September 28, 2008

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Scott’s Selection Royal Brackla 1976

September 25, 2008

61.8% ABV

The first thing I noticed were the eggs. A cascading pyramidal wire rack of them set in the middle of the bar. Not nuts or pretzels or peanuts or even popcorn, but hard-boiled eggs are the gratis bar snack at Keens Steakhouse on W. 36th Street, quickly alerting you to the fact that this ain’t your normal watering hole. And when my night started, I certainly hadn’t planned on ending up there.

Kevin used to be one of my top drinkin’ and chasin’ skirts buddies, but success in marriage and business has led to us going out less and less. His success that is, certainly not mine. He is my friend with the prodigious Scotch cabinet and so when he proposed meeting for happy hour, there was no way I could turn him down. He suggested The Ginger Man, thinking it would be a perfect place for us to do a little “research.” Not getting down to the dreadful Penn Station/Herald Square area that often–believe me, it is nowadays worse than even Times Square–I quickly jumped at the chance to visit a favorite old haunt.

The beer list at The Ginger Man was as stellar as ever, but the scene was rough, packed with happy hour heroes and bridge and tunnelers waiting for the next train out who wouldn’t know the difference between an Orval and a Duvel, between a dubbel and a tripel. I quickly knew I wasn’t going to enjoy the night when I followed two suited chaps into the bar, one remarking to the other, “This place has become so much better since they outlawed cigar and pipe smoke here.”

The Ginger Man is a large elegant space with fluffy sofas and comfortable leather chairs with ottomons. An aged wood aesthetic gives it a librarial feel meant to act as a gentleman’s (or gentlelady’s) relaxed locale for enjoying a drink, a bite, and, yes, a smoke amidst contemplative conversation, bon mottery, or even reading. Unfortunately, the continual nanny-stating and emasculation of New York has put an end to even smoking in places originally meant for the act. Despicable.

No, sir, the Ginger Man has not become so much better since smoke was outlawed–in fact, it’s become quite a bit worse. At least on weekday happy hours. By politically putting an end to cigar clubs, a place like The Ginger Man has gone from being a refined site where men could “have a few” in an adult manner to just your standard issue bar where bozos get loaded.

The Ginger Man used to never be packed–save a few beer geeks cozying up to the bar to sample all the draughts like a fat girl tests out the newest concoctions at Cold Stone–but on Wednesday at 6:00 it was like a mosh pit. I slowly inched toward the bar, trying to make it through a swarm of people like I was at some Jersey Shore club where MTV might film an episode of “True Life: I’ve Never Read a Book.” I found myself behind an unremarkable idiot. The bartender gave him the you-can-order-now look.


Mind you, Ginger Man has the best beer list in Manhattan with countless taps (including cask beer) and hundreds upon hundreds of carefully selected bottles, even some vintage stuff.

BARTENDER: We don’t have that.

UNREMARKABLE IDIOT: OK, Two Heinys then. [He actually said “Heinys” (!!!)]

BARTENDER: Don’t have that either.

The unremarkable idiot’s face dropped in absolute anguish and disgust. He turned around to his buddy, rolling his eyes with a look that said, “Can you believe this shithole doesn’t have those great beers?!”

Kevin finally arrived and we shared Brooklyn Brewery’s new Grand Cru and a Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence before realizing that it was going to take us another half-hour to order a second round. The bartenders were too busy holding hands with the amateurs wanting to know which of the “oddball” beers on the menu were the “lightest.” A question that always boggles my mind. An epicurean like me wants to know which of the brews that I’ve never had before is the most flavorful, interesting, sui generis, complex, mind-boggling, orgasm-inducing, and life-changing. But, your average schmo simply cares about which is the lightest (i.e. easiest to throw down without wincing) and the cheapest. Pathetic.

We had to get out of there quickly before I said something I meant, and Kevin suggested a place down the street that would no doubt be a little less busy and a lot more refined, Keens. I quickly agreed to depart, depressed at what had become of my once-cherished Ginger Man.

Look, I still love The Ginger Man and certainly don’t begrudge them for making some bank–heck, it’s not like they are doing anything wrong.  They still don’t have any beer worse than, say, Guinness and it’s not even like they’re offering absurdly cheap macro deals to attract the thirsty moron element. I guess the issue is the fact that that part of town really has very few decent bars for an after-work tipple. Nevertheless, I will only go there again at off-hours when I can lounge at the bar, getting the full attention of the knowledgeable bartenders while having a chance to carefully peruse the menus and discuss my current and future beer selections with them. Damn shame, really. Oh well. At least I didn’t see any one doing shots and “Woohoo-ing.” But it’s only a matter of time I’m afraid as drinking culture continues to devolve.

