One of the less common places to buy craft beer is an army surplus store. Varusteleka is a Finnish company, founded 2003, that sells various essentials for a manly lifestyle, like gas masks, emergency food rations, and also craft beer, as they recently started brewing too. I bought a small selection to try out, drove to an unnamed remote location by a lake, and warmed up the sauna.
I first tasted the “Panzerporter” by Radbrew & Varusteleka, “a war machine powered by six malts”. I have never tasted anything resembling the Panzerporter. The first bite was obtuse and unwelcoming with a hint of yeast. Most of the bottle tasted muddy. Lots of strangely alternating flavors, like the beer couldn’t decide how to taste. Malty aftertaste, followed by a few sweet burps with a hint of berries 5–10 minutes after consumption.
I remember when I was about twenty and there was this one type of people who showed up sober at parties, telling everyone one can have fun without alcohol. The contrary is more true: one can have alcohol without fun. This is exactly what the Panzerporter is about. It’s actually a fine beer with a lot of character, but it’s just not fun at all to drink. It’s a beer for sad and lonely people.
Next beer was “Der Rote Baron” from Radbrew & Varusteleka. I think it’s a red ale. A fresh, easy ale, perfect for quenching thirst, a welcome contrast to the Panzerporter. Works well as a sauna beer. Easy to drink. Hoppy, but not more hoppy than pleasantly hoppy.
Last beer I had was the Ice Beaver Northern Pale Ale. It was an easy beer. Compared to the Panzerporter and Der Rote Baron, the beaver beer felt like a well finished product without much character or originality.