Oct 14, 2012

One Gloriously bad beer…

Worth every penny? Read on.....
Everyone loves a good value, right? I know I do. So when I heard Walgreens has a beer brewed just for them, at the penny pincher loving cost of just $3 a six pack (for those of you as bad at math as I am, that is .50 cents per can, or as a friend from college put it, 12 quarters for a six pack) I will admit, my curiosity was peaked, however, my hopes were not too high.

Well, you can imagine my excitement when I was at Walgreens just 3 short days ago, when I walked passed a stack of beer amid isle of this exact beer. Big Flats, and Big Flats Light! Very accurately prices at just $2.99! Well, this was an opportunity this beer lover just couldn’t pass up! So, while my wife wasn’t looking, I snuck a 6 pack of Big Flats to the checkout counter. I decided to go with the “Premium Lager” Big Flats, and not the Light version. If this beer proves too heavy for my tastes, I know where to find the watered down version I figured. I proudly brought it home, and put it in the fridge, amid the taunting and joking of my wife, and her family.

My wife’s family was in town all weekend, to celebrate the birth of our previously mentioned little daughter Kelsey, so I didn’t want to open one of these gems while they were here, or while anyone was looking for that matter, after all, I have a bit of a reputation to uphold here. This afternoon, I find myself in the living room along, watching the Cardinals game, while my wife and baby are sleeping in one room, and my 3 year old napping in the other. A perfect time to relax put my mind in its proper place, to sample and write about the cheapest beer in the world! (I’m not sure if that’s accurate, it is certainly the cheapest I have ever seen)

Not exactly dark, taken through the glass!
I sort of felt I should either just drink this right out of the can, or get a little more fancy and pour it into a red solo cup, but I wanted to remain consistent and drink it like I do all my other reviews, from the proper glass, to explore the color, and aroma of this heavy weight in proper fashion.

Well, let me just say, up front, and first off, to be perfectly honest, this beer actually slightly exceeded my expectations. That being said, that isn’t really saying much, as I had VERY low expectations for this beer. I wasn’t sure what style of glassware would have been proper for this beer, so I just used a normal old tumbler, or pub pint glass. The “color” was, well, almost colorless. A slight straw like, pale yellow. Totally see through, crystal clear beer, with just enough color, and head to tell this was something trying to look like a beer, at least play the part of one. Kind of like a fat chick trying to dress like a super model for Halloween. You can tell what she is trying to be, but just can’t pull it off. Honestly, I can say, this is a lightest color beer I have ever seen pouring into my Russian River Brewing glass. Almost fascinating at how light it was. Not even sure how they do that?

The smell, um, well, the smell. All I can think of, is that is smelled like hay. Not the wonderful smell of fresh hay you get when you drive by a hay field that is freshly cut and bailed. More the hay smell of a hay loft in an old barn. Not really unpleasant, but not really something you have an urge to put in your mouth right away. Honestly, I took some time trying to pull some other smells out of this beer, but it was like trying to put a pissed off cat in a cat carrier, I mean, you can do it, but it’s not easy. Nothing about the beer smells like beer. No hop aroma at all. Not even sure they used hops to brew this beer? A slight malty aroma can be found after pretty much snorting a line of this stuff, it’s there, but you have to hunt for it.

OK, seems to have some fans?
Now, that taste. To say the taste was awful wouldn’t be fair, because, well, there is very little flavor to speak of at all. Something with so little flavor can’t really be awful, it’s just boring. There is some flavor, and it is not entirely unpleasant, it does however, taste NOTHING like beer. Sort of malty flavored sports water, with just a little alcohol in it (4.2% abv). On their website, it says it clocks on at 12 IBU’s (international bittering units) which, well, I’ll say it, I call bull shit. There is NO hoppy bitterness at all. It tastes like it smells, like hay, that has been lightly misted with a malt flavor. The mouthfeel is pretty much all carbonation. The after taste, well, that’s pretty awful, Kind of like a foretelling of what the post hangover vomit is going to taste like tomorrow morning. Take it as a warning! The after taste (I don’t feel right even calling it a “finish” that just seems too refined for this one) made me want to just keep taking sips, so I never had to let this swill settle in my mouth. However, the actual upfront taste makes that almost impossible, so you need to come up for air at some point, which sadly means having to experience that amazingly awful after taste.

Now, I had a friend call this a good value, being as it is only $2.99 a six pack. Well, with much respect to my wife’s dear friend Lisa, I will most kindly have to disagree with her on this one. I really saw no value in this beer at all. Well, aside from the .5 and .10 can return value printed on the top for states like NH, VT and MI, there is no value. I actually believe the can this comes in is actually worth more than the beer that is holds. I really can think of any reason I would ever buy this beer again, and in fact, I am wondering what the hell I am going to do with the other 5 cans I have in my fridge. This wouldn’t even be good cooking beer, maybe make some beer can chicken out of it or something.

OK, so I am still on the look out for a good, cheap beer. Heck, I would settle for “decent” at this point, hell, even just drinkable. However, I know, beer requires a few ingredients, and those ingredients cost money. As does production, packaging, shipping etc. When all is said and done, I really don’t really mind paying $8 for a six pack, which is about what some of my decent, "go to" beers such as Sam Adams, Fat Tire, and Sierra Nevada, go for. Besides, it takes far more employees to produce a can or bottle of good craft beer, then it does to produce a can of the mass produced, mass marketed beer of the mega brewers. So look at it as investing in your community, and our economy. Keep the people in your community working, and pay a few extra bucks for a far better, more enjoyable beer.

One final thought, why the hell did they feel the need to make a "light" version of this beer? Is this beer just too "heavy" for some people? I guess, compared to Miller 64, this crap is a hearty Stout after all.

Now, anyone know any good tricks for getting this shitty taste out of my mouth?

Until next time

Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

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