Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Beereview: Beck's Bier

I can't believe it's Wednesday already. We've been so busy on the weekends that I have not found the time to brew another batch (although where that time went is a complete mystery.) I still plan on making my new wort chiller and buying another kit, but we have a rather ambitious vacation schedule. These are all just excuses of course, the fact of the matter is that brewing inside my small condo just sucks. It's hard to get the motivation to spend 4 hours bent over my bathtub trying to make dirty things less dirty unless it's "me" and the shower is broken.

Gene chose a pretty lousy beer (Red Stripe) to review last week but I feel he didn't do it justice. There are a lot of flavors in a cheap beer (some good but most bad.) I loved Red Stripe in college for only one reason: it comes in a silly medicine bottle. There's just something amusing about drinking something from a bottle that looks like it contains snake oil, hydrogen peroxide, or vitamins. Sometimes the packaging is all that's important when the beer is served ice cold. If you're eating it with a bowl of mouth numbing chili, who cares what it tastes like?

Novelty Beer

The market is full of what I would refer to as novelty beer. I could try and derive some kind of long winded explanation of this concept, but it's really best described as beer you buy because of the bottle even though you know it tastes bad. Lots of beer falls into this category, for example:

  • Sapporo: the funny can is huge and shiny, a winning combination in beer or Winnebagos.
  • Stella Artois: you can feel like a pretentious jerk drinking it even when you make a mess of all the paper around the top.
  • Bud Light: it comes in a cooler case because they know it tastes like donkey-mouth.
  • Heineken: it comes in can shaped like a mini-keg. If you're one of those people who like miniature things, this beer is for you.

The bottom line is, if they sold beer in a boot people would buy it because it's in a boot. The taste really doesn't matter. For me, Beck's is one of those beers. It reminds me of playing Wing Commander with Eugene when we were both 11, but that's nostalgia not novelty. It meets my criteria for being a novelty beer because it has a fancy foil label and screams German quality at American prices.

Review: Beck's Bier

This beer is my cheap stand-by. It tastes like a good Heineken or an almost as good but cheaper St. Pauli Girl. The flavor is best described as generic lager with a pretty sour aftertaste. It should really be consumed ice cold. The aroma is somewhere between hot cereal and plain spaghetti.

What makes this a good novelty beer is that it doesn't taste bad and still costs somewhere around $1.50 a bottle. It's an import and nobody will turn their nose up at it (unlike Heineken or Foster's which some people seem to hate.) It doesn't have much of a taste (other than "beer") but it is on the dry side. It's sort of like dry white wine but a bit heavier.

Overall, it's a good standby. You could do much worse for more money, at least Beck's adheres to the German Beer Purity laws (American Budweiser I'm looking at you.)

What's your standby? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Ahhh Wing Commander. Those were some good times. But I have to say I missed the reference to that and Becks? How does Becks remind you of old school games? Also don't forget to mention the Fosters can that's so large you almost can't put your hand around it! I have a custom koozie built just for it. It looks like a paint bucket.

  2. Wasn't it Wing Commander Privateer where we were buying Bex beer and selling
    it for a huge profit on Venus?

  3. Future So BrightJune 19, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    My summer standby is any cheap mexican beer. Almost tasteless, but refreshing, so a great base for a "beer-garita". Salt the rim, squeeze in 1 or 2 limes, ice and pour the golden stuff in. Yes, its basically a lime drink so you don't want a beer that you really want to taste :)

  4. Love this line: "The aroma is somewhere between hot cereal and plain spaghetti".

  5. Excellent!
    Great article, I already saved it to my favourite,