As a University of Maryland Undergraduate, I attended my share of wild “keggers” and crazy dorm parties. Those late night beer-fests and jungle juice jams are what exposed me to the wonderful world of alcohol. While I do not advocate underage drinking, as a realist I know that it does occur and will continue to occur until colleges become extinct. So people please do not think I am writing this post to encourage or entice anyone under the legal drinking age to drink. I am writing this post to expose my twenty-one and older folks – who absolutely despise the taste of beer – to a few liquid sensations that will not only pull you into the dark side, but keep you there. All of the brews I will mention are not your typical beers. Some of them don’t contain any wheat, barley, or rye and are in fact made with fruit. Oh yes my good friends, I am going to open your minds to a whole new level of liquid temptation.
1. ANGRY ORCHARD – “CRISP APPLE” CIDER
This is my favorite beer thus far. Because it is made with apples and only apples, it is naturally gluten-free and its 5% alcohol content is sure to get you a nice quick buzz after just one bottle. Although Angry Orchard comes in three flavors I have only tasted their Crisp Apple and their Apple Ginger (which is a close second on the “delicious” meter). Angry Orchard’s Crisp Apple has that good ol’ apple cider taste with that crisp, mouth puckering finish that is sure to enhance any meal. But, for a sugar overload I suggest pairing it with something sweet like apple pie or carrot cake.
Yes, yes, yes, I know what you’re probably thinking: “Another hard cider?” And if you ARE asking that question the answer is YES. I’m sorry, but I find deliciously sweet apple nectar that can give me a buzz very alluring. Although Woodchuck’s brand of cider is not as tasty as Angry Orchard, I still find it pretty irresistible. A couple of these during happy hour and your taste-buds will be doing the tango while you experience that grand old bubbly, yet airy feeling in your head. (Probably from that 5% alcohol content in every bottle.) Woodchuck has quite a few different flavors of their “Hard Cider”. I have only tasted the Amber and the Granny Smith, which I must say has more of that beer taste to it than I like. So I would advise those of you who don’t like the taste of beer to steer clear of that one. However, I will be trying their Pear, Raspberry and their version of the “Crisp” cider. Who knows? It may even be better than Angry Orchards’.
This is the definition of hybrid brews. Leinenkugel’s “Berry Weiss” is a nice blend of “pale and wheat” malts with “Logan, Elder, and Blackberries.” (Source: http://leinie.com/berry_weiss.htm) And trust me, blackberries never tasted sweeter in this ode to fresh and sweet flavors. With 4.8% alcohol by volume, it may take an extra brew to get you where you want to be. But oh is it worth it and what a sweet victory you will acheive. So for all of you fruit drink lovers, try this one on for size. No bitter beer or “hoppy” taste here.
I discovered this sensation during happy hour at cornerstone, my favorite bar across the street from the University of Maryland campus. Blue Moon’s “Belgian White” is unlike any other brew. Like Hoegaarden and Shock Top, it too is spiced with coriander and orange peel. But, unlike those two, its taste is superb and more refined. Shock Top wishes it was Blue Moon. Hoegaarden just wishes it could share the same bar conversation. When garnished with an orange slice and poured into an ice-cold mug, its cloudy goodness can be seen in all of its splendor. I like to eat the orange and drop the peel in the mug to allow its natural orange flavor to really shine. Pair it with grilled chicken, shrimp kabobs or fish tacos and you’ve got yourself a great experience.
For those who don’t like the original Bud Light, the additional lime flavoring will surely change your outlook on the Budweiser brand. Adding lime was the greatest thing they could have done to improve the taste of Bud Light. That 100% lime flavor gives it a summer kind of feel; A strong upgrade from a Corona with lime. Bud Light Lime is what Miller’s “Chill” looks up to and hopes it can someday achieve the magnitude of crisp, refreshing flavor that its Bud Light counterpart achieves. Pair this with tequila-lime chicken, nachos, or a pepper-jack cheeseburger and you will fool your brain into thinking the bar is a Cancún fiesta. Do it!
I encountered this jewel while perusing my favorite local beer and wine store. I was in search of a new brew and wanted something that wouldn’t taste too hoppy and would be memorable and I definitely picked a good one when I grabbed a six-pack of Sam Adams “Cherry Wheat”. This is a great addition to the Sam Adam’s brand. It is not too sweet, yet not too hoppy. A great neutral beer with a nice cherry finish that refreshes, never overwhelming the palate. Pair this with a turkey, ham or roasted chicken dish to take the meal to new heights.
Although Shock Top does not taste exactly like Blue Moon it is a close second. While it is also a Belgian style wheat ale, Shock Top’s “Belgian White” has lemon peel, lime peel and coriander spice added in the mix for flavoring . And those distinguishing citrus accents are what make it unique and tasty. Pair this with a fried catfish seafood club and some beer battered fries. Ahhh, good times!
Now I know some of you avid beer drinkers may be thinking, “What about the I.P.A.’s, the pilsners and the dark lager’s?” Or you may be thinking, “he didn’t include Heineken, Amstel, Stella” or something like that and if you read the intro paragraph to this post you would know why I didn’t mention any of those beers. This is the guide for the non-beer enthusiast who doesn’t like the taste of beer. And while I am certain I will be able to make a more extensive list in the future, at this point these are my seven favorites.