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Diary of a Beer Girl: sampling the beers of the Commonwealth

Scotland did excellently in the Commonwealth Games! 53 medals in total with 19 golds. 

There were over 600,000 visitors to Games and Festival showcasing Glasgow as the vibrant, friendly city we know and love. Watching it made me feel very proud to be Scottish.

I also had a great time celebrating the other countries taking part in my own way, with beers from eight different Commonwealth countries. Check out my previous post to learn about the brewing industry in each of the countries.

Canada - Hop City Barking Squirrel lager

Canada may have come third overall in the medal table, but Barking Squirrel lager was my second favourite of all the beers I tried! It really was a pleasant surprise. Instead of the average lager taste I was expecting, it was a lot more flavoursome.

It poured a coppery/amber colour and was quite caramelly as well as having citrus hints which was an interesting mix. I'm not a fan of overly fizzy beers and for me this had the perfect level of carbonation, not too bubbly but not completely flat either. Lagers have a bit of a bad name in the beer world so it's great to see more and more good quality, flavoursome lagers coming on to the market. Top work Hop City!

Bangladesh - Bangla

Bangladesh may not have had the most exciting Commonwealth but it came into its own in shooting. Abdullah Baki won a silver medal while women made the final in both the pistol and rifle events. Bangla is the perfect accompaniment to a very spicy, full flavoured curry. It's very mild and not too carbonated so you don't have to worry about it overpowering the spicy flavours.

Barbados - 10 Saints rum casks

Shane Brathwaite was Barbados' only medallist of the Games! I celebrated his fantastic win in the 110 m hurdles with a bottle of 10 Saints which is aged in Mount Gay 'Special Reserve' Rum casks. Rum is one of my favourite spirits (whisky is obviously no.1) so I was very excited to try 10 Saints. It had a much stronger rum taste than I was expecting, more so than other rum aged beers I've tried. It tasted quite alcoholic so I was surprised to learn it only had a 4.8%. Aside from the rum, it was quite sweet and the beer itself was surprisingly light in colour. It took me about halfway through the bottle to decide whether I liked it or not and in the end it won me over.

Sri Lanka - Lion Stout

I was pleasantly surprised with the Lion Stout and I think it's my favourite out of all the beers I tried! It's a bottle conditioned stout with a relatively high alcohol content of 7.5% ABV. It was much sweeter than I expected, but not sickly. There were chocolate and coffee notes and as well as roasted malts and fruity notes. The label states that you should enjoy it alongside spicy foods, and I can definitely imagine the sweet fruitiness complimenting a curry very nicely.

Unlike Bangla, Lion Stout has quite a strong flavour so it would definitely be an addition to a curry, rather than a palate cleanser on the side. I'll definitely be repurchasing this!

Australia - Cooper's Pale Ale

My flatmate studied in Melbourne for a year at university and when she saw a bottle of Coopers sitting on our shelf, she was very excited! I shared it with her while we watched the netball which made me feel quite nostalgic since I played for nine years. It was very easy to drink and I can imagine it would be a great thirst-quencher while sitting on a beach in the hot Australian sun! It's bottle conditioned so there was quite a lot of sediment but it had a nice citrusy taste with more of a bitter aftertaste.

Nigeria - Gulder Lager

Nigeria dominated the lifting events of the games and a characteristic Nigerian weightlifters share with their beers is strength. Gulder was originally a very strong lager introduced to Nigeria in 1970. In fact, it was considered to be too strong and and was withdrawn from the market due to customers complaining of hangovers! It went through some changes and was brought back in 1972 in a softer, less alcoholic form.

The lager I tried is brewed with Sorghum malt which could explain the slightly odd taste! It was quite grainy but light and citrusy, like you'd expect from a lager. I'm not sure I'd buy this beer again but it was definitely interesting to try.

Mauritius - Phoenix beer

I enjoyed a bottle of Phoenix while I watching Kennedy St Pierre put up a valiant effort to get a silver in the Men's light heavyweight boxing final. Boxing is one of my favourite sports to watch and Phoenix beer was a nice addition to the occasion. The taste was as expected, light and fruity with a malty, bitter finish. It didn't overly excite but it was pleasant and easy to drink. I'd be interested to try Blue Marlin, a stronger lager also brewed by Phoenix to compare the two.

Cyprus - Keo

This was a fantastic games for the Cypriots with Dimitris Minasidis the weightlifter winning them their first ever Commonwealth gold medal! They then went on to win another in skeet shooting the very next day. Keo was pretty much exactly as I expected, a light, refreshing lager type beer. There's nothing that was very stand-outish about it but it was certainly drinkable, especially on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

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