Monthly Archives: September 2009

Koch’s Golden Anniversary: The Worst Beer in America?

Koch’s Golden Anniversary is proof that being a Gold Medal-winning beer really doesn’t mean jack shit. “Golden Annie” won a coveted gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 1987, but it has a current rating of D+ on Beer Advocate.

Tory hasn’t tried this beer before, and I have to admit that I’ve only had it once at a party when I was in college. But believe me, once was enough. It was, without a doubt, the worst beer I have ever tasted. It’s been several years since I tried it, but here’s what I remember:

1. The stench. As soon as you cracked a can, a funky skunky stench permeated the air. It was bitter, metallic, robust, musky.

2. The can.

I mean, seriously. Look at that thing. Nothing about that is promising.

3. The taste. If possible, it tasted worse than it smelled. It was musty, musky, murky. Not unlike swamp water. Bitter, pungent, and heavy. I was a prodigious beer drinker in college, and I could down cheap beers like Milwaukee’s Best and Keystone Ice without making a face. But Koch’s Golden Anniversary defeated me. I believe that out of all the beers I have ever opened, Golden Annie was the only beer I couldn’t bring myself to finish.

To date, no beer I’ve ever consumed has been half as bad as Koch’s Golden Anniversary.

What about you guys? Have your ever had the misfortune of tasting Golden Annie? And if not, what was the worst beer you ever tried?

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Popsy

Popsy is a caramel and vanilla liqueur. You might be wondering why it merits inclusion here, since the taste profile seems pretty normal. While the taste isn’t necessarily bad, the packaging is pretty hilarious.

What’s next? A Cherry-Pomegranate liqueur in a container that looks like an ovum? Actually, maybe we should get on that…

Malört Flickr Pool!

There is a Malört face Flickr pool, which we have just joined. Check it out for additional pictures that we didn’t feature here!

Malört Part Two

So, the day we taped the Malört episode was also our friend Ian’s birthday. So after a bunch of us got together for sushi and presents, we invited everyone back to our place to try the Malört. Misery loves company, right?

So this is how poor Ian spent his 25th birthday.

Our friend Randy was also less than impressed.

The general consensus was that it smelled that rubbing alcohol. Ian said it tasted exactly like pavement.

Then, I had a brilliant idea. I had a bunch of Miracle Berry Fruit Tablets kicking around, so Ian, Randy, Tory, and yours truly decided to see if popping a Miracle Berry tablet could help make the Malört more palatable. Sadly, it didn’t work. Nothing can stop the Malört.

Then, our friend Angela decided to try a sip. But rather than groan in agony, she just sort of shrugged it off. So we had her take another sip. Still, no response.

Angela is immune to Malört. Completely. She said that she only tasted dank, dusty basement. While we sat around the living room, groaning and bemoaning our poor judgement, Angela just sat there like some serene Buddha, completely unaffected.

Between all of us, we polished off about half the bottle. And truth be told, I think I might have another glass now. Malört is still the worst thing I’ve ever drank, but it has this strange allure. Maybe I’m just a masochist, but I plan to keep testing the supposed curative properties of Malört. The next time I have a cold or an upset stomach, I might reach for the Malört before I go digging through the medicine cabinet.

Episode 4: Malört (or, Why Bad Things Happen to Nice People)

VITAL STATS
Product: Jeppson’s Malört
Alcohol Content: 35% ABV (70 proof)
Location Purchased: Via Mail Order from Binnys.com
Price Paid: Total cost for 1 bottle was $34.87 (bottle was 17.99 plus tax, shipping was $14.51

 

For those of you who are coming late to the party, Malört is a Scandinavian wormwood schnapps, produced in the U.S. by Carl Jeppson. The drink has something of a cult following in the greater Chicago area. It has been alternately described as tasting like “extreme dirt”, “poison”, and “exactly like drinking a tire fire”.

In all honesty, we have to say that those descriptions do not even come close to describing the unholy, soul-crushing taste of Jeppson’s Malört. You might think that the rest of this article has been exaggerated for comic effect. We assure you, it has not. Jeppson’s Malört is the foulest thing you could put into your body. And you can’t even begin to comprehend the taste of this hellish brew.

We opened the bottle cautiously, afraid that its legendary fumes would permeate the air like carbon monoxide and kills us both. And oh, how we wish it had. Because if we were dead, we could hide from the taste of Malört forever. Death, we have agreed, is our only refuge from Malört. But then again, this concoction is so unholy that it just might reanimate our corpses and force us to nurse at its foul Scandinavian teat for all eternity.

Please, do not buy this beverage to taste it for yourselves. Instead, please refer to our handy reference guide about the Malört experience.

The Seven Stages of Malört

1. The “Aroma”. Malört smells like rubbing alcohol, turpentine, ballpoint pen ink, and embalming fluid. We are not exaggerating.

2. The Trepidation. Once you pour your first glass, you begin to have second thoughts. You think of every bad thing you’ve ever heard about this drink. You think of your family, and how your death would devastate them. You remember that you haven’t gone to confession in months, and that you are unprepared for death. You think that maybe you’ve made a mistake in pouring yourself this drink.

3. The Bravado. Then you think, “It can’t possibly be that bad.” You remember that one time in college when you drank a skunked beer, and you totally handled that. Maybe you’re already a seasoned absinthe drinker, and you think your palate is prepared for anything with wormwood in it. Maybe once you ate pickled pig’s feet on a dare, and you think that nothing could possibly taste worse than that.