On the one block walk over to Keens I was a bit nervous about my first visit there. I’m the kind of guy that wears a black t-shirt, jeans, and Nike Shox literally every single time I go out. In my mind I pictured Keens an upscale place full of fat cats in expensive suits sitting on maroon poly-foam-backed barstools, young tarts bouncing on one of their knees as they sipped on three-finger pours of Scotch more expensive than my monthly cable bill. I love that kinda old-school, 21 Club, “Sweet Smell of Success” New York City when men truly were men, not simply allowed to act that way, but expected to. Best exhibited currently by “Mad Men”‘s Don Draper. Of course, I’m only admiring and romanticizing the good of the era while completely ignoring the bad–the blatant misogyny, the latent alcoholism and lurking emphysema, the lack of quality television options, and being forced into always doing masculine handiwork as opposed to just hiring blue-collar help–but it’s my fantasy and I’m not a nice person any how.

Keens, a New York institution since 1885, is famous for at least three major things, of which I will address in this order: their pipe collection, massive Scotch menu, and muttonchops.

First, the pipes. Back in the olden days, Keens was a members-only establishment where both Average Joes and celebrities alike would go to smoke pipes, churchwardens specifically. The men were allowed to store their pipes at Keens much like rich duffers keep their golf sticks at the country club nowadays. To this day, Keens keeps on display some 50,000 former members’ pipes, a prominent place held for the personal ones of the celebrities that once smoked there. I spied the churchwardens of such Vice Blog favorites as George Herman Ruth, Albert Einstein, and Will Rogers.

And, of course, to continue the strange prank being played on our liberties, you are no longer allowed to smoke pipes in Keens! (I truly look forward to the day in a few decades when we will go to “bars” to drink iced tea, alcohol no longer allowed; and go to steakhouses to eat tofu tenders, meat long since outlawed. It’s coming folks, don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

We sat down at the bar amongst a few dozen men that were certainly nailing the first part of the “fat cat” term correctly, though the ubiquity of worn and wrinkled JoS. A. Bank suits told me that the overall term wasn’t quite accurate. I began to study the biblical-in-size Scotch menu. I may know my beer and even my bourbon, but my Scotch knowledge isn’t that sharp. Kevin went with a Bunnahabhain from the Islay region and he seemed pleased. I, being a huge “Lost in Translation” fan and wanting to have a relaxing time, decided to make it a Suntory time, 12 year to be exact. Unfortunately, Bob Harris (as portrayed by the great Bill Murray) steered me wrong as I didn’t enjoy the Japano-Scotch much at all. A wincing bite to it I thought, and carelessly crafted.

For dinner, I went with the cheeseburger, a half-pound softball that has been criticized in many channels for being too large to eat, but I found it just swell. Flawless melted cheddar with a nice soft bun and quality onions. Kevin smartly went with the signature muttonchops, a 26-ounce hunk of lamb (not sheep) served with a delicious mint jelly to compliment the gaminess a bit. Absolutely phenomenal and about as manly of meal as they come, both visually and gastronomically.

Kevin had to get home early to tuck his wife and Cornish Rex cats into bed so we didn’t have time for a second Scotch. Or at least we didn’t think we did. The bartender, a surprisingly young chap resplendent in his mixologist’s apron and starched white tuxedo shirt, began speaking with us about glorious Scotch. At first, I wondered why a surely snobby bartender dispensing liquid at an average of $15 per ounce would talk to two schlubs like us. Though with a quick glance around the bar it became apparent. Sadly, though we were the youngest and perhaps poorest guys in the joint by twenty years and hundreds of thousands of dollars of net worth, we surely knew the most about Scotch in the place. For you see, we were the only ones in Keens drinking it!

I looked around the bar at the men sipping watery rum and cokes, vodka martinis, Jacks with “a lotta ice,” and even 3.5% ABV Amstel Light bottles and I was repulsed! First, people going to The Ginger Man to attempt to drink Coronas and now so-called men sucking on sweet little rum drinks I’d barely consider having on a cruise ship! Shit, the only people that should drink Captain and Diet are the underage, the female, the poor, and those that don’t like and understand the taste of quality alcohol. And this was occuring at the best Scotch bar this side of…well, fucking Scotland probably, and I would dare wager most Scotch bars in Scotland don’t even have as good of selections, each no-doubt fiercely loyal to its own region’s libations, refusing to carry such a wide, cross-regional selection.

