The taste is quite unique: strong, dry and sharp. It seems to have more hops than most other New Zealand beers and, thus, has more of a bitter bite to the finish.
Whenever I drink Steinlager, I always get the impression the beer is trying to transport me to a New Zealand mountaintop, such is the clear crispness of the taste. However, I am not a huge one for bite and Steinlager is perhaps just a little to hoppy to become a regular drink for me.
Steinlager was born in 1957 when Arnold Nordmeyer, New Zealand’s then Finance Minister, threatened to cut beer imports in response to a sagging economy. He challenged New Zealand’s brewers to “come up with an international-style lager beer”. Steinlager was the result — although it was first known as Steinecker, named after the manufacturers of the Aukland brewery. In 1962, Heineken took the brewers to court, insisting that “Steineker” was too similar to “Heineken”. So Lion Breweries changed the name to “Steinlager” and the name has stuck. Ironically, the beer which was first made in order to lure Kiwis away from European brews is now the Europe’s most-stocked Kiwi beer.
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