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Esquire’s Worst 9 Beers

Esquire has an odd little piece this week choosing the Nine Worst Beers on Earth, a fairly bold claim given how many beers are brewed on our planet. The author, St. Louis columnist Evan S. Benn, has probably not tried everything yet since he’s only been writing his column since last June, but overall his list does include some truly awful beers.

And while it wasn’t my intention to disparage Benn, in a recent column, Navigate Beer Fests Like a Pro Drinker, he does recommend spit buckets with the following. “You would be surprised how quickly the alcohol in 2-ounce samples can catch up to you. You’d also be surprised at how many beers you thought would be great but end up being disappointing. Don’t be ashamed to use the spit buckets stationed near every table. If you feel like one sip is enough but still have more in your glass, dump the rest into the bucket and move on.” I think he means the “dump buckets,” which is what they’re called in the beer world, but it almost sounds like he’s suggesting not swallowing at least that first sip, a pretty important step in fully tasting any beer. I know judges who occasionally spit second, third, etc. sips when tasting a large number of beers, but that first sip, at least, must be swallowed.

But back to his list, with which, in fact, I can’t disagree with any of his choices except for one, though to be fair I haven’t tried the new Game Day Light. I received an offer to get samples, but maybe I should answer it after all, just to be sure. But the beer I strongly disagree with is the Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic. It’s not that I’d champion it as one of the world’s best, but from his write-up it appears Benn doesn’t realize that beer has been around since 1990 and the sweetness he finds so distasteful is from maple syrup. While the Sam Adams’ version of a lambic may not make my top 100 beers, it’s nowhere near my bottom 100 and I can think of sweeter, less appealing fruit lambics just off the top of my head.

Here’s Esquire’s list:

  1. Bud Light & Clamato Chelada
  2. 7-11 Game Day Light
  3. Rock Ice
  4. Sleeman Clear
  5. Michelob Ultra Pomegranate Raspberry
  6. Camo 24 Extra Smooth Super Premium High Gravity Lager xxXxx
  7. MGD 64
  8. Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic
  9. Olde English 800

Why nine, and not ten — especially with so many bad beers out there — I can’t explain. But there are certainly many more beers that I’d put on such a list, beers that if offered to me outside of work, I’d politely decline. Corona and Heineken (and their light versions) leap to mind, as does Stella Artois and most of the nearly interchangeable American-style, European-style, New Zealand-style, Latin American-style, etc. mass produced light lagers. It’s not that they’re poorly made, in fact most are quite well-constructed, but I’m still not interested in drinking them. I want something with flavor … or more flavor, at least.

What beers would make your list of the worst?

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