These men at Keens would probably go to Mexico and pass on the fine aged anejo tequila to order a Pina Colada. Would go to a sushi joint and pooh-pooh some sharp sake to order a Coors Light. Would get invited to Churchill’s house and turn down his pour of dry gin, inquiring, “Uh…Winston, by any chance do you know how to make a Chocolatini?” Disgraceful. It’s no wonder the only two fillies in the joint were making eyes with me and Kevin.

The bartender asked us what our favorites were and, as admittedly non-experts like our inquisitor, Kevin mentioned our love for Blue Label, a trite answer but a fantastic blended nonetheless, one we’ve both been lucky enough to have had several bottles worth over our lifetime. The bartender thought for a second, a light bulb went off in his noggin, and he left toward the other end of the bar looking through the ten-rows deep of Scotches–there has to be millions of dollars worth of booze in the joint–to find something special for us.

Let me interrupt to muse for a second about free rounds in New York City. Like Cal Ripken in Baltimore or Tony Gwynn in San Diego, I’ve spent my entire career–of drinking that is–in New York. So though I may learn a thing or two about the ways of other cities while on the road there, my views are coming from afar, from the visitors’ dugout, and I can’t 100% confirm that these rules are national and universal. But I do know the ways of New York drinking. A few years ago a friend moved here from Houston. As I began to show him the ropes I explained the standard de facto unwritten rules of free rounds: in New York, every fourth round is free. He didn’t believe me but soon saw that was most certainly the case. Sure if you’re in a crowded bar or you’re a dick to the bartender or bounce back in forth between different drink-slingers that won’t always work, but it does for the most part.

Now we weren’t on our fourth drink by any means but we’d already spent a lot of money, had shown some nice rapport with the bartender, proven we knew our way around a glass of Scotch, and, well, fuck, it ain’t like he owns the booze.

He returned with a bottle of Scott’s Selection’s Royal Brackla 1976.  1976 as in the year it was bottled.  I’d never heard of it but he explained that it was one of the more prominent single malts that is combined with other singles to make the blended Blue Label. Sounded good to me, and the price on the menu for the Highlands region whiskey was something north of $40.

He gave us a one-ounce pour but with such potency that was more than enough to last for a solid half-hour of sipping, just barely touching your lips to the liquor and allowing it sizzle them as it entered your face and shooshed down your gullet with an explosion of warming flavors. Oakiness and cherry are immediately evident, with a sweet maltiness, and perhaps even some vanilla and melon. I wouldn’t dare call it “drinkable,” but for something so complex and potent, goddamn was it smooth. Went down nice and easy and I’ve got to say I enjoyed it more than any glass of Blue I’ve ever had. The bartender confirmed that most people feel the same way. The more single malts I drink, the less I enjoy the softer blendeds.

The Scotch was older than me and much better too. With a firm handshake we thanked the bartender for the free round, left him a hefty tip, and then stole the sissy sixty-year-olds’ jobs and trophy wives.

No, that’s not true, but it would have been a great end to the story. Instead I went home and probably drunkenly updated my facebook page or something stupid like that.


Port Old Viscosity

September 24, 2008

10.5% ABV from a bomber

Much like Da Vinci had the Medicis and Samuel Johnson had Lord Chesterfield, I too have patrons that provide me with the necessary supplies to carry out my artistry. Recently, a few of my patrons–a married couple–were up in Seattle for a brief vacation and to catch the Oklahoma/Washington football tilt.

I was elated when they returned home with numerous Port and Lost Abbey offerings and quickly asked if they had plans for the weekend. Seeing that they didn’t I all but forced them to invite me over for some hifalutin beer samplings. And I use the term “samplings” in the same loose way that a chain restaurant calls a four feet in diameter plate covered in greasy foods a “sampler.”

Arriving over at their place* I was overwhelmed by all the goods they had brought back to New York. I had to contemplate long and hard the batting order for the night’s drinking. I was most intrigued by the Old Viscosity, a bourbon-barrel aged supposed-strong ale. My friends were most frightened by this brew so we all had to warm up with a few batting practice beers first (final baseball metaphor I swear!). Two of which were the new Budweiser American Ale which I had picked up for a combined $6.29 across the street. I chuckled to see the pricing label from the Pike Place Market store still on the Old Viscosity: $5.99. And why do people continue to drink macro shit?!

