Looking more like a wine bottle than anything I’d ever had beer from, I was intrigued when my girlfriend’s father offered Vapeur de Bises. It was clearly different, which very often means good, but at least means interesting.
After pouring, smelling, and tasting this beer, I can’t even describe it as “interesting,” it was just awful.
Without any smell or taste, one would be tempted to think that Vapeur de Bises is something resembling a brown ale. Soon, though, the scent of cider is overwhelming. That’s when it became clear that this may be headed in the wrong direction.
Cider is indeed what came across in the first sip, but I would have much preferred a Woodchuck to the rotten apple dynamic here. Moving from that initial shock, Vapeur de Bises then starts to give off a flavor that I think is best described as “dusty basement.” Even as those strong tastes settle while you get used to them, the general sense of sourness couples with the lack of carbonation to form a thoroughly unenjoyable beer.
Almost definitely one of the worst beers I’ve ever tasted.
Heading to Nashville for a couple days, I had high expectations for music and the general bar scene, but didn’t quite know what to expect in terms of beer. Figuring I should try something local, I stumbled upon the Yazoo Sly Rye and Yazoo Pale Ale soon after getting into town. Each was solid, though certainly nothing special.
The Sly Rye was first, coming along with a delicious barbecue lunch. As promised, it was a rye stout from Nashville, pouring expectedly dark with little head. The first sip offered the initial taste of a stout, but the body left a lot to be desired, becoming fairly watery quickly. Overall the flavor was good, but not strong. In general this would probably be a fine beer, though it certainly is not quite what I’d look for in an interesting stout.
Yazoo’s Pale Ale delivered similar but slightly more impressive results. Much like the Sly Rye, it poured and smelled as expected, a typical lighter brown with a distinct but not overwhelming hoppy aroma. The first taste was very good, lots of flavor and a clean, crisp finish with just enough bitterness. As I kept drinking, however, the Pale Ale seemed a bit more ordinary. Though good, it reminded me a lot of a Sierra Nevada with a little less going on. Not bad in the slightest, but not the type of interesting beer that you hope to stumble into when trying a local brew.
Both beers are certainly worth drinking, especially if you’re looking for some local flavor, but neither is going to be terribly memorable. If you’re in Nashville, give the Pale Ale a try, but you won’t be surprised to find most of the locals drinking PBR.
(8) Abita Amber
(1) Bells Two Hearted
Straight out of a classic overtime 8/9 matchup with Whale’s Tale, Abita Amber doesn’t get any favors from the selection committee, drawing Bell’s Two Hearted in the second round. Bell’s faced little competition from Miller Lite, winning with a rarely seen March Madness shutout. You have to feel good about Bell’s in this contest as well, but was their first test a little too easy? Can Abita ride the momentum of a last-second win?
(9) Red Stripe
This game has the feel of a duel between two teams that have seen better days. Just like this year’s Michigan State/UCLA first round matchup, these programs have known glory, but seem to be on the downward trend. Clinging to the glory of it’s 1893 title, PBR is an early favorite to edge out its short, stubby Jamaican counterpart.
(1) Yards IPA
(16) Natural Light
Weighing in at a respectable 7% ABV, Yards is a clear favorite to advance easily from the first round. Despite playing in the Southwest, far from it’s Pennsylvania home, Yards simply offers too much for the watery not-quite-beer taste of Natty Light. If this were a frat party the results might be different, but fortunately for the viewing population, Natural Light is unlikely to hang around very long.
(1) Heavy Seas Siren Noire
A classic David vs. Goliath matchup. Heavy Seas brings with it a strong reputation of high-caliber players, known to rarely disappoint in big moments. Schlitz, however, has the popular appeal to offer some resistance to the heavy favorite. On name alone, many casual viewers will be tempted by the allure of Schlitz, but most will find that pick barely defensible once the Siren Noire makes itself known.