Tales of Woe

Nathan Gismot, August 06, 2013

In a recent BeerGraphs post, I waxed philosophical about the subjectivity inherent to ratings, etc. In the meantime, I’ve been sampling beers, perusing our leaderboards, and reflecting on potentially useful research questions for future discussion. One never knows where these sorts of endeavors will lead one; and I wish to now pose to you, Gentle Reader, a two-pronged question that has emerged and re-emerged as a byproduct of my highly scientific musings:

What’s the crappiest beer you’ve ever drunk? What’s the worst beer experience you’ve ever had?

These are compelling questions, I know. I encourage you to take your time with them. If you can safely and legally build a fire somewhere, maybe sit down and stare into it for a while as you plumb the depths of your checkered personal biography for answers. In the meantime, allow me to share mine.

Natty Ice. The name, to this day, sends a chill down the back of my neck. I was a freshman in college, and it was Halloween, which is a lively evening indeed for many college kids. At some point in the wee hours, I found myself in that highest bastion of decency and prudence, i.e., the basement of a frat house.

I should have been either asleep or at Denny’s at that point, but you know. Someone handed me a beer. I half-consciously noted the can was lukewarm, cracked it open, took a swig, and found myself in the eye of Hurricane Awful. Whatever I had consumed earlier had provided my palate with the perfect setup for the ultimate death spike of warm Natty Ice. It was revolting, and it took considerable will power to refrain from dragon-breathing it across the room. 

My other “worst” beer experience came about a year later. One of my best friends attended a certain college in Rochester, NY that hosted a weekend-long festival of sorts. A number of us converged there, and debauchery ensued. I was lucky enough to secure the top bunk in my buddy’s dorm room after a particularly enthusiastic evening. I was vaguely aware that he was playing in a volleyball game early the following morning, to which I thought, “good luck with that.”

Well, not only did my friend show up on time for the game, I understand he received a standing ovation upon arrival. He played pretty well, too, from what I heard. At any rate, he came bounding back into his dorm room later in the morning, filled with a drunken, giddy hubris. The nine of us snoring refugees in his room were less than impressed with his noisy arrival. For my part, I turned over and attempted further sleep.

Suddenly, booming in my ear, my friend’s voice: “Morning, Nate!!!” I opened my eyes to my friend’s wide, shit-eating grin. He had a plastic mug in his hand. “What’s that?” I mumbled. “BREAKFAST!” he gleefully exclaimed, and thrust the mug into my helpless hands.

He had poured me a warm Beast Light. As I pinched my nose and gagged it down, I thought, “Man, I have the best friends in the world.” 

Twitter: @nategismot

Review: Natural (“Natty”) Ice

For this review, I will be following the sage advice of Yoda: “Do or do not; there is no try.” Let me explain what I mean. I usually try to be generous with my reviews, because I try to remain mindful of the fact that a lot of people ostensibly spend a lot of time and effort producing the beers that I, lazily by comparison, crack open and consume.

Not this time. Instead, I will simply do the right thing, which is to unleash upon this beer my FAIL stamp of shame – especially in view of its astonishing crapulence on that ill-fated All Hallow’s Eve.

Appearance: 1.5 (because fermented grain water always has at least some aesthetic appeal, no?)
SmelLOL: .5
Taste: I cannot hope to fully explain the flavor of the deuce that Natural Ice dropped on my tongue that evening. Steel wool and Styrofoam, maybe. On fire. In a can. With a touch of armpit. One of the worst tastes of anything I’ve ever tasted. ZERO.
Feel: See “Taste.” .01
Overall: .5

There is nothing natural about Natural Ice. If you told me it was brewed with water derived from stork-encrusted glacier melt in the East River, I would not believe you, because that would be silly, man. But I’d grok what you’re getting at; and I would sagely nod my head as I sipped on a superior beverage which, admittedly, would not be difficult to find considering that ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN NATTY.

I don’t like this beer. Good day to you.