The Port beer poured a ton darker and (no shit) viscous than I had expected, more like a stout than a strong ale, even a Herculean-in-strength strong ale. And the taste was stylistically perplexing as well. No wonder, even Port admits they’re trying to trick us! From their grammatically-fucked-up website:

“Not your Dad’s Wimpy 30 Weight” is how our original label used to describe this massive chewy and thick beer. Code named by our brewers-“The Big Black Nasty,” this is monstrous dark ale is brewed to no particular style. Thick and sludgy like oil from the crankcase of a wheat threshing combine, Old Viscosity blurs the boundaries of Porter, Stout, Old Ale and Barleywines.

At first I mostly tasted coffee, wood, and a bit of chocolate, much like a good Russian imperial stout. Being such a bourbon freak I was a bit miffed that it wasn’t as initially prominent as I had hoped for. This beer is very alcoholic in taste which is something I love but which I’m afraid many won’t. As the Old Viscosity warmed due to my drinking partners’ fear and neglect, the bourbon started to shine through quite a bit and I began to really love this one. It’s an asskicker for sure, and polishing off a bomber by yourself might be considered an act of personal euthanasia in some cities (please check your local municipality’s ordinances), but goddamn is this a fine beer. Highly recommended–a home run (OK, I lied).


*For you many Vice Blogger stalkers out there that blow up pictures of the beers, trying to see what is behind them in order to create an idea of the apartment I live in to aid in your perverted slash fiction fantasies about you and me, know that I was not in my home for this drink-a-thon. Believe me, my home has nothing nice in it.

Schell Stout

September 23, 2008

5% from a bomber

(in response to the pictures in yesterday’s Brooklyner Weisse review)

Question: When you go out in public are you undercover? Like Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent? Or do people know you are the World Famous Vice Blogger? I ask because you are always taking pics of the beers you drink. I am sure people see you and inquire WTF are you doing? What is your answer to them? Do you tell the truth? Or make up a story? And do they think you are weird for taking the pics? Do bartenders think you are taking pics of them? And did the people at the party think? If I saw some kid I didnt know at my party taking pics of beers in my fridge I would punt his ass out the window. Why? Because I wouldnt understand what he was doing, and when you dont understand others or they are different from you, then you are supposed to turn violent toward them. Intolerance is in the Bible so you know it is the right thing to do.

Anyway maybe this question is better answered in a beer review.

First of all, I have taken pics of the inside of your fridge before, Sal. And soon enough I will be posting on this very blog all those images I snuck of the Ziploc-ed severed body parts you are hiding in there. But I do agree with your theories on intolerance, good looking out.

When I began this blog, I used to be nervous about taking pictures of my beers while in public and would try to do it quickly, surreptitiously, and inconspicuously. Being that I am not a skilled photographer, I’m often drinking in dark places, oh, and drunk too, it sometimes was tough to quickly pull off an acceptable, publishable photo. Not to mention, I refuse to lug a camera around to the bars so I have to use my phone’s camera, which, if you’ve noticed, is not the most high-definition. Especially in dark places where IThe Vice Blog › Edit — WordPress‘m forced to put on the “night” switch and then hold the camera completely still for literally like 10 seconds to get a clear photograph. I feel like I’m using a Daguerreotype camera it’s so goddamn slow.

Occasionally, bartenders or other customers, party goers, or even my dates would catch me and brusquely wonder in confusion, “What are you doing?”

Initially, I tried to blow it off with a chuckle and a mumbled “Oh, nothing, don’t worry. I just have a stupid website where I write about beers…”

I wouldn’t even have a chance to finish my blow-off explanation before I’d hear “Cooooool!!!” Everyone loved it! The first bartender to “catch” me was so impressed he immediately started bringing me free glasses of Scotch, bourbon, and “secret” bottles of beer his bar had stored that I just had to try and then write about. Fellow customers with boring lives of their own immediately had something interesting to discuss with me. As did my dates. In fact, the only place that has ever reacted negatively to me taking a picture of a beer was once when I tried to do it while in Whole Foods, which inexplicably has a no-photography policy (“But how ‘r’ ma’ friends back home in Tupelo, gonna’ believe I actually went to one a’ dem fancy ore-gan-ick supermarkets?!”)

