Over on Zythophile today, Martyn has written about the worst 5 beers he has ever had, and so in the spirit of blatant theft of ideas, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and do likewise. I did actually have a post in my head already, but that can wait for Friday.
In compiling my list, one thing I really wanted to avoid was to slag off beer from the multinationals purely on the basis of them being big mean nasty companies, and so to add a little twist to Martyn's theme I am adding the word "craft", the 5 worst craft beers I have ever had. In order to avoid confusion, my definition of craft is anything not made by a multinational, and also this list is in not particular order.
Pražský most u Valšů tmavé
It is very rare that I pour beer down the sink, though it has become more common of late. During one of Mrs Velkyal and I's epic walks through the streets of Prague's beautiful Old Town we stumbled upon a little brewpub. Their pale lager was acceptable, but as we were just having a quick pit stop before continuing our walk along the Vltava and eventually up into Vinohrady, I didn't have a pint of the dark and so bought a bottle for later. When later arrived that evening I settled down to try the dark, it stank. Not just figuratively but literally, it stank of detergent and tasted distinctly of metal, a truly awful beer. In fairness though, the last time I went to the brewpub, with Evan Rail, it was a damned sight better.
Samuel Adams Noble Pils
Another victim of the dreaded Velkyal Pilsner Fundamentalism. Strangely acrid and with flavours all over the place, definitely not a Bohemian Pilsner as I would recognise it. I bought a six pack of it when it first hit the shelves last year, and despite the promising start in the aroma department, it tasted like burnt toast and then became flabby as it warmed up. I am not sure if "flabby" is an accepted term in beer tasting circles, but I am sure you know what I mean. Toward the end it became dull and lifeless, like so many other American made pilsners. In some vain effort to believe that perhaps it would be better this year, I tried it on draft one night in February, and no I won't be doing that again.
Great Divide Belgica
Some things I simply do not understand, astrophysics, the enduring appeal of EastEnders, baseball and the idea of Belgian IPA. I am not a big fan of American IPA in general, liking my beer to have balance rather than subjecting my tongue to grievous bodily harm, and likewise I am not overly keen on the funky weirdness that seems to be par for the course for a "Belgian" style anything. Put them together and you have a beer which I found simply too grim to drink.
Ybor Gold Light
I don't have a picture of this one, but the awfulness of the beer itself has etched itself on to my memory. None of the Ybor Gold beers are even mediocre, but the Light is particularly foul. I am not one of those people to degrade all "Light" beers, having something of a growing soft spot for Sam Adams Light, but Ybor Gold Light is thin, watery, insipid and just plain crap. So crap in fact that sat by the pool in Daytona Beach two summers ago, even my father-in-law, who tends to buy Milwaukee's Best when on holiday, refused to drink more than a mouthful of his bottle.
South Street Brewery Liberation Lager
I wonder on occasion if I am, in reality, a sucker for punishment. I keep wanting to believe that things can't be as bad as my initial impression and so I go and try beers again that disappointed me, usually with the same outcome. South Street is right opposite my office, it opens just at knocking off time, it's beautiful inside, and I very, very rarely darken the door. Their ales are decent enough, and in fact they do a good solid stout, but Liberation Lager is pretty much undrinkable, it starts out ok but about a third of the way down the glass it just goes to shit, lifeless, tasting like wet cardboard and completely unfinishable.
So there we go, craft beer can suck, and there are times when a Michleob or Pilsner Urquell is simply streets ahead of the "competition".