I was recently accused of being unamerican. It was not because I love foreign films or dislike baseball (although both of these are true). It was because I had never had a Coors. Here I am enjoying some of the best beers of the world in San Diego, planning a beer tour of Belgium, and yet I haven’t had some of the most prevalent beers in the US!
After years of saying disparaging things about the great American lager, I figured it was time to delve into their shadow-world and see what I was missing. Every since the cola taste tests of my youth I’ve had a predisposition towards lining up unknown glasses of labeled liquid and trying to discern the differences. So this was the obvious choice: gather together the big-name lagers and see which one is best. Amanda was so horrified by the idea that she volunteered to be the beer pourer.
I then set about my quest of gathering together the candidate beers, and found eight good candidates: Budweiser, Coors, Miller Genuine Draft, Busch, Mickey’s, Olde English 800, Rolling Rock, and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
It was at this point I realized that my beer challenge was going to bigger than just the US. What about the Stella Artois, Red Stripes, and Sapporos of this world? Clearly this was not a single taste test anymore, but a full-blown international bracket competition. I decided to do a few different regional tests–one for the US, another for Europe, Latin America, Asia, etc–and then have a final run-off. I’ll spend the next few weeks finding these beers and have the tests when I feel like I have enough for the region.
Anyway, on an auspicious Sunday afternoon (cheap beer being a football tradition) Amanda opened the cans of Great US Lager and poured me a tray of golden bubbly goodness.
And then I set about drinking. A couple seemed “smooth, creamy”. Others were “rich, bad flavor” or “bitter lemon aftertaste”. In the end there were only a couple I thought were decent enough to drink, and a couple that I really though were bad. So when all was said and done here was the final ranking:
- Olde English 800
- Pabst Blue Ribbon
- Miller Genuine Draft
- Rolling Rock
Mickey’s and Olde English were decently malty and hoppy. They had more flavor, I think they were ales anyway, so I somewhat discount them. Coors and PBR, then, were the winners among the lagers and make it to the next round. Busch and Rolling Rock were truly bad. I had higher hopes for MGD, but in the end it just didn’t taste good. Budweiser was utterly unremarkable.
While I finished up the winners, I managed to do some voting. I also started my first recipe in my cookbook cookthrough, but that’s a subject for another post.