The VB of paradise
6/10 (albeit pretty good value for the price)
Another visit to the bottle-o, another fascinating thing to ponder. Truly, Liquorland really knows how to blindside a dude with blasts of wild enlightenment, particularly on perfectly nondescript Wednesday nights. This evening’s mysterious beer engenders all kinds of wondering about the value of novelty and Otherness. Case in point: ‘Phoenix, the famous beer of Mauritius’. Seriously, Mauritius.
Mauritius is a tiny island in the Indian ocean that is apparently better at the whole ‘governing a nation’ thing than the US, the UK and maybe even ‘straya. With a national population the size of Brisbane, could they possibly be better at beer as well?
No dice, Mauritius. You may have a sweet education system, and an economy based on something other than digging rocks out of the ground, but when it comes to beer you’re as bogan as XXXX. Seriously, Phoenix is quite similar to the classic beers-of-origin: Tooheys, XXXX and VB. Also, the label has a slightly Reich looking eagle silhouette which stands at odds with its happy multiculturalism and avoidance of military spending.
For all I know Phoenix is about as authentically Mauritian as Fosters is Australian or Corona is Mexican. Indeed, its taste has revived my suspicion that most places export their least remarkable beers. BUT HERE IS THE THING: it retails for about $8 for a four-pack. That’s right, you can get EIGHT of these for the price of a six-pack of your local liver-busting state icons. Somehow it is effective for dudes on a tiny island to make this stuff and then ship it 9000km to beat the value of something that came from Milton. I know, I’ve raised this in previous beer reviews, but it still blows my mind a bit.
What I guess is interesting is the question of whether Phoenix is a Good Thing. If you like the taste of mass-produced old-school beer but need a bit of novelty in your life, this is your stuff. If you like the taste of mass-produced old-school beer, and want to get more beer for your your buck, this is your stuff. If you like silly made-up medals, this is the shit: it boasts of its ‘HIGH INTERNATIONAL QUALITY TROPHY’ and the ‘International Institute for Quality Trophy’ along with about six unspecified Gold Medals. Sadly, if you like complex tasty beer, Phoenix amounts to little more than a waste of time and effort (and fuel miles, I guess) to replicate a product that is easily whipped by brews sourced as nearby as Burleigh.