To celebrate my transition into year 27 and my gradual decline into inevitable senility, I thought it would be fun to gather some folks over at The Lighthouse to do a blind cheap beer tasting.
The whiteboard after the end of the tasting, including an illustration about how the cool, clean taste of Coors is largely due to being made with water Mark has urinated in.
With the combination of a sizable haul of reasonably priced six-packs from the grocery store and a mini-fridge loaded with Keystone Lights upstairs, we assembled a list of potential contenders for our beer tasting on the whiteboard. By the time others showed up with a few new challengers for the tasting we had more than 20 beers but narrowed it to 16, an even number of beers easy to work out into a single-elimination bracket system.
For our game, the beers up for competition included a mix of ultra low-grade lagers, a couple Mexican beers and a relatively respectable beer—Shiner Blonde—thrown in to make things interesting.
Contenders included: Budweiser, Bud Light, Busch, Coors, Steel Reserve High Gravity, Miller High Life, Lone Star, Miller Lite, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Natural Light, Icehouse, Keystone Light, Schlitz Malt Liquor, Tecate, Corona, Shiner Blonde
Lisa was kind enough to sit the drinking out and serve as beer pourer in the laundry room, keeping the cans and bottles away from the eyes of the tasters (to keep it a true blind taste test). But while she knew the beers she was bringing out to the table in plastic pitchers, their ordering and pairing was done at random by drawing numbers before the evening began.
We passed pitchers and tried two beers at a time in plastic party cups. After each tasting we turned to score cards crafted by Rob to note the flavor, body, strength, overall score and guess for each of our beers. Critiques from the forms collected include:
- Flavorful. Could be a decent beer (Schlitz Malt Liquor)
- Tastes like poop—I don’t like poop (Schlitz Malt Liquor)
- A little wet-sockey (Miller High Life)
- Smells like asparagus pee (Miller High Life)
- Tastes like my tongue was burned (Miller High Life)
- Ass-flavored mouthrape (Corona)
- I rather eat poop!! [sic] (Corona)
- Actually smells like shit. Schlitz (Corona)
- Like a waterfall of urine (Shiner Blonde)
- Shitty (Tecate)
- Tastes like Walmart (Icehouse)
- Tastes like a slightly classier Walmart (PBR)
After each pair of beers, Rob calculated scores in a prepared beer tasting spreadsheet while Lisa prepped the next two beers behind the scenes. In the end, we had some results that illustrated the power of marketing and brand in our beer preferences (or, perhaps more likely, our inadequacies as beer snobs).
In the end, Corona sans lime pulled in the lowest score, earning unanimous disgust from our not-so expert panel of judges.
According to scores awarded to the beers in the first round of eliminations, the beer with the higher score was the one that beat the most elite beer in the contest, Shiner Blonde. That “beer” was Schlitz Malt Liquor…
…but based off our bracket system, Coors Original beat out Lone Star in the finals to be the judges’ pick for the best of the beers.
Average final scores
- Schlitz: 3.25
- Coors: 3.0
- High Gravity: 2.83
- Shiner Blonde: 2.83
- Lone Star: 2.55
- Busch: 2.54
- Keystone Light: 2.46
- Bud: 2.42
- Miller Lite: 2.38
- Miller High Life: 2.33
- Natty Light: 2.33
- Bud Light: 2.33
- Tecate: 2.17
- PBR: 2.08
- Icehouse: 1.77
- Corona: 1.23