So now when I need to take a snap of my beer in public, I pretty much just proudly announce to any one in ear shot, “Excuse me, I need to take a picture of my beer for my blog.” And, usually, those around me stop everything, wanting to assist in the composition, lighting, and set-up for my beer shots.

Such was the case at the infamous party where the Brooklyner pic was taken as a fellow guest thought an in-the-fridge photo would be a unique composition. He was right.

Nevertheless, a good majority of pics, such as the one that kicks of this review, are taken in my home where no one can make fun of me except for the ghost that lives under my bed.

Of my first two career Schell beers, one was a solid success and one was a marginal success. This would be my third to try and the one I was most leery about. You see, stouts are always a risky proposition to me. When it comes to IPAs or pale ales or even barley wines, I still feel like I can enjoy a lackluster one. Of course I want a masterpiece every time, but I have no probably quaffing mediocre to bad ones and even finding a thing or two nice to say about them. That is not true with stouts. For whatever reason with stouts, if I don’t get a masterpiece or a near-masterpiece, I all but hate the beer. Thus, I always drinks stouts with tons of trepidation.

The 5% ABV worried me immediately. The stouts I’ve grown to love are American-style “imperial” asskickers, often so potent they make bourbons blush. This English stout was one of the least alcoholic stouts I can ever recall having, aside from, you know, Guinness.

Nevertheless, the pour was promising. Black and milky with the ever so smallest hint of a head. Smells of dark coffee, roastedness, and burntness. Everything seemed to be in order so far.

I’d like to claim that I tasted even the faintest hints of coffee, but I didn’t. It simply tasted smoky and borderline meaty to me, and, I must admit, a bit like inhaling some flatulence. Not much flavor, complexity, or kick to it. No carbonation or hops feel either, as to be expected. A slight creamy finish redeems the beer somewhat and it is indeed very drinkable. When I have them, I usually make stouts my last brew of the evening and only drink them on a somewhat empty stomach, but this one could be handled any time.

There’s not much else to say. I didn’t particularly love this one. However, admittedly, the more I drank it the more palatable it became and the more I like it. But I never loved it and wouldn’t have it again.


Shiner 99 Munich Style Helles Lager

September 23, 2008

5% ABV bottled

Believe it or not (DAD!) there are quite a few 50- and 60-somethings that like my blog. One is my friend’s father, a venerable fermented and distilled beverages connoisseur in his own right. And, when my friend was down visiting him in Texas recently, he made sure to send her back to NYC with one of his favorite local beers as a reviewable gift for the Vice Blogger. Thanks! Most appreciated.

Just like Boulevard in Kansas, Abita in Louisiana, Yuengling in PA, and Corona in latently homosexual frat houses, Shiner is an overrated local favorite. None of those are bad breweries producing bad beers (except for Corona of course), don’t get me wrong, but they are not as good of beers as the locals seem to think they are. And proud Texans are the worst when it comes to Shiner. Much like drawing a picture of Muhammad, saying God’s Hebrew name aloud, or taking your kid to a doctor if you’re a Xenu worshipper, not LOVING Shiner is akin to blasphemy in the Republic.

I’ve had most of the regular Shiner releases–admittedly several years ago–and I recall liking all of them, hating none, while likewise adoring none. Nevertheless, I was excited to try this special release, commemorating Spoetzl’s 99th anniversary (congrats!). A gorgeous label, very slick.

A malty smell dominates and indeed the tastes are of a crisp, light maltiness, some citrus flavors, and a slightly bitter finish. Very drinkable and refreshing. A good summer beer I probably shouldn’t have waited til a brisk September night to drink. Spoetzl has produced a great attempt of the famed Munich helles lager style and it is probably just my bias against this type of beer that hurts my personal grading of it. But helles fans will no doubt love this one, the second best American version I’ve had aside from Brooklyn’s Brewmasters Reserve effort of last year.


Brooklyner Weisse

September 23, 2008

5.1% ABV bottled

The other day I went on a date with a girl named Cecilia. She didn’t break my heart, she didn’t shake my confidence (daily!), nor did we make love in the afternoon up in my bedroom (more like 3 AM in her living room.)

This got me to realizing that I’ve dated quite a bit of girls named after famous songs.

