The world tour continues with Vonu and Tusker

I forgot to take a picture – here’s one I stole of the interwebs

It’s that time again, time to taste beers from exotic locales. Up today are two beers, one from the tranquil South Pacific island of Fiji and the other from the heart of Africa – Kenya.

Let’s start with the Fijian brew. Now I’ve been to Fiji and all I remember about its beer is that there was Fiji Bitter, bottles of which the locals called Fiji Babies, which tasted suspiciously like VB and there was also Fiji Gold, which tasted suspiciously like Carlton Draught. This perhaps wasn’t surprising given they were owned by CUB (at the time).

But I’m happy to tell you that there is a craft beer alternative, Vonu, which is a very slick looking beer from Nadi. The bottle would look at home behind the bar at any upmarket bar (or possibly upmarket Fijian resort) with it’s see through label, modern yet simple turtle logo and gold writing.

The beer looks just as good out of the bottle too, you are greeted with a pleasant golden yellow colour. The malt shines through as it’s not hidden behind too much carbonation. It is a sweet beer and I thought I could sense hints of honey in there as well, which made it all the more interesting.  This seems like a beer well suited to Fiji, refreshing, easy to drink and versatile, it would work equally well with fish as it would with spicy Indian food that is so prevalent in Fiji.

I tell you what if this was around when I visited Fiji about ten years ago I may have never left. Pint.

Also if you want to read a nice story about the brewery itself, as well as getting a head start on my prediction for New Zealand’s next craft beer darling head over here:

But it’s now time to leave Fiji and head to Kenya.

If you think Tusker is some quaint African microbrew you’d be very wrong, firstly it’s a publicly listed company on the Nairobi Stock exchange (strangely you never hear much about the NSE) owned mainly by Diageo, it has 30% market share in Kenyan beer market and they make about 140 million bottles of this a year. They also own Tusker FC which competes in the Kenyan Premier League, which I think is cool. On a side note I have a beach volleyball team that any willing brewery can sponsor for a slab and some t-shirts, we’re pretty awesome.  

I love the bottle (500ml) and the label on this – the strong elephant logo and the colours.  Better still the name Tusker comes from the name of the elephant that killed brewery founder George Hurst. An odd choice one would think, but it does have some romantic charm and certainly better than Heart Disease, Syphilis or maybe just Died of Old Age beer.

Tusker FC at work

The beer itself is good looking, a strong yellow colour with a good head that laces nicely. The taste is a touch sweet and carbonation is soft. In fact you would argue that it’s quite European in its approach. There is just a hint of fruit hops, but it does not linger. It’s a good solid refreshing brew that is better than most. – Pint


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