- Country: Peru
- Style: American Adjunct Lager
- ABV: 5.0%
- Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
- Price: Inexpensive
Peru's beer industry is dominated by the Backus and Johnston brewery, now owned by SAB Miller. The competition to Cusqueña is mostly from the obligatory South American "Pilsen" beer. The bottle features an Incan wall design inspired by Machu Picchu and the Incan Empire. As cool as the bottle is it won't get repeat customers if the beer doesn't taste great, so let's drink this one.
When you crack the top off a Cusqueña it pours a lovely clear golden colour. There appears to be a fair amount of carbonation rising to the head, which is brilliant white but shamely short lasting. In the maybe 20 seconds it took me from pouring this beer to taking the photo, the head had already dropped from just above the rim of the glass to where it is pictured. At best 15 seconds later and all traces of head were gone...
The nose is almost non-existent with only a very light aroma as the beer warms up. This is to be expecting from an all malt lager as they don't have the grain depth of other lagers. The beer claims to use 3 varieties of hops (Nugget, Styrian and Saaz) but I certainly can't detect any on the nose. Pleasantly there is no hint of skunkiness, which seems to be an ever-present in South American lagers.
Cusqueña is a much better tasting beer than it looks or smells. Early in the palate the beer taste of only mildly sweet grains with just the tingly carbonation to excite the senses. This continues through the entirety of the beer which is quite unusual, with only a small hint of mildly bitter hops to change it up towards the end. The finish is crisp and dry and this quality would make this an excellent summer lager.
As far as all malt lagers go this is one of the best. They are notoriously flavourless and not very pleasant, but this one is different. Cusqueña has a full malt flavour which is balanced out nicely by some mildly bitter hops. It's a refreshing beer that will quench your thirst in any situation. Not a world beating lager but a pretty solid attempt from Peru. It's an interesting lager that's worth a try if you can get your hands on some.
Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!