Thursday, October 11, 2018

Episode 15: Foster's Lager with Brent Treash, American Hero

I. Introduction

"That's what she said."

William and Ralph were Irish-American brothers who immigrated from New York to Melbourne, Australia in 1886.  Three years later they were producing their first beers for local consumption, and three years after that their brew became the first Australian beer export, sent to South Africa to bolster the spirits of the young men fighting in the Boer Wars.  Shortly thereafter their brewery consolidated with Carlton & United Breweries who continued producing the brothers’ beer exclusively for sale in bottles, the only way it would be available until 1958 when it was first sold in cans.  For most of that time today’s beer was the flagship beverage in the CUB line, until the early 1970s when it began to be exported to Britain and the United States.  Through the 1980s CUB shifted the brand’s marketing and sales focus overseas, till by the 21st century it was almost impossible to find in Australia, but had become the second most popular beer in the United Kingdom.  This growth was in no small part possible because of the craze for all things Australian in North America and Europe during the 1980s and 1990s, a craze fed by the Crocodile Dundee series of films, by Quigley Down Under, by the Mad Max films, Cheech Marin’s masterpiece Shrimp on the Barbie, and my personal favorite product of Australia, Yahoo Serious’ masterpiece Young Einstein.

Today’s beer, however, finds itself in legal trouble over one little thing.  Despite advertising itself as “Australian for beer,” only a small proportion of its output is actually brewed in the great Southern Continent and even less of it is consumed there.   In Britain, its largest market, it is actually brewed in Manchester, while in the United States the quaff bubbles out of Fort Worth, Texas or Albany, Georgia, or in some northern climes, is imported from Canada – hell, it is also produced in China, France, Japan, Portugal, India, Ireland, Sweden, Vietnam and, yes, Australia.

Now part of Anheuser-Busch InBev, a symbol of Australia barely consumed by Australians, today’s beer is one of the best symbols of globalization’s impact on the beer market, multinationalism in an oil can.

That’s right, today on Pickled Eggs & Cold Beer we’re talking about Foster’s Lager.

Today's theme is Leroy Carr's 1935 "Six Cold Feet in the Ground."

II. Our Guest, Well-Known Roustabout Brent Treash

"That's what she said."

III. Rubric

BeerAdvocate: 2.53 of 5

RateBeer: 2.01 of 5

Untappd: 2.75 of 5

ABV: 5% in the United States, 4% in Europe

Ingredients: Water, barley malt, yeast, corn syrup, hops

Cost: $1/2 to $$

IV. Our Reviews and Talking Points

Appearance: Golden, not overly pale, transparent, translucent.  Begins with a heavy head but that rapidly recedes, leaving a lager with low carbonation.

Aroma: Mild hoppiness, fades quickly to fairly typical but light lager odor.

Flavor: A lager with mild hoppiness, light fruitiness.  Finishes relatively clean but with a little sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, low carbonation, middle-weight.

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors:  There is a kangaroo on the $%&@ing can, but this beer is only Australian in the most limited way.  Nothing really stands out about this one.

Overall:  Brent dived bombed Foster's Lager with a rating of 0.75; Clayman and Eric gave it rating that reflected their sense of the beer's general inoffensiveness, tying at 2.25 of 5.  Overall we gave Foster's a 1.75 of 5 stars. 

V. Sponsors

This episode was sponsored by two wonderful local businesses:

Leben Farms of Abingdon, Virginia

Leben Farms is a community supported-agriculture (CSA) program that offers locally grown fresh vegetables in weekly boxes to its members in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.  Using organic and regenerative practices to grown nutrient dense food, community-supported agriculture is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers. In short: people buy "shares" of a farm's harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they're harvested.

Check them out on Facebook or Instagram.


Glade Pharmacy in Glade Spring, Virginia
33472 Lee Hwy, Glade Spring, VA 24340

Locally owned and managed, Glade Pharmacy provides the highest quality pharmaceutical service in the Emory/Glade Spring area.

VI. Plugs

ALF (1986-1990)

Young Einstein (1988)
Yahoo Serious in Character and his Doppleganger,
Our Friend - Brian Gillespie

VII. Further Reading and Viewing

Tom Cowie. December 16, 2015.  "New York Man Sues Foster's for Not Being Brewed in Australia."  The Sydney Morning Herald .

David Downie. "Foster's - Its Australian for Beer, Mate! Or Is It?"

Jonathan Pearlman. December 23, 2013.  "Foster's Beer 'Bland and Inoffensive,' Admits Former Head of Brewery." The Telegraph.

Brett Romero. June 25, 2015. "Why Australians Love Foster's and Other Beer Related Stories."

Ronald Theriot. October 17, 2016. "Foster's Lager 'Double Down." Louisiana Beer Review.

VIII. Selected Advertisements

c. 1960s

c. 1981

c. 1986

c. 1987

c. 1993

c. 2002

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