Saturday, December 11, 2010

World's Worst Beer


Those consummate beer-obsessives over at ratebeer.com have made a list and checked it twice - the 50 worst beers in the world.

Not surprisingly, it's heavy on light beers. I would have actually placed Corona Light much closer to the top of the list - I love Corona as a gentle summertime swig, but let's face it, it's practically a light beer already. If it were any lighter, it would float away in the breeze. But Corona Light? It almost begs the question, at what point is this not even really beer anymore?

The light beer that they currently place at #3 - Natural Light - would be my most likely choice for the uncoveted #1 spot, if one includes light beers. However, I find light beers so fundamentally useless that they literally do not count as beer in my world. To my memory, the only times I've ever bought light beer in my life have been for women.

But if we take light beers and low-carb beers out of the equation and solely address "real" beers, I'd nominate Milwaukee's Best as being up there in the running. And sure enough, the boys at ratebeer are with me - they've got it at #4, which would be #3 if you eliminated the light beers.

In my lifetime, however, I think the worst beer I've ever had is Black Label, which was so awful, we even recognized how awful it was in high school when our palates were virginal. And then there was the time when the designated beer-buyer mistakenly bought us a half case of Black Label Light - an atrocity of such proportions that even now, 28 years later, I want to track him down on the internet and berate him all over again for that.

Old German is another bad old drink from the good old days that certainly would rank among the most craptastic. I didn't even think this stuff still existed, but just now found a page about it on Beer Advocate.

I'm rather out of my element when it comes to the bad beers of today, though - I thankfully haven't had the need, the circumstances, nor the desire to drink anything from the degenerate end of the supermarket beer aisle. Occasionally I go do slumming a bit with mediocre common-man beers like Miller High Life or Rolling Rock, neither of which made ratebeer's worst-list.

(Funny how all things are relative, though - the first time I ever sat at the bar at the Middletown VFW Hall, I asked the bartender what beers they had. She said "oh, you know, all the basic ones." So I ordered a Rolling Rock and she furrowed her brow. "No fancy ones," she said, "just the basic ones." I got a whiskey instead.)

I don't even know what some of these beers are - never heard of Sleeman Clear, for instance, but it got to #6 on the list. Also never heard of Camo or Cave Creek Chili Beer; maybe I need to get out more. Or maybe not.

So what IS the worst beer in the world (say it like Keith Olbermann)? According to ratebeer, it's Olde English 800 3.2, which certainly sounds wretched - you take a disgusting "poor people's beer" like 800 and then reduce the alcohol content to a miserable 3.2. I have no idea what the thinking behind that move was, since the entire point of malt liquor forties is to serve a beer with high alcohol content, taste be damned.

All this talk of watery, skunky brew is makin' me a mite nauseous. I think I need to reach for a Duvel Tripel Hop or a Nemesis to remind myself of the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty of a serious beer for a serious man.

- - JSH

9 comments:

chase said...

those are some nasty ass beers alright. only the schlitz malt liquor bull is a guilty pleasure for me.

Transylvania Gentlemen said...

Ahhh yes.... I have fond but queasy college-age memories of the Blue Bull, and the old TV commercials with the bull crashing through the wall.

Thinking about Schlitz also makes me think for some reason about Little Kings Cream Ale, for the first time in years. Foul but potent stuff. I never understood what was so "creamy" about it.

- JSH

brine said...

I'll have to completely, vehemently disagree with most of these comments, Jeff. While I consider myself a lover of fine beers and somewhat experienced in them, being two-steps from hobo status most of my life has made as much an expert in cheap beer, which can be just as graded and varied. Your High Lifes, PBRs, Schlitzes, Milwaukees Bests, original Falls Cities, Old Styles and Black Labels (yep--it ain't all that bad) rank heads and tales over Budweiser, Amber Bock, Coors and most of the lite beers you mentioned. Why? Because they actually have a basic cheap American beer taste. Budweiser is like drinking a carbonated fart and most Miller products I can't even look at anymore (again, excluding Hiigh Life). There's a certain art in creating a distinctive taste in a poor man's beer, as much so as a more expensive brew. I love swiggin Bell's and such, but if I'm a little low in the pockets and/or BBQing with some buddies out back, I'd rather slug Schlitz or PBR any old day. [slams fist on table, crunches PBR can onto forehead.]

Transylvania Gentlemen said...

I tip my hat to your discerning palate, B-Manley. I can't really taste the difference between most lowbrow beers, although like I say, I am out of practice at it. When I'm a hobo myself again someday (maybe five or six years from now - these things are cyclical) I'll no doubt regain my gas-station beer sensibilties.

I forgot about PBR. I do dig PBR, for reasons more sentimental than savory.

- JSH

brine said...

Thank you sir. I guess my main point was that, of all the gross swill out there, in my opinion, Budweiser beats them all for just flat out being terrible and tasteless. It should have topped the list. Definitely the worst beer in America, and probably the world.

J.T. Dockery said...

Brine Manley did point out what should have been obvious to me that Budweiser/Bud-Lite itself is crappier than any crappy cheap beer, and it is over-priced at that (and in any instance I'd take the Beast or Black Label over "bud"). I'm with Manley in that I dig the good stuff, but when going cheaper, there's an art to knowing what to buy and what to spend. I've had many a fine instance of figuring out this peculiar alchemy when standing in the beer aisle with this aforementioned Manley.

JSH said...

As far as I can remember, I've only had Budweiser once in the past 20 years - it was in 2007 when I went to see Music Theatre Louisville's production of Hello Dolly and Carol Channing herself (who had made the introductory speech) sat directly in front of us.

I was too hypnotized by the fact that I was staring into the back of Carol Channing's head, only inches away from me, to pay much attention to the show, much less the wretched beer. All I remember is that it tasted like vaguely corny water and that I was damn glad it was in one of those crazy superchilled aluminum bottles or else it would have been even worse.

(By the way, I leaned forward and sniffed her wig. I knew people were watching. I didn't care. A man only gets a chance like that once in a lifetime.)

Ross said...

The preservatives and chemicals and shit they put in most cheap American beer is inexcusable.

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with Old German. Its cheap and it gets you fucked up.