I’ve made it west, across the teat of the island of Bali, to the swanky beach-side bars of Seminyak. I feel more important than I am, as our driver takes us to the door of the very trendy, Potato Head. Seminyak is the Ibiza town of Indonesia. People come to the bars here to be seen. The people around us are beautiful and expensive, and look cool with ease. My friends and I, rock up to the entrance with beach towels, wet shorts, plastic bags and a couple of three year olds. We blag our way in by confusing the doormen, and after a quick paddle in the Indian Ocean, we bag a patch on the central lawn and await the waiter.
Looking around at the poseurs lying on the beach beds with expensive girlfriends, nodding their heads in a very cool way to the beat of the throbbing ambient house music, I think that this isn’t the sort of place that sells cider. After a bit of a wait, the waiter arrives and waits with a smile to take our drinks order. There’s a weighty drinks menu, but wait! What’s this? Albens cider? Sounds a little bit Irish.
When the bottle arrives, it has no indication of alcohol content, but is made in Jakarta and claims to be a ‘fine English cider’. Checking out the wesbite, Albens seems to be on the pulse of cool. Dalston-style hipsters with track bikes model the cider and a blog showing all the cool things Albens cider has been getting up to. Think Different, Drink Different, is their strapline. Fair enough, but it usually happens the other way round.
Albens is a pale, carbonated cider. Quite sweet, like a Swedish cider, but not alcopoppy sweet, in fact there’s a bit of a tang, bringing it back in line with a fine English cider. Not bad for being eight thousand miles away, though a bit soft for a hardened cider drinker, Albens seems to be modelled on Kopparberg, but with a trendy, British style and aimed at the expat or tourist, who fancies something other than Bintang. But then, I’m finding it hard to imagine a heady scrumpy working so well in equatorial heat.
A huge cheese board arrives, and I sit back and look out over the infinity pool as the sun sets. I’m almost finished the Albens, but at Potato Head prices, the cheap, local beer is looking rather appealing.
I think now… yes… it is, IT’S BINTANG TIME!