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World’s Worst Beers

Well, at least according to Rate Beer these are the world’s fifty worst beers as rated by their members. Here’s the introduction to RateBeer’s list:

Below is a list of worst beers in the world as rated by the thousands of beer enthusiasts at Dare to try them? We don’t advise it. We provide this list in the name of beer education. We aren’t picking on the fat kid as much as we’re making a few big brewers accountable for their products that are more about beer hype and marketing than substance.

So one has to assume that by worst they mean ones that people generally don’t like drinking, worst in the sense of their popularity among beer geeks, worst in the sense of having very little flavor or worst in the sense of being made by very large companies with bad reputations among the fans of small breweries and specifically not in the sense that they aren’t well made. Because like it or not, most of the beers made by the big breweries are technically very well made, it’s just that a majority of people who are passionate enough about beer to go to RateBeer and rate the beers that they try tend not to like American-style light lagers and similar styles.

And most, if not all, of these beers were not sampled blind, meaning there was more than likely strong bias against them in rating them. Because also, like or not, many of the beers on this list are also some of the most popular beers in the world. No. 36, Bud Light, for example, is the highest ranked brand in the world according to the 2009 Millward Brown Optimor Top 100 and the second most popular beer brand in the world according to Plato Logic. I’m no fan of these beers personally and I’m certainly not trying to champion any of the ones on this list, but I do want to put this into perspective.

The World’s Worst Beers

  1. Halsnæs Poulsen / Halsnæs Bryghus (Denmark)
  2. Busch NA / Anheuser-Busch InBev
  3. O’Douls / Anheuser-Busch InBev
  4. Gluek Stite Light Lager / Cold Spring Brewery
  5. Olde English 800 3.2 / Miller Brewing Company (MillerCoors)
  6. Pabst NA / Miller Brewing Company (MillerCoors)
  7. Hurricane Ice / Anheuser-Busch InBev
  8. Sleeman Clear / Sleeman Brewing & Malting Co. (Canada) (Sapporo; Japan)
  9. Black Label 11-11 Malt Liquor / Miller Brewing Company (MillerCoors)
  10. Natural Light / Anheuser-Busch InBev
  11. Natural Ice / Anheuser-Busch InBev
  12. Tooheys Blue Ice / Tooheys (Lion Nathan Co.; New Zealand)
  13. Michelob Ultra / Anheuser-Busch InBev
  14. Milwaukee’s Best / Miller Brewing Company (MillerCoors)
  15. Coors Non-Alcoholic / Coors Brewing Company (MillerCoors)
  16. Diamond White Cider / Matthew Clark Cider (England)
  17. Miller Sharps / Miller Brewing Company (MillerCoors)
  18. Tuborg T-Beer / Carlsberg Brewery (Denmark)
  19. PC 2.5 g Low Carb / Brick Brewing Company (Canada)
  20. Jacob Best Ice / Miller Brewing Company (MillerCoors)
  21. Coors Aspen Edge / Coors Brewing Company (MillerCoors)
  22. Bud Light Chelada / Anheuser-Busch InBev
  23. Molson Kick / Molson Breweries (MolsonCoors; Canada)
  24. Bud Ice Light / Anheuser-Busch InBev
  25. Genesee NA / High Falls Brewing Company
  26. Busch Ice / Anheuser-Busch InBev
  27. Rockman High Gravity Lager / Sleeman Brewing & Malting Co. (Canada) (Sapporo; Japan)
  28. Molson Ex Light / Molson Breweries (MolsonCoors; Canada)
  29. Old Milwaukee Ice / Miller Brewing Company (MillerCoors)
  30. Labatt Sterling / Labatt Breweries (InBev; Canada)
  31. Blue Ice Beer / San Miguel Brewery (Hong Kong)
  32. Hek Original Lager Blonde Beer (Blue label) / Groupe Geloso (Canada)
  33. Pabst Ice / Pabst Brewing Company
  34. Tooheys Blue Bitter / Tooheys (Lion Nathan Co.; New Zealand)
  35. Fosters Light / Fosters Brewing (Australia)
  36. Bud Light / Anheuser-Busch InBev
  37. Busch Light / Anheuser-Busch InBev
  38. Camo Silver Ice High Gravity Lager / City Brewery (Melanie Brewing Co)
  39. Tooheys Extra Dry Platinum / Tooheys (Lion Nathan Co.; New Zealand)
  40. Milwaukee’s Best Light / Miller Brewing Company (MillerCoors)
  41. Pabst Extra Light / Pabst Brewing Company
  42. Molson Ultra / Molson Breweries (MolsonCoors; Canada)
  43. Camo 900 High Gravity Lager / City Brewery (Melanie Brewing Co)
  44. Matt Accel / Matt Brewing Company
  45. Adelskronen Mix Alsterwasser/ Radler / Feldschlößchen Braunschweig (Carlsberg; Denmark)
  46. Lucky Lager Force 10 / Labatt Breweries (InBev)
  47. Busch Beer / Anheuser-Busch InBev
  48. Schlitz Red Bull / Miller Brewing Company (MillerCoors)
  49. Molson Exel / Molson Breweries (MolsonCoors; Canada)
  50. Fosters Light Ice / Fosters Brewing (Australia)

There are some obvious problems with the list. For example, six of the beers are non-alcoholic (I marked them in blue). I know they’re trying to duplicate the taste of beer, but with less than 0.5% alcohol, I’m not sure they should be a part of this list. They’re designed for a very specific purpose, that is for people who can’t tolerate alcohol for whatever reason. A casual drinker would never choose one of these beers absent some specific need. For that same reason I’d argue that gluten-free beers should also not be on such a list, but there aren’t any on the list surprisingly enough. Also one of the items on the list, No. 16, is hard cider, not a beer at all. In the original list, Nos. 33 and 41, Pabst Ice and Pabst Extra Light, respectively, are attributed to MillerCoors, though they only brew them under license for Pabst, who owns the labels.

Also, just as a matter of curiosity, here’s some additional interesting data I gleaned from the list:

Company Distribution

  1. Anheuser-Busch In Bev = 12 (24%)
  2. MillerCoors = 11 (22%)
  3. MolsonCoors = 4 (8%)
  4. Carlsberg = 2 (4%)
  5. Fosters = 2 (4%)
  6. Labatt/InBev = 2 (4%)
  7. Pabst = 2 (4%)
  8. Sleeman/Sapporo = 2 (4%)
  9. Toohey’s/Lion Nathan = 2 (4%)

Country of Origin Distribution

  1. United States = 31 (62%)
  2. Canada = 9 (18%)
  3. Denmark = 3 (6%)
  4. New Zealand = 3 (6%)
  5. Australia = 2 (4%)
  6. England = 1 (2%)
  7. Hong Kong = 1 (2%)

Style Distribution

  1. Light Lagers = 28 (56%)
  2. Ice Beer = 11 (22%)
  3. Malt Liquor = 7 (14%)
  4. Non-Alcoholic = 6 (12%)
  5. Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer = 3 (6%)
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