4. The First Taste. You hold it in you mouth for a few seconds, and think “Hey, this isn’t so bad!”. Then you make the mistake of swallowing, of letting your guard down. And like a sniper, the Malört takes aim for its killing blow. The bitterness strikes you off guard, but the Malört isn’t finished with you yet. Out of fucking NOWHERE, the bitterness swells and consumes your entire mouth. But your first taste was small, so the strange hairy pucker-mouth sensation doesn’t last for long.

5. The Second Taste. Yes, it was bad. You can admit that now. But a lot of booze has a strong flavor. And really, it wasn’t so bad. You think you’ll polish off the rest of your glass in one go. And then the Malört decides to make you its bitch, and anally rapes you. At this stage, you might get the shakes, lose the ability to speak, develop a crashing headache, or simply need to lie down for a while. You might cry like a schoolgirl, develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or question the existence of God. A quiet stillness descends over your entire being, and you no longer fear anything. Not snakes, not terrorists, not even death itself. Except the Malört.

6. The False Belief. Some time passes. It might be a few minutes, a couple of hours, several decades. And strangely, you feel compelled to drink more Malört. Which makes no sense. You know how awful it tastes. In fact, all your evolutionary programming should be forcing you to avoid the Malört at all costs. Human beings don’t want to drink things that taste like poison. Poison could kill us.

AND YET. You feel this compulsion to taste it, just one more time. And to tell everyone about it, and to force them to try it. And it’s only sporting to have a glass with them. After all, no one should have to go through the Malört ordeal alone. The compulsion builds, and you succumb to its strange siren song.

7. The ‘Oh God WHY!?’ You have another drink. And, like some cruel joke, the Malört has somehow gotten worse. Not just a little bit worse, but exponentially worse. So terrible that words completely escape you.

And the worst part is, once you have tasted Malört, you’ll be repeating steps 6 and 7 for quite some time.

In conclusion, Malört is like September 11th. It’s over now, but it has changed us. And we’ll never really be able to forget how it made us feel.

So Tory and I put the bottle away. But we went out to dinner with some friends that night, and they all wanted to try it. So we all came back to the apartment and cracked open that godforsaken bottle one last time. And that’s when things got really interesting…

To be continued…

The Malort has landed!

Episode 3: Pizza Beer (and a surprise bonus booze!)

VITAL STATS
Product: Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer
Produced by: Tom Seefurth
Alcohol Content: Unknown
Location Purchased: Via Mail Order from Choice Wine & Spirits, DeKalb, IL
Price Paid: Total cost for 2 bottles plus shipping via UPS was $29.38

 

 

“It’s the world’s first culinary beer!” the website proclaimed.

“Beer so good it deserves a wine glass!” the label announced.

“It’s like drinking really watery pasta sauce,” raved an A.V. Club review.

We found ourselves powerless to resist the siren call of this wacky little beer.

The pizza beer is an ale infused with tomato, basil, oregano, and garlic. And according to this helpful graphic we found on their website, the beer is 100% chipmunk free!

When we poured our first glass of the pizza beer, and gave it a cautious whiff, our blood ran cold. The scent of tomato gave us flashbacks to the Chelada incident, and we were afraid to continue. But we mustered up enough courage to take our first tentative sips.

It wasn’t bad. In fact, it was actually pretty good. The beer itself was crisp, not overly malted or hoppy, and very refreshing. The beer had a long slow finish, and one by one each ingredient made its presence known. The tomato taste came first, then the oregano, the garlic, and the basil. We can’t imagine when we’d purchase a large quantity of it, except as a novelty, but it was not the pizza-flavored hell we were dreading.

But good booze, tasty though it may be, isn’t exactly a comedy gold mine. You, dear reader, haven’t come here looking for good booze. You want the nasty stuff. You want to watch us suffer. You thrive on schadenfreude. And we are happy to oblige.

SURPRISE BONUS BOOZE!

VITAL STATS
Product: New Amsterdam Gin
Produced by: New Amsterdam Spirits Co., Modesto, CA
Alcohol Content: 40% ABV (80 proof)
Location Purchased: NH Liquor Store
Price Paid: I forget. I remember it was on sale. Probably somewhere in the ballpark of 17 bucks for a 1.5 liter bottle.

 

Do not be taken in by the slick advertising. The gin inside this sexy-looking bottle is some of the worst we’ve ever tasted. Now, granted, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition awarded New Amsterdam Gin the gold medal in 2007 and again in 2008. But that doesn’t mean anything, not in a world where lowbrow beers like Schlitz can claim gold medal status as well.

This particular bottle had been lurking in our cupboards for months, because the taste was so unbelievably foul. Imagine drinking a glass of Lysol, and you will begin to imagine the gut-wrenching terror that is New Amsterdam.

Good gin is a thing of beauty. It should be aromatic, refreshing, complex. New Amsterdam is not good gin. Rather than an appealing aroma, it smells of rubbing alcohol and Lemon Pledge, with a hint of orange air freshener.

And the taste…God, the taste is truly awful. At first, it’s relatively clean on the palate. But then you make the mistake of swallowing, and New Amsterdam reveals its true character. New Amsterdam gin hates you, and it wants you to die.

Once you swallow it, the burn begins. Not the slow pleasant burn of a good whisky, but rather a sensation that is not unlike the raw burning esophageal pain that comes after a night of heavy vomiting. For a brand that bills itself as “Diamond Smooth”, this feels like razor blades in your gut. You get an instant headache, your stomach clenches, and you beg for death.

For the love of God, avoid New Amsterdam at all costs. Drink Hendricks, drink Magellan. They are delicious.

New Amsterdam, we hate you.