Lion Strong Beer
Brewed by Ceylon / Lion Brewery Limited
Style: Imperial Pils/Strong Pale Lager
Biyagama, Sri Lanka
A beer from Sri Lanka? Now there is a novelty. And the beer bottle looks enticing too. A big lion on the bottle looking angrily at me, “buy me, roar!
Lion Brewery is a Sri Lankan owned and operated brewery that produces Lion Lager, a bestseller in both Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
The Ceylon/Lion Brewery was the first brewery established in Sri Lanka. In 1849, Samuel Baker, the famous British explorer and officer, set up a small brewery mainly to cater for the local expats and other well to do types who were making their money on the tea plantations in the beautiful cool climate of Nuwara Eliya, with its perfect natural spring water. It was only until 1881 that the brewery started to get serious and began brewing on a commercial basis, with the Ceylon Brewery Company officially taking over the operations.
In 1993, the Ceylon Brewery was took over by Carson Cumberbatch & Co Ltd, a diversified group of Sri Lankan businesses. This group turning the brewery into Sri Lanka’s leading beer brand. This success didn’t go unnoticed and in 1996 the Carlsberg Group acquired a 25% share in the brewery.
To note, the company is called Lion Brewery, with the Ceylon Brewery remaining as a holding company.
Also the brewery now has its headquarters and operates out of the town of Biyagama, just outside the capital Colombo, with the Nuwara Eliya operations now closed.
The brewery rules Sri Lanka with an impressive 82% of the market share, and apart from the extra strong lager they also produce a regular lager and a stout. Lion can be bought in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia amongst others.
Review: Bottle of Lion Strong Lager 8.80% ABV
A Gold medal winner in 2012 from the Monde Selection, the Michelin Guide version of beer, the lager came in some pretty impressive imagery, the bottle showing a very intimidating lion face. I guess signifying strength and prowess. Perhaps his name is Cecil?
Got a very fruity aroma, an apple and a lot of sweet smelling malts. The smell was quite strong, all that fruit!
For a lager that is 8.8%, it was very well hidden, not feeling the true strength at all.
There is a very fruity taste to this beer, very overpowering. The taste lingers in the mouth, very sweet with a good grain taste. Some bitterness in the aftertaste.
Interesting beer alright, could actually be a decent session beer considering the ABV. as it was very easy to drink. I had four of them, and was fine! (I think!).