MGD 64 – Lemonade

Rest assured, I didn’t actually purchase this beer, but instead received it as a promotional package with a press release. I first heard about this beer through some internet chatter where people were asking if it was a malt beverage, a shandy or what it was. Beer + lemonade isn’t actually a new idea, but I think what scared me (and the other people I was talking to) was that it was being marketed as most light beers are – in every other way than about its taste or ingredients.

Let me give you an example. The in press release, two paragraphs are taken up by calling out the caloric content of other competing similar brews – including Bud Light Lime (116 calories), Mike’s Hard Lemonade (109 calories) and so on. But they are quick to remind you that,

“MGD 64 Lemonade, with only 64 calories and 2.4 grams of carbohydrates per 12 oz offers significantly fewer calories than other flavored alcohol beverages.”

Not one who cares at all about the calories that I drink (trust me, ignorance is bliss and it all balances out in moderation) I couldn’t have cared less about which lemony-flavored-alcohol-beverage (that I don’t drink anyway) has the least calories. But, I have said in the past that I will try anything before passing final judgement, I decided to chill it and open it up anyway. At 2.8% ABV, I wasn’t going to spoil my evening.

Now, I should tell you that this already violates sin #1 in beer: It’s in a clear bottle – and thus very susceptible to skunking from light exposure – a real no-no for a summer beer that might sit on your deck in a cooler for hours. And what’s also disturbing, is that the beer inside isn’t the yellow fizzy color that I was expecting, but instead, is cloudy and pale, like bad urine. So, compared to all of the other lovely colors of beer I’ve seen before, I wasn’t exactly enticed.

I poured it and it did the yellow-fizzy-head thing and then settled down. The aroma wasn’t particiuarly beer-y, but was actually a light and subtle lemon, which for a moment gave me hope. Until I sipped it.

Now, there is something seriously amiss with this beer that took me a while to figure out. Sure it starts with a fresh lemon taste that’s arguably pleasant if not just ho-hum, but then it slides into a malt-only finish and then there is a strange aftertaste that’s neither lemon nor beer nor anything in-between. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but at first could only describe it as confused. I like malt beverages like Mike’s Hard Lemonade sometimes because there’s no argument about what it is – it’s lemon-y flavored alcohol. This was trying to make up its mind between a mild lemon taste and weak, watery malt flavor, but then something else.

I reluctantly took a few more sips before I went back to the bottle to see if I could figure out what the aftertaste was all about. Then, I saw it.

“Light beer with natural lemon flavor and sucralose

Sucralose. As in, what they make Splenda out of. They put fake sugar in to make the lemonade taste and still keep the 64 calories. The gross aftertaste? All sucralose coating my outraged tongue.

So, with that, I was done and I stopped drinking it. I’m still insulted that the attitude is that beers like this would be particularly attractive to women because in marketer’s eyes we’re all obsessed with our figures and like things that are tasteless and fruity. Its about taste, quality and ingredients – not about what can be chemically manipulated to make us feel better about having a beer that we don’t even enjoy drinking.

The official Beer Babe recommendation? AVOID. (Shocking, right?). And, now that that’s over, I promise to get back to reviewing brews I can recommend to you with a straight face, instead of a sour puss.

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