13 April 2006

How To Spot A Bad Beer

Make the bartender listen to your pathetic whining and get you a decent brew.

There are few things sadder than a beer gone bad. When you’re served one at a tavern, you are right to expect a replacement. But as with getting a raise or a humdinger, it’s all in the way you ask. "If you don’t properly explain what’s wrong, the bartender will tell you it tastes the way it’s supposed to taste," says SFC Norbnecht, PLT SGT and a beer lover. Here’s how to get yourself a new beer without being left to cry in your old one.

Beer smells like road kill
Reason: Skunking
What to tell the bartender: Your beer has been lightstruck. Given enough time, anything from bright sunshine to fluorescent lights can alter the hops in a beer, creating an unholy stench. Brown bottles offer some protection from this problem; green or clear ones provide little to none. (Beer in kegs won’t skunk.)

Beer is cloudier than George W. Bush’s memory
Reason: Various brewing mishaps
What to tell the bartender: Though lightly filtered beer may have yeast floating around, this won’t necessarily ruin the taste. But excess finings brewing ingredients ranging from gelatin to fish bladders, may not have been completely removed. Unless you specifically ordered a bottle of Old Carp Innards, you don’t want to be drinking them.

Beer tastes like postcoital sweat from Ron Jeremy’s buttocks
Reason: Spoilage or simply a bad batch
What to tell the bartender: A wet cardboard taste means your beer has oxidized your brew’s been sitting around the bar longer than Norm from Cheers. A butterscotch flavor means it’s got too much of the brewing byproduct diacetyl. A hint of Band Aids means the beer is overly phenolic, another problem caused by improper brewing. A subtle urine flavor? That’s probably just urine.


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