10 Infamously Bad Beers From Otherwise Great Breweries
Even the best of us make mistakes.
Written by Brandon Wiggins
Photography by M Rosasco
It has been said that to err is to be human. Well, alas, to err is to be a craft brewery as well. We’re currently living in a golden age of delicious beer concoctions, thanks to the rise of craft breweries who are constantly experimenting with new twists on their favorite drink. Unfortunately, not all these experiments have worked out.
Despite multiple levels of scrutiny, some near-undrinkable beers have hit the shelves or taproom lines from time to time, even from otherwise capable brewers. Many times this isn’t all bad. After releasing Blue Lady Batch #31, Pipeworks owned up, recalled the beer, and made things right. While we fully support the craft brewers listed below, here are some cases of them getting it just plain wrong.
Sam Adams, Cranberry Lambic
A rare misfire from a leading American craft brewery, this fruit beer is no longer in production. This certainly won’t disappoint BeerAdvocate user TheLongBeachBum, who wrote, “I would rather have a large current passed through my testicles, my toenails individually plucked whilst at the same time being forced to listen to Vanilla Ice and made to watch re-runs of Survivor – *rather* than drink this ‘beer’ ever again.” And when a beer is mentioned in the same breath as Vanilla Ice, you know it’s bad.
The Veil, That Part
Even the most hyped breweries aren’t immune from producing bad beer (Trillium and Monkish came together to burn throats with Never & Again; Tired Hands attempted the same with Mago Tago.) This recent release was brewed exclusively with New Zealand Wai-iti hops. Well, no disrespect to the country that brought us Flight of the Conchords and Middle Earth, but the end result turned out to be a total misfire. As Untappd user dukeblueman86 succinctly put it, “Should be renamed ‘That Fart.’”
Rivertown Brewery, Pestilence
A sour brown ale named after the biblical term for disease, which is rather fitting since, if the reviews are any indication, this beer was downright sickening. Fortunately Rivertown Brewery decided to cure themselves of this beer and take it out of production.
Weyerbacher Brewing, Idiot’s Drool
This beer is a version of Weyerbacher’s Blithering Idiot Barleywine that was barrel-aged for 4.5 years — yet turned out to not be worth the wait. Remember kids, age does not equal maturity.
Dark Horse, Lambeak Wants Blood Orange
A few different reviewers on Untappd compared this lambic beer to nail polish remover. Now I can’t say I’ve ever drank nail polish remover, but I don’t believe that was a compliment.
3 Floyds, Bully Guppy
3 Floyds managed to take their well-regarded Gumballhead and ruin it by aging it in cognac barrels with peaches for a year, creating a brew that is more of a bully for the taste buds than anything else. It was bad enough to trigger an existential crisis in Untappd user stonestevej, who wrote in his review, “Why do I keep doing this to myself?”
Big Sky Brewing, Big Sky Kriek
Big Sky aimed high by attempting their take on a kriek beer, but this time the Montana brewery crashed and burned. The beer apparently hits drinkers with a Frankenstein’s monster blend of different vegetable tastes –cherries, cooked carrots, and kale being some of the more interesting ones mentioned in reviews. Oh, and it also hits drinkers with quite a bit of alcohol, at 10 percent ABV.
Rogue Ales, Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale
Ale? Delicious! Bacon? Also delicious! Yet this beer — one of a number of collaborations between brewery Rogue Ales and the bakery Voodoo Doughnuts — is perhaps best regarded as the ultimate proof that sometimes two ingredients, no matter how well they taste independently, just shouldn’t be mixed.
Ballast Point, Watermelon Dorado
This Ballast Point offering is a bold attempt to combine the sweet flavors of watermelon with the heavy hoppiness of a double IPA. But the watermelon flavor, according to a few different drinkers on BeerAdvocate, has the fake taste of a Jolly Rancher, and mixes awkwardly with beer. As the reviewer quindog wrote, “Tastes like someone dumped that pink antibiotic they give to kids into my beer.”
Trillium x Monkish, Never and Again
Trillium collaborated with Monkish Brewing Company to produce this mango aged double IPA. The result? Bitterness. Lots and lots of bitterness with this beer, and even a bit of an afterburn. Some say aging it a bit mellowed out the bite.