Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ain't the beer cold: Cheap Canned Beers Reviewed.

Fritz Hahn of the Going Out Gurus of the Washington Post tasted 6 cheap canned beers. Drank them. Rated them. And ...

... survived to write the story.

each individual beer had to cost less than $1, or no more than $6 a six-pack.

This was a blind tasting, with beers served in unmarked cups. Participants were asked to rate the beer on a scale of 1 to 5 on the overall taste -- this was relative, given the quality of beer -- and a separate score of 1 to 5 based on how refreshing the beer would feel on a hot summer day.

The entrants were Shaefer, Miller, National Bohemian, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz, and Bud Light.

Before we go any further, keep in mind that, even though American factory workers may have produced these beers, none of the breweries involved are independent.

In fact, Pabst does not even own a physical brewery; it exists merely as a marketing company —albeit,a clever one. The legacy brands of Shaefer, Schlitz, and, of course, PBR, are all brewed for Pabst by Miller.

Natty Boh (National Bohemian), many years ago was the pride of Baltimore. Now, however, it is brewed by Miller for Pabst in (gasp! hon!) Eden, North Carolina.

And Miller, itself, is owned by London-based South African Breweries (SAB) —and you're going to get dizzy now— which has merged its US operations with Molson (which owns Coors), and is called MolsonCoors.

Anheuser-Busch may still brew Bud Light, but the company was sold last year to Brazilian-Belgian conglomerate InBev, and is now called Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABIB).

I'm not saying anything, but ... I'm reminded of a Simpsons cartoon episode in which Barnie and Homer tour the Duff Brewery. They spy a pipe carrying beer into the bottling room from the fermentation cellar. There, it's split into a 3-way manifold, and bottled separately as Duff, Duff Light, Duff Dry.

The brave Going Out Gurus' decision?

At the back of the pack was Shaefer:
"Tasteless and slightly reminiscent of saliva."
Hey now!

The winner, so to speak, was National Bohemian. The last time I can claim to have tasted a Boh was 2001 at Sisson's, when the bottles were on the brewpub's guest list. I remember being very impressed ... impressed by the facility of a brewery (I believe at that time, a Texas location) to deliberately produce such a wretched beer.

Apparently, things have changed.
The surprise winner was Baltimore's own [not...see above] Natty Boh, which testers rated highest on flavor and third for refreshment. Some of the praise: "The best one -- actually tastes like beer!" "High carbonation and the most hops." "Zesty ... got a little more kick."

Yours For Good Fermentables.com can't be overly righteous. We were recently caught on camera guzzling a Corona ... from a bottle.

Good-Beer man busted ...
  • Baltimore Sun beer blog: reminiscences of past Natty Boh employers.
  • Is Baltimore a Beer Town: brief history of National Brewery in Baltimore.
  • During its long-past heyday, Shaefer had a commercial jingle that boasted that "Shafer is the one beer to have when you're having more than one."

1 comment:

  1. Hilarious!

    And I don't know if it's a good or a bad thing that most folks still associate Natty Boh to Baltimore.

    On a related note, I witnessed a blind taste test between Natty Boh and Pabst Blue Ribbon last night at a neighborhood bar in Fell's Point.

    10 total glasses. 5 Natty. 5 PBR. Each were labeled at the bottom of the glass. He who guessed the most correctly, was the winner.

    Funniest line after the contest ended, "Ok so I lost. Now I've gotta stick my finger down my throat. Those beers are disgusting!"


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