Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover

Brewery and Country of Origin: A. Le Coq of Tahtvere 56/62, Tartu, 50050, Estonia

Date Reviewed: 10-14-12

Proper marketing is a very powerful thing... always. Being able to sell something unnecessary to someone who has the ability to think rationally is essentially an artform which can explain why the iPhone sells more than it's better equipped rivals, or why Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong still represent strong brands. And the power of a brand can be derived from just about anything. The reason why people buy products is because their perception of the good's value is higher than any competing products or services. The iPhone is certainly not the phone with the best hardware or software, but it sells in record numbers because of perception derived from great branding. You could say that the entire Apple line up is composed of uniform products designed to look great, match complimentary products, and have the capabilities of at least an above average piece of competing hardware. Design and branding has sold hundreds of millions of these devices, priced higher than many products which are technically better by specification. And that brings us to this particular beer. Being a fairly rare import, this sells for an above average premium. The most obvious distinction of Viru is its unique geometric bottle. Though the shape of this beer's bottle can tell us nothing about what the beer actually is like to drink, a normal consumer has a higher propensity of purchasing this beer over another of similar style or another superficial (don't have to taste) quality because the bottle conveys an irrational translation of premium, unique beer. Sadly, this beer didn't live up to all of the hype.
Date Sampled: 9-14-12 At: 7 Prescott Place, Allston, Boston, MA, 02134, USA
Beer Style: Euro Pale Lager
Alcohol by Volume: 5.00%
Serving Type: 300 ml Bottle, 20 oz Mug Glass
Rating: 2.38


Viru is a very clear, very pale golden colored beer with a shimmering appearance in the light. A high amount of carbonation action gives this beer a tall, but non lasting foam head which is thin and dissipates quickly. This beer showcases no amount of lacing on the glass.


The aroma of this beer is fairly prominent with a grassy and grainy overall profile typical of Euro Lagers. There is a slight pale malty note detectable as well, and no hoppy character is present in the aroma at all.


As you would imagine, this is a very light bodied beer with a matching very low viscosity, and a high amount of carbonation. This beer finishes with a slightly lingering, dry closing. This is an easily drinkable beer with typical light and pale beer characteristics.


A very grainy taste overall makes this beer a somewhat lackluster brew offering nothing terribly rewarding or unique in the flavor department. Some pale malt and crystal notes are present, and this beer finishes with a somewhat bitter, short lasting aftertaste.

Our Take

We are sad to report that this is yet another generic euro pale lager which doesn't deliver the unparalleled experience which is promised by the bottle. And that's what is sad about this beer. It wouldn't be so tragic if Viru was sold in a regular bottle or can, but no. Marketing over at A. Le Coq had to be a bit clever and trick unsuspecting consumers into purchasing a "promising" beer based purely on irrelevant details. A typically grainy character overall gives this beer an only modest score, with a slightly more robust malty element keeps the rating above 2.25. This is a very light beer with a crisp and refreshing feel, giving it the properties of a nice, cool down warm weather beer. Unfortunately, it's October, and the summer weather is long gone (at least in Boston it is). This was the first beer we've ever tried from Estonia, and the beautiful thing about it is that although this was a lackluster beer, we will always be reminded of it because we obviously kept the bottle as a friendly reminder of what great marketing can really do for products which wouldn't really sell otherwise.