Friday, November 14, 2008

Steel Reserve 211: High Gravity Malt Liquor

Weighing in at an impressive 8.1% ABV, Steel Reserve, or "211" as it is affectionately referred to by 40 enthusiasts (i.e. scary gangster alcoholic types or retired web entrepreneur types), is the preeminent choice for those looking to get piss-ass drunk without breaking the bank. For a meager $2, you receive approximately as much alcohol as would be found in a six-pack of "normal gravity" lager (usually between 4 and 5% ABV). As far as I'm concerned, drinking anything else is a waste of money... and stomach space.

In the taste department, Steel Reserve neither fails to meet nor does it exceed expectations. Its taste closely mirrors that of a Budweiser with a shot of hard liquor poured into it. A word of advice: the colder it is, the better, because the coldness overwhelms your taste buds and shields them from the full onslaught of which this brew is capable of delivering. When it comes to 211, the mantra is "drink it cold and drink it fast."

Now a true aficionado might scoff at the notion, but I would argue that a "Steeley" is greatly enhanced by the addition of a cup and a half (in layman's terms, from the neck of the bottle to the "top of the label") of orange juice, thereby creating what is commonly referred to by any number of white-boy rap groups as a "brass monkey". The synergy between orange juice and what is otherwise considered to be a harsh lager creates an unexpectedly delicious beverage. I am not a chemist, so I can't explain exactly what is going on at the molecular level, but it seems highly probable, nay, almost certain that the combination of these two liquids yields a third, completely different compound with shocking "drinkability" (sorry Bud Light, I used your made-up word). The emergent greatness is very similar to a mimosa, except instead of being served in a fancy champagne flute alongside Eggs Benedict, it comes in the unmistakable, cone-topped 40-ounce malt liquor bottle and is best accompanied by chips and salsa or some other such drinking food.

I won't lie to you--this isn't the classiest of beers. But even its detractors have a hard time arguing that, for your money, it's not one of the best ways to get drunk quickly. Two of these bad boys will almost certainly guarantee that even the burliest of drinkers forgets the remainder of the night. And, let's face it, after the first few beers, anything tastes good. So next time you're standing in front of the beer fridges and asking yourself "lager or ale?", "pilsner or hef?", "import or domestic?"... just take a few paces to your right and look down on the bottom shelf (or at my home 7-11, the floor of the fridge). For less than the price of a six pack of some fancy-pants microbrew, you could be enjoying not one but two 40-ounce bottles of "exceptionally smooth" (in the brewer's own words) Steel Reserve High Gravity Malt Liquor.

Oh, and unless you like the taste of ram's piss, don't forget a quart of OJ.


Mattie said...

While I wouldn't recommend spending money on orange juice when you can spend it on beer, there's nothing's wrong with occassionally having 'bottom of the barrel beers'. Steel Reserve actually has some malt flavors so it's one of the few malt liquors that tastes less like 'ram's piss' and more like beer. Well done.

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