Habesha, Cold Gold

At this point it looks like we’ll have a long wait before we can travel again. On Thursday the UK Government announced a three week extension to lockdown, and who knows whether international travel will ever be as easy and cheap as before. It makes all the trips we took before seem all the more precious, and helps us to appreciate the little souvenirs we brought back that much more.

For once, I’m not talking about that old friend who returned from Ibiza having contracted chlamydia of the throat (though that is an incredible story that I love coming back to). I’m talking about the funky little bottle of lager my partner picked up on her trip to Ethiopia earlier this year.

The first thing jumping out is just how cool the bottle is. Black and gold colour scheme for the label? Check. Ornate metallic gold lettering and bordering? Check. Cartoon woman with an excellent afro on the cap? Check!


The pour reveals a warm gold, almost ruddy lager. Looking at it immediately spirits me back to my misspent youth necking bottles of Magners behind the bike sheds where the teachers couldn’t see.

I’m not expecting a great deal from this beer, given it’s a mass-produced lager from half a world away. But the aroma is a pleasant surprise: fresh, zingy lemon zest and freshly-cut grass. Even inhaling this beer is a refreshing treat. The palate also exceeds my perhaps too low expectations, with a rich, grainy, malt flavour and just a hint of iron on the finish.

Cold Gold’s flavour doesn’t stand up to the juicy power of a modern NEIPA or an imperial chocolate stout. But as a cold thirst-quencher on a sweltering day? This is just the ticket. 3/5

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