If people want to drink cheap, badly made beer, fine. This is America, and they’re free to make poor decisions about beer. Frankly, it’s none of my business. When I see some poor sap placing a twelve-pack of an American adjunct lager that tastes like the water out of a can of expired corn into his grocery cart, I keep my comments to myself. However, when people rave about their favorite bad beer as if it’s on par with a delicious Bell’s Two Hearted Ale or a Founders Breakfast Stout (two of my go-to beers) I feel compelled to speak up. In the spirit of keeping bad beer drinkers honest, I’ve ranked the five most overrated beers below. To be clear, beers exist that are worse than the five below. But people who drink Molson Ice do not generally rave about its flavor. In contrast, the people who prefer the beers listed below tend to talk ad nauseam about how great their favorite beer is. They, of course, are wrong.
5. Sour Beers (every stinkin’ one of ’em in this beer style)
After over a decade of making a mini-hobby out of seeking and touring craft breweries as well as trying the ever-expanding list of craft beer offerings, over the last couple of years I’ve settled into a comfortable rut with my beer drinking. My beer fridge is usually filled with my standby beers. For example, I’ve found an IPA that I love, and having tried hundreds of IPAs all over this country, I do not feel the need to waste my time trying any more (if I’m traveling, I still try local brews). All that to say, I’m not entirely sure if the sour beer craze is over or not. I do know that every once in a while, well-meaning yet wrongheaded friends will ply me with the latest sour that they claim is great. And, without exception, every single one tastes like Sour Patch Kids candy. I want my beer to taste like beer and not like a gimmicky candy. For the record, I’ve had all but two of the sour beers on this list.
Friends have told me that Heineken is much better in the Netherlands. However, those friends aren’t friends whose opinions about beer I rank very highly; they like Heineken, after all. Also, never mind that Heineken International has breweries all around the world. It’s the second largest brewery in the world, after all. And like its mass-produced lager counterparts, Heineken is woefully short on flavor, body, and aroma. However, unlike many of its mass-produced lager counterparts, Heineken has the extra annoying dimension of its fans believing that they’re drinking a superior beer. Spoiler alert: they’re not.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked, “Does the restaurant have any beer that I’ll like?” only to be told by the individual recommending the restaurant, “Oh, yes. They have Yuengling.” What makes that annoying is that most of my friends know me as a “beer snob.” One of my first writing jobs was writing about beer for a music site. What makes that answer extra annoying is that it reveals that people assume that Yuengling is a legitimate craft beer and a good beer, to boot. It’s neither. Yes, I am aware that Yuengling is technically a craft beer. However, the beer is a bland American Amber lager and is merely okay. Drinkable, yes. Flavorful, no. Honestly, if the best beer on the menu is Yuengling, I’ll have water. No need to waste my daily calories on an okay, bland beer.
2. Blue Moon Belgian White
I’m not such a craft beer snob as to care a whole lot that Blue Moon Belgium White is brewed by MillerCoors. If a beer is delicious, I don’t really care how many millions of gallons the brewery produces. What I do care about is that people who love Blue Moon Belgium White are unaware that there are dozens of better Belgian witbiers on the market. Off the top of my head I can name four: Dogfish Head Namaste, Allagash Brewing Company White, Cigar City Florida Cracker, and Weyerbacher Wit. Chances are, as soon as I hit “submit” for this article, another four examples better than Blue Moon will pop into my head. My point? People who like Belgian witbier have settled for a mediocre example of the style.
I am fully aware that I have just kicked a hornet’s nest filled with angry, slightly inebriated Guinness lovers. And I say, “slightly inebriated” because Guinness, like most Irish dry stouts, has the ABV level of a beginner beer. It also tastes like stout-flavored water. Look, I’m not saying that people are wrong for liking Guinness. I’m saying that they’re wrong for claiming that Guinness is a good example of a stout — as in a general stout. Irish dry stouts are to stouts as Dollar Generals are to department stores. Guinness is for people who can’t handle a real stout, like North Coast Old Rasputin or Founders Breakfast Stout. Step into adulthood and start drinking real stouts, ladies and gents.