The second edition in this post series is due. After dealing with Kyrgyz brews, I will stick to another nomadic country in this post, Mongolia. Renowned for things like horses, the coldest capital in the world and remoteness, Mongolia does not exactly appear on a beer drinker’s map. But is the world doing wrong to Mongolia’s brewers? Well, you can find out below! Without spoiling too much, I will tell you something beforehand. One beer in Mongolia is marketed as “ultra drinkable”, I did not include this one in the test. It’s a light beer. But despite all apprehensions, none of the five beers fell short of this rating!
Before we go into the details, I have quick insight into the Mongolian beer market for you. All five brands below are owned either by the APU or Monbev companies. So much for diversity. In fact, there is another, independent brewery out there: Chinggis Beer. Unfortunately it is hard to come by outside Ulaanbataar. They have a tasty dark beer, though!
Жалам Хар – Jalam Khar
The golden image of a horse on the bottle rings some strictly Mongolian bells while pouring this golden, almost amber beer with its rather macropore foam. The smell is malty with notes of caramel and reminded me of the scent that surrounded my hometown brewery. The first in-mouth impression is less moldy, though. Jalam Khar starts fizzy and very light, with a mild mix of sweet, sour and bitter. This is followed by flavors of banana that give way to a finish of caramel and malt, accompanied by a nice hops bitterness that sticks around for a while.
All in all a rather light but well balanced, malty brew that provides solid refreshment.
Нийслэл – Niislel
Niislel means “capital” in Mongolian, which might explain the image of the Sukhbaatar Statue on the bottle. The inside is pale yellow topped by a compact and long lasting foam. Once the latter has vanished, you may try to catch the very light, fruity smell with scents of banana. Your mouth will be greeted by fine bubbles and a light malty, sweet taste. The capital is going down smoothly and harmonic and ends in mild bitterness.
An OK beer for hot summer days that are certainly not found in Mongolia’s capital. So maybe better take this one down into the Gobi!
Алтан Говь – Altan Gobi
Talking about the Gobi, next up is Altan Gobi – the golden Gobi. Marketed as “The Mongolian premium beer”. Whatever that means. It is, however, indeed “golden” with a solid foam and comes with a comparably nice and strong smell of wheat and malt. The first sip is tingly but absolutely quaffable with its wort aromas. The brew goes down with malty flavors and a slowly disappearing smooth bitter finish.
In this case, I translate “premium” into “not-watery” and call Altan Gobi the winner of my little bout.
Сенгур – Sengur
Here is a Pilsener style beer. It comes with solid foam, a yellow golden color and a fresh Pilsener smell. The first impression, once it hits your tongue, is sweet, fruity with a smooth bitterness. The aromas of bananas intensify after swallowing to be subsequently followed by a mild hop bitterness.
Neither bad nor exceptionally good, this widely available brew is a solid, although quite light, beer. By far not the worst choice.
Боргио – Borgio
Alright, I will start with the good things about this malty beverage. It has an alcohol content of 5.5% (the other beers range around 5%) and it is the only one in the test with a bottle content of 0.5 liters. All the others have undergone an easy profit boost of 10% and only contain 0.45 liters. Boozers probably love it for that reason.
A solid foam tops the dark yellow liquid with its sweet smell with lime aromas. What enters you mouth is a bit stale and taste-wise pretty dull. A malty flavor is all that is on offer. This maltiness increases a bit in the aftertase, where also a soft hop bitterness comes into play. Unfortunately, it still tastes stale and metallic as well. Not my favorite!