There was Desiree who was not very sweet and a diehard feminist. She stormed out of a restaurant mid-meal when I told her that I didn’t like any female musicians. Once she was gone I remembered that I’m a huge Debbie Harry fan. How could I have forgotten my “Sunday Girl”?

Rita wasn’t a meter maid (she worked in securities I believe) nor was she lovely. She kicked me out of an all-Indian Halloween bash she was hosting in her midtown high-rise when I got drunk on some “witches brew” punch and threw an hors d’oeuvre tray out the window and into her courtyard.

Allison never let any of my friends take off her party dress–so far as I know–but she didn’t have a problem with my pals constantly goofing on her. She wasn’t very bright and I don’t think she got their sarcastic jokes.  She’s married now and has two kids last I heard.

And when I finally got to live my lame dream of dating a girl with the last name of Brown, I never got the chance to meet her mother and subtly say in a heavily accented British accent, “Mrs. Brown, you’ve got a luv-ly daughter.” It didn’t make a bloke feel so proud.

There was Eleanor who I met just last week. Gee, I thought she was swell but she thought I was…drunk. Fair enough. She missed out on getting to be my pride and joy, et cetera.

And finally Michelle, who was decidedly not ma belle, but rather one big fucking cunt. McCartney would have struggled to write fawning lyrics about her, I’m certain of it.

If you ever go out with a girl with the same name as a song, especially a super famous one written by Paul & Art, best not to ever bring that up. She’s heard it plenty of times and doesn’t find it amusing. But you can still snicker in your head about it. And, your relationship is going to be nowhere close to as interesting, ideal, and romantic as the eponymous song. Perhaps that’s why there doesn’t seem to be any good songs of recent vintage named after women.  Life’s just more complex now than it was in the 1960s.

Cecilia took me to a party her friends were throwing. People might think it weird that I’d go to a party full of strangers for a first date but I kinda agree with wise Costanza.

GEORGE: I’m going out with her tomorrow, she said she had some errands to run.

JERRY: That’s a date?

GEORGE: What’s the difference?

She’s quite a bit younger than me, as are her friends, so I didn’t think for a second there would be anything decent to drink at the bash. I was quite wrong, and a tear fell from my ear when I saw Brooklyner fully stocked in the fridge.

I’ve never been a huge wheat beer fan as I think they are generally uninteresting, simplistic, and boring, but I’ve always loved this one. And when I see it on tap at NYC bars, I can’t help but grab a few dozen of them. This was my first time to drink it bottled and it was just as swell.

A great smell with a refreshing yeasty taste. Slight banana flavor, citrus esters, and even hints of bubble gum. And, of course, some full-bodied wheat. A slight sour finish but incredibly drinkable though that doesn’t mean it is lacking in potency or complexity. This ain’t no watered-down hefeweizen. I absolutely adore this beer. Have been drinking it for years and will continue to indefinitely.

So in summation…

Jubilation, I loved this beer again.  (I wanted to finish this entry by again paying homage to “Cecilia” by bastardizing its lyrics.  Eh.  That’s the best I could do.)



*”Cecilia,” Simon & Garfunkel from “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Columbia Records 1970
*”Desiree,” Neil Diamond, 1977
*”Lovely Rita,” The Beatles from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” Capitol 1967
*”Allison,” Elvis Costello from “My Aim is True,” Columbia Records 1977
*”Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,” Herman’s Hermits, 1965
*”Elenore,” The Turtles from “The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands,” White Whale Records 1968
*”Michelle,” The Beatles from “Rubber Soul,” EMI 1965

Top 10 LEAST Wanted

September 22, 2008

This post is dedicated to my good friend, a surly man known simply as King Otto, who gets a huge kick out of me drinking the world’s shittiest beers and then writing about my experiences. Or maybe he just wants me dead, he is a sadist come to think of it.

The Vice Blog’s Top Ten Least Wanted Beers

This the absolute antithesis of my Top Ten Most Wanted list, the brews on the planet that I least want to try. Having said that, if you have read my world-famous Chelada post, you should realize that were someone to get any of these beers into my hands, there is no doubt I would drink and review them. After I have finished purging them from inside of me, natch.

I should note, I’ve always hated research and this is the first time I have ever done even more than cursory (read: none) research on a post. God, research sucks.


