It’s no secret that there are some serious blind spots in my knowledge of craft beer. I’ve discussed it in the past, and even though I’ve been trying to be more conscious of trying beers I haven’t had before it’s still a long road to hoe. To that end, this weekend I picked up a trio of beers that I’ve heard a lot about but had somehow never tried.
I’m really liking the trend in craft beer of canning: they’re lighter and you know there’s no chance of the beer being light struck! Strangely, all three beers were in 24 oz cans: that’s a little much for me at one time, but hey: live a little, right?
Let’s get down to the tasting.
I admit that I’m not as familiar with ice beers as I should be. I know there’s a rich German tradition of drinking eisbock, and I’ve heard a lot about “Natty Ice” over the years, so I thought it was fitting that I try it.
Very clean tasting! Some smooth malt, not much hops. I normally like to drink beer out of the appropriate glassware, but I decided to sip directly out of the can as I assume it’s what they want, ala Heady Topper. Though it isn’t too high in alcohol I feel a pleasant warming sensation as I sip. I assumed that ice beers were traditionally higher in alcohol content, as they were freeze concentrated, but 5.9% isn’t too bad. As it warms it is perhaps a little too sweet, but on the whole I found this beer well rounded and refreshing.
Dan’s rating: A: an easy drinker, an easy choice!
Wow, it’s pretty similar! It’s very convenient that they have mountains in the can that turn blue when it’s ready to be served. Great technology! Why doesn’t Westmalle do the same? Maybe it’s been patented, which would be too bad: I thought we were all about cooperation in this industry. There’s also a wider mouth in the can, releasing more aromatics and directing the beer to all parts of my tongue for a greater sensory experience.
The body is even lighter than the first beer. Very refreshing!
Dan’s rating: A-: clearly the leader in dispensing technology at this point.
Miller High Life
Ah, the champagne of beers lives up to its name! It’s definitely the driest of the three. I think there’s a higher carbonation as well.
Very nice, very clean. I don’t detect any off flavors at all! I haven’t checked the alcohol percentage yet, but it seems to pack the wallop of champagne too. (Upon checking in to it on Untappd I see it’s only 5%: well, that must be due to an eventful and tiring Easter)
I don’t know that I would reach for this beer over the other two, but I’m a sucker for the malt expression in Natty Ice. I can definitely see situations when I want a more subtle, refined beer.
Dan’s rating: B+: perhaps best saved for special occasions!
When all is said and done
How have I not had any of these yet? They’re all fantastic beers! The pricing was appealing as hell too: I could have a night’s worth of beer for less than the cost of the gas it took me to drive to the store.
It’s going to be hard to check out other options now that I know these exist. Why should I bother hunting down Westvleteran 12 when I can buy a 12 pack of Coor’s Light? I’ll bring a few cans of Natural Light to tonight’s CBW meeting. Maybe Rudy can take some inspiration from it!
Although this is a well round critique that must have sent your taste buds on a journey to new heights, I have to mention that you left out one of the most important canned beers of all-times: Hamm’s Ice. Great taste and yellow.