To Each His Own
By biconews On 29 Feb, 2000 At 05:00 AM | Categorized As Archives | With 0 Comments

By Sean Armour

Welcome back, beer compatriots. This week, in celebration of my fortieth beer review in the Bi-Co, we will be exploring another fine Belgian White Ale. Just kidding - instead I have decided to compare and contrast the wonderful world of malt liquor.

To begin, it is obvious that malt liquor targets the young black community. Law suits were taken out recently by rapper Chuck D against McKenzie River Corp., the producer of St. Ides, for displaying advertising containing prominent rap figures such as Snoop Dogg, Easy E, Ice Cube and others.

The suit mentioned that using such high profile music stars targeted young black men, encouraging them to drink the “deadly” forty ounce liquors, also known as liquid crack. We also cannot forget Billy Dee Williams’ gigantic campaign for Colt 45. To say the least, the forty has become a staple of Americana and perhaps because of its drinkability, high alcohol percentage and cheap cost, it has really caught on with many beer drinkers.

To begin the comparison we will be looking at four different brands of our favorite beverage: St. Ides, Colt 45, Olde English “800” and Hurricane. The first, St. Ides, combines a very good drinkability with a high alcohol content. At 7.3 percent alcohol by volume, one forty of St. Ides will really pack a punch, and it doesn’t taste like stale cardboard.

A little watery, with a bit of an alcohol aftertaste, St. Ