer.

And again, it sucks. And gives you a headache. The only good Efes we ever had was on hot days on the Mediterranean, and, let's face it, anything cold probably tastes good under these circumstances.

Though we hated leaving Turkey, I'll have to admit, there was clearly no love lost when Erin and I parted ways with the old Efes.

Which is why it was so damned funny when I went for a beer run in D.C. this summer, and came out, having spent 10 dollars on a six-pack of Efes, just to see the look on Erin's face. The Lebanese guy in the store gave me a thumbs up when I bought it, "good beer," he said.

I just nodded.

Here is my buddy Rhett and I, knocking back an Efes before a night tour of the U.S. monuments on the mall in D.C.

Having visited Turkey, my sister too appreciated the humor in finding Efes in her hometown.

And of course, the obligatory monument to Efes shot.

It's not surprising to find Turkish beer in D.C. My sister's roommate works at a fancy Turkish restaurant, and there are plenty of Turks wandering the streets. D.C. is of course, worldly like that. What did surprise me, was to find Efes in Korea.

With a catchy slogan as well, "Thirsting for Life!" and "The most popular beer in Europe!" Really??? Most popular huh? Interesting.

The Koreans loved it, or, maybe they just love a free sample:

An interesting observation by Erin, nowhere on the export Efes do they say it's from Turkey. What, Prime Minister Erdogan, aren't we proud of having the most popular beer in Europe come from your country?

Luckily, where I found this Efes was at the International Beer Festival, two blocks down from my house, and Efes was NOT all they were selling. I was pretty damned excited to find this nice little selection of beers, imported, if you will notice, and are still paying attention, by some company that is "Leading Korea's Craft BEEL Revolution." Ah, that one never gets old. Beer posters all over the place, and someone still messes up and put's an L where the R should be.

But seriously, not a bad selection, right? You can't argue with being able to buy an Anderson Valley IPA, two blocks from your house in Korea, now, can you.

Rogue, Lost Coast, Anderson Valley, and a couple of small Euro brewers all got to sell their wares here through this Korean Beel distributor. And I got to reap the benefits. The only thing that was the same as in Turkey, was the price, 10 damn dollars a bottle. And 20 for a Delirium Tremens!

Shit, pass me one of those free Efes Mr. Beel man.


AngelaMae said...

And just when you thought Efes was a Turkey only beer!! Hahaha... oh well, at least you can drink it in remembrance of the good ol' days in Turkey from time to time.

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