Friday, December 16, 2011
Worst beer of the year
I'm not one for retrospection, and I would be hard pressed to tell you the best beer I had in 2011. I also would not have hazarded a guess at the worst beer of 2011, had I not just had it a couple of days ago. With this beer I learned, yet again, that you truly do get what you pay for. Fresh & Easy, while far from a beer mecca, has a few good selections at decent prices. They recently added a couple "craft" brands to their lineup that looked interesting, and at $5.99 a 4-pack I figured I couldn't go wrong. I did. Very, very wrong. How could you go wrong with a beer called Gargoyle IPA? Let's start with the brewer, or should I say brewers. The label reads "Ballistic Brewing Co.", but in another place states "Brewed and Bottled by Indian Wells Brewing Co. Inyokern, CA." I read something on the Indian Wells Facebook page that they do contract brewing for private label beers, so maybe that is the case here, who knows. Who cares. Speaking of labels, that is what drew me to this beer in the first place. It had that edgy, craft beer feel to it, emblazoned with a large purple gargoyle staring you down. A gargoyle on a beer bottle, where have I seen that before? Further investigation of the label finds the beer touting it's "Big Head" and a serving temperature of 14 degrees. One of the bottles was actually double labeled, one label covering half of the other. That's what I call attention to detail! How, though, did it taste? I'm not sure how to describe it, but IPA certainly doesn't come immediately to mind. As I drank it I imagined that this is what a Bud IPA might taste like. The color was light amber, the "Big Head" was quite small and dissipated quickly, and the aftertaste was an odd combination of bitter, tart, and unfortunate lingering. A beer like this beckons the question, "Why?" Why am I drinking this? Why did I buy this? Why did they make this? Each bottle was worse than the last, and I gleefully finish the last of the four as I type this. That begs one last question. Why did I drink all four? I can't honestly answer that, except to liken it to the same reason people can't help but rubberneck and stare at an accident on the freeway. People are sick. This beer is sick. It's my pick for worst beer of the year, and this is the last you will hear of it from me.