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Swig and swagger of Oz cricket

Test match viewing in an Australian cricket ground is not just about watching 22 men play with bat and ball. It's an experience that stretches far beyond the action on the field.

cricket Updated: Jan 30, 2012 23:51 IST
Rohit Bhaskar

Test match viewing in an Australian cricket ground is not just about watching 22 men play with bat and ball. It's an experience that stretches far beyond the action on the field. The real action goes on in the stands. There are a few things that go hand in hand with cricket in Australia - beef pies and sun block cream are just two. However, the most vital ingredient to the quintessential Aussie cricket experience is beer… and lots of it.

Every ground you go to has its own beer, each synonymous with the city where the match is being played.

At the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the beer of choice is VB (Victoria's Bitter). Although marketed as a bitter beer, it's actually a lager which is made using bottom-fermenting yeast. For the calorie conscious ones there's Pure Blonde, a low carb beer which is light and crisp.

If you're in Sydney you've got to drink Tooheys - Doug Walters does, and he knows a thing or two about beer. Tooheys is a bottled draught with great dichotomy between bitter taste and sweet flavour. Opting for Hahn at the SCG is also not a bad idea, especially the super dry one.

In Perth, the beer you've got to have is one that was brewed along the banks of the Swan river, stone's throw away from the WACA Ground. Swan Gold is mid-strength lager, which isn't as malty as you'd expect a mid-strength lager to be.

In Adelaide, the family-owned Cooper's is the most popular, an institution in itself for not selling out and still controlled by the same family for over a decade and a half. You can opt for their Pale Ale with its fine cloudy sediment, and fruity, floral character. Even their Sparkling Ale is worth a swig — one that could give a run for any top-fermented English ale. Queenslanders have XXXX, while the folks down in Tasmania have their own favourite, James Boag's, a fine beer with a light malt finish and just enough bitterness to keep your taste buds asking for more.

And Foster's? The Aussies wouldn't be caught dead drinking that. It's just the beer the export. Do you really want to know why?