Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Barrons Gone Wild: Turkey

Claustrophobic selfie in Cappadocia
So here I am in the Underground City of Cappadocia.  When you are the same proportions as an NFL lineman, you tend to avoid places that begin with "underground," but here I am, choking down panic attacks as I squeeze through tunnels made strategically small to make for a tight fit for a normal person, but I am not a normal person.  It fit me like a wet sweater made of mind numbing claustrophobia.

We emerge to a pretty spacious room and I sit down on the lip of this trough/cistern thing to give my head some space to breathe and to calm down from the birthing I just had from the dusty tunnels.  From the periphery of my personal pep talk, I see our tour guide glide her outstretched hand towards where I was sitting and with snappy English and awkward vowels explains to the group that this was a winery.  I smile, feigning interest and pretend to be not completely losing my shit. 

Being in an, albeit secular, Islamic country that is a cradle of civilization with thousands of years of wine tradition, I should have known my beer choices would have been... limited.
The real Efes.
In Turkey, the beer lover has few choices: Pilsner or Dark Lager.  Being Turkey's largest multinational brewery, Anadolu Efes Brewery has a large chunk of the beer industry.  Even with recent competition from Miller and Beck's, Efes advertisements are everywhere and on every menu.  According to their investor fact sheet, Efes totes themselves as the 5th largest European brewery on a combined production basis and 12th in the world market.  As those numbers may imply to the beer savvy, it is no surprise that they use rice and high fructose corn syrup.

Efes Pilsner: When you have had one Euro-Lager... you get the idea.  Pours a clear crystal honey with an appropriate amount of head.  Crisp and refreshing, Hallertau hops lightly dance upon your tongue and slightly linger with this pilsner's iron/mineral finish.  If someone were to ask me what it tastes like I would just say, "Beer."  It's taste is like generic clip art you put in to add humor to your bland Power Point presentation.

I polished off three of these without batting an eye.  It wasn't until the hotel barman brought us stale Doritos and Raki (an anisette liquor) that Efes Pilsner started getting interesting, but that was probably the Raki.

Efes Dark:  Not much more to say, other than "Euro-Dark Lager."  Malty goodness that was maybe a little too sweet and its mineral finish a little too tinny.  Of all the beers I had in Turkey, this was probably the best, but considering its competition, I was more interested in the Toblerone McFlurry from McDonald's than the beers Turkey had to offer.

Tuborg Gold: I realize it's a Danish company, but Tuborg Gold was the only other option I had besides Efes.  A Euro-Lager that I found surprisingly dense, but annoyingly grassy.  Not much to say about it other than it paired well the sleep meds to help me survive a fourteen hour flight.

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