Type: Pale Lager
Sticker Price: $7.59/6-pack of bottles
I haven’t liked a lot of Mexican beer. Negra Modelo has been the best of the lot but I wanted to branch out. This one surprised me and I really enjoyed it. The flavors tend toward the middle of the spectrum with hints of darker, roasted grains set off by pleasantly soft hops. It’s very refreshing yet with a depth that you can savor.
- Rating (5=best): 4
- Nose: A bit hoppy, tiny bit of grass. Malt underneath with the slightest roasted corn.
- Flavor: Nice caramel malts, lemony citrus. Hints of darker roasted flavors balanced by smooth hop and lemon rind bitterness. Heavy body for a lager.
- Finish: Nice dry but refreshing hoppy finish. Not too bitter, just enough to round out the malt sweetness.
- Notes: Mellow and more complicated than a typical Mexican beer. Darker flavors make it more than a lager.
- Shilpi: Thoughtful: “Way better than Natty Ice. It tastes caramelly.”
#10 Red Stripe
Sticker Price: $6.99/6-pack of bottles THEN $11.99/12-pack of bottles
This was one of the first beers I had with my friend Dustin while grilling out on his patio in Koreatown, LA. It was perfect for that occasion. I haven’t revisited it after drinking several kegs worth on a trip with high school friends in Jamaica (where Red Stripe on tap was unlimited at our resort). It’s tied into memories of friends and good times. Shilpi and I had more good times when I brought the first 6 pack home: we drank the whole thing before I could finish the review. I got a 12 pack this time. For a fairly cheap import lager I enjoy it but I savor the memories it brings back more than the flavor itself.
- Rating (5=best): 2
- Nose: Sweet corn water (like the leftovers from boiled corn), slight almost Belgian herbal character.
- Flavor: Mellow and malty, grainy sweetness, hardly any hops. Corn again. Watery in a refreshing way and with a bit more body than other American lagers.
- Finish: Fast and dry with a little rounded bitter/sourness.
- Notes: This is very drinkable but not too interesting. It’s refreshing without being too bitter and the malty mellowness is great with food.
- Shilpi: Big smile when I told her what I brought home: “It tastes like Jamaica.”
#9 Miller Genuine Draft
Sticker Price: $5.69/6-pack of bottles
I grew up in Wisconsin where everything is Miller. After my first job on a movie set as a grip in Chicago, the guys brought out the cooler of beer and handed me a MGD. I wasn’t into beer yet but choked it down just to be a good sport. Revisiting it nine years later, I’m still unimpressed.
- Rating (5=best): 1.5
- Nose: Barley, sweet corn.
- Flavor: Mellow and malty, grainy sweetness, hardly any hops. Watery but not too much so.
- Finish: Very short, corn syrup at best.
- Notes: This is very drinkable and boring. It could be refreshing with food on a hot day when you don’t really care what you’re drinking.
- Shilpi: Shrugs. “It’s like, okay. I mean, whatever. There’s nothing remarkable to remark upon.”
#8 Third Shift Amber Lager
Type: Vienna Lager
Sticker Price: $6.49/6-pack of bottles
I tend to like anything labeled as amber. The darker roasty notes are wonderful and not too demanding like a porter or stout so it can be approached casually. Shilpi brought this one home to have with our traditional Halloween meal: chili and hot dogs. At first it was unremarkable but then became a nice palate cleanser with food.
- Rating (5=best): 2
- Nose: Malty but a little stale. Plenty of grain, tiny metallic tang.
- Flavor: Sweet malt, mild roasted grain flavors, bit of fruity hops and hint of toffee.
- Finish: Very short, bit of metal and bitter citrus on the aftertaste.
- Notes: This might be great with a meal: a well-charred burger or some fish and chips. On its own it isn’t anything special but is certainly inoffensive. I wouldn’t buy it again though.
- Shilpi: “It said ‘gold medal award winner’ so that’s why I bought it. Plus it was cheap. It tastes like a lager. I don’t know that I’d give it any awards.”