I hosted a malt liquor tasting on Saturday night. About a dozen people turned out to rank five of the cheapest forties that I could find within a mile of my house. The brands tasted included King Cobra, St. Ides, Olde English 800, Colt 45, and Hurricane. I would have included Mickey’s and Steel Reserve but I wouldn’t have had room in the fridge.
For the record, a clean shaved white boy gets some strange looks from the Keno and scratch-off crowd while loading ten forties onto the counter at the local Korean-owned liquor store. Whether it was racial profiling or sheer fascination, I’m not completely sure. Of the three gentlemen behind the counter, the youngest one asked me — much to the dismay and irritation of the oldest — whether I was having a Scissors party. I smiled, but shook my head and said no.
Before we got started, a five pound batch of megafries were served. I think it was one of the better batches I’ve made.
My original plan was to have a selection of Bach, Verdi, and other classical music playing throughout the tasting. As plans involving irony typical fare, it didn’t work out. The music server decided to go belly-up at the last moment, providing BSOD after some clicking drives. A complete backup is going to be imminent…
While the brands to be tasted were posted, the tasting itself was conducted blind lest familiar brands and associations tamper with the results. If Ice Cube can hawk St. Ides, what’s not to love? I used duct tape to cover all of the labels, marking each bottle with a number one through five. About six ounces of each concoction was poured into clear plastic cups labeled one through five, organized onto a paper mat (yes you guessed it, labeled one through five). Additional paper and pens and pencils were distributed for notes. No swill bucket was provided, though Coors Light was a stand-in for palate cleansing. That worked quite well for the task, considering.
It wasn’t long before people were eying the color of each cup (“they all look like piss”), smelling them (“oh man, this one smells awful”), tasting (“it’s sweet, but the aftertaste is nasty… like the bottom of a dumpster”). One suggestion made was to include a Coors Light or similar beer beer (read: non-malt) in the mix to see if it could be distinguished. In the end, most people finished their cups. No one correctly identified all five brands; the most commonly identified and most favored was Olde English 800. There were a handful of Hurricane appreciators, one or two for Colt 45 and Hurricane, but nobody liked King Cobra.
As a host, I thought it went really well. Names have been removed to protect those who were a bit off their rocker by the end of the night, but everyone seemed to have a great time. Though most of us had some experience with malt liquor in college, the idea itself was pretty silly. The group as a whole can afford better beer. Plus, malt liquor doesn’t taste good. You might have a preference or learn to like it, but that still doesn’t mean that it’s good. Though it seemed like a stupid theme for a party, people got really into it.
We are the epitome of classy.