Many Aussie drinkers still believe that a beer brewed in the country of origin will always be superior that the version “copied” by local breweries through a formal brewed-under-licence agreement. Now, Choice has conducted a physical test to address the arguments from both sides.
Blind taste tests were conducted with seven beers that are brewed under licence in Australia, alongside their counterparts from the origin brewery that had been brought into the country through parallel channels and were available on the retail market in Sydney.
The beers tested were Grolsch, Kronenbourg 1664, Carlsberg, Heineken, Stella Artois, Becks and Peroni Nastro.
The seven-person tasting panel was drawn from the brewing industry, hospitality and publishing, including respected brewers Ian Watson, Richard Adamson, Neal Cameron.
The results saw a clear majority in favour of the locally brewed versions. Only 2 of the 7 imported beers, Peroni and Stella Artois, were judged as superior to the Australian brewed-under-licence equivalents.
Beck’s split the panel with 3 for the local version, 3 for the parallel import and one expert was undecided between the two.
Freshness proved to be the key element that all the judges sought when scoring the beers. It is hard to beat the freshness offered by a locally brewed beer compared to any beer produced overseas that will require a minimum of weeks, but usually months, to be shipped, cleared and distributed following its release from the home brewery.
Ian Watson told Choice that beer starts deteriorating shortly after bottling and tastes best at the seven-day mark.
Choice’s conclusion: “If you like the taste of European beer but don’t like the idea of a globetrotting brew, you should have no hesitation about purchasing a beer brewed locally under licence. Of the seven beers we compared, there was no unanimously preferred brew, with local brands on par with their authentic counterparts.”
The panel also compared the official and parallel import versions of Corona available locally.
To view the full article, visit the Choice website’s Parallel import beer taste test.