So it seems back in the early-1990s, National Brewing Company, the esteemed factory that pumps out Colt 45, thought it a swell idea to produce a minty flavored malt liquor, the thinking being that this would both get you drunk while negating the effects of stinky beer breath as it acted as mouth wash with each sip. Similar to the retched Absolute Vodka which can also be used as cologne. Predictably, Cool Colt was quickly discontinued, only living on via folk lore, and not even that widely as most of the people that once sampled this have been slain in drive-bys. I would love to  drink an “aged” bottle of this.

10. Kwispelbier beer for dogs

Made of beef extract and malt this “beer for your best friend” probably should not be consumed by humans. But I’m not scared of anything potable. And quite frankly I’d be surprised if it’s worse than Corona. If it is, then the ASPCA should be called because that would be animal cruelty.

9. Kelpie Seaweed Ale

Surprisingly, this Scottish beer is actually decently regarded. But much like autofellatio, I think drinking and enjoying a seaweed-brewed beer would be in the “hafta see it to believe it” category.

8. 9th Street Market and Cactus

No shitty beer list would be complete without an Anheuser-Busch selection and this would seem to be their worst idea save Chelada. I’m unclear whether this cactus-flavored beer is still on the market as I was unable to even google-image a single picture of it. Look here macro-breweries, why don’t you get your shit together with quality normal brews first before attempting something so adventurous. You macros are like nerds that refuse to hit on mediocre girls and decide to go straight for the models. Baby steps, Anheuser.

7. Molson Kick

This aluminum-bottled brew is Canada’s first-ever caffeinated beer with “essence of guarana” in it. Supposedly terrible, but then again, I am the kind of freak that actually likes Sparks.

6. Evil Eye Red

I truly hate when people on the internet write nothing more than “’nuff said” to justify something. No, it’s NOT enough said, please further elucidate to me why you think something is so delicious, something so awesome, some girl so hot, some movie so bad, some sports team so great. Having said that, Evil Eye Red is a kiwi-strawberry malt liquor that looks like Robitussin…uh yeah…’nuff said.

5. Wasabi Dry

Remember that first time you ever had sushi? You might have been 11-years-old or even a college freshman. And remember when you had no idea what wasabi was and just treated it like an American condiment, slathering it all over your California roll like ketchup on french fries or mayo on a turkey sandwich? And remember how you spent the next half-hour gagging, blood coming out of your eyes? You remember that? Well that’s how I reckon this wasabi-flavored malt liquor makes you feel with each sip.

4. Sprecher Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer

An idea surely conceived late one night while drinking beer #2 on my list, an actual pizza is literally tossed into the wort (see it being made in this snuff film right here), giving this brew notes of cheese, tomato, oregano, basil, and garlic. Yet Milwaukee-based Sprecher actually has the gall to say this ain’t no “pet rock” of beer.

(NOTE TO MY OK FRIENDS: The beer is currently being sold in individual 16-oz. bottles at Discount Liquor, 5301 W. Oklahoma Ave., Avenue Wine and Liquor, 4075 S. Howell Ave., and Oklahoma Liquor and Beer, 933 W. Oklahoma Ave., says Tom Miller, import brand manager of Beechwood Distributors.)

3. Sputnik

Like a movie prop from a crappy comedy. Unbelievable. I mean, how stereotypical is it that Russia makes a beer/vodka hybrid AND THEN names it Sputnik to boot? Gimme a break. Is this all you guys have to show for Glasnost?!

2. Cannabis Club Sud

This is another one that’s kind of hard to believe–a Deutschland beer aromaticized with hemp. Now, I’m not a pot-smoker at all, but in concept I could see this being halfway decent as hops aren’t that different from marijuana and, in fact, many hoppy, hoppy IPAs smell quite a bit like a big ol’ sack of weed. Oh, who am I kidding, this beer has got to be heinous. But I do love that Dr. Dre and Snoop “Chronic” bottle artwork.

1. Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer

Without question, the Holy Grail of shitty beers. The Westvleteren 12 of foul brews. If there was a devil-worshipping Trappist monastery, they would no doubt produce this liquid garbage. A beer with literally a chili inside the bottle like some formaldehyde-preserved artifact, Beer Advocate reviewers (un)lucky enough to consume this have offered such Zagat-style gems as: it appears to be a “gag beer,” the chili looks like “a fucking turd with a tail,” “the king of suck,” “strong urine tones,” and “the chili came out of the bottle into my beer almost like the bottle was dropping the kids off at the pool.”

Any VB fan dare to order me a sixer?

Now I want to hear from YOU. What are the worst beers you’ve ever discovered?