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pretty.jpg (22492 bytes)I am very much in love with the great country of Australia. The country is very beautiful and the people are relaxed and very friendly. On my vacations to Australia, it was hard to miss how relaxing the country is. In small Holland, the roads are packed, people think driving on the freeway gives them a right to start war if someone else does something they don't like. Suprised I was to see everyone come to a complete stop on corners, when in Holland probably three other cars would had gone before they would stop. I love Australia, but I can tell you one thing, Australians love beer. Proof of that is all the different names they have for this great drink like; frosty, tinny, tube, amber fluid or nectar, neck oil, singing syrop, brewery broth, etc. While Australians are generally concidered heavy beer drinkers, beer consumption has fallen quite a bit in the past few years. In the past 10 years per capita consumption has decreased by 20%.

pub2.jpg (14033 bytes)The pub, is always bussy and sometimes you get the impression that the pub is the centre of the whole comunity. Amazed also I was about the services the pubs provide. Services like, free drinks for a designated driver and a taxi/bus service. The pub ownder actually drives the customers home if they had too much to drink to be driving a car. I think these services are great and wish they provided these services here in Holland also.

Australian beer will be fairly familiar to North Americans; it's also familiar to what's known as lager in Europe. It may taste like lemonade to the European real-ale addict, but it packs quite the punch. It is invariably chilled before drinking, and if drank from a can or bottle a stubby holder is used to keep the beer cooled at all times.

pub.jpg (16824 bytes)Fosters is the best-known international brand with a worldwide reputation, but there is a bewildering array of Australian beers. Among the most well known are XXXX (pronounced "four-ex"), Tooheys Red, Fosters, Carlton Draught and VB (Victorian Bitter). Recent additions to the stable of old favourites include lower alcohol beers like Fosters Light Ice, and styles other than your average Aussie Lager, such as Blue Bock and Old Black Ale, made by Tooheys.

The smaller breweries generally seem to produce better beer - Cascade and Coopers being two examples. Coopers also produces a stout, popular among connoisseurs, and their Black Crow is a delicious malty, dark beer.
Small 'boutique' beers have become very popular so you'll find one-off brands scatered around the country. Beers such as Redback, Dogbolter and Eumundi, while being more expensive then the big commercial brands, are defenately worth a try. For the homesick Europian, there are a few pubs in major cities that brew their own bitter. Guinness is occasionally found on draught.

Standard beer generally contains around 4.9% alcohol, although the trend in recent years has been towards low-alcohol beers, with an alcohol content of between 2% and 3.5%. Tooheys Blue is a particulary popular light beer. And a warning: People who drink under the influence of alcohol and get caught lose their licences.

Interested in more information about my visits to Australia? Click here for the Arjen in Australia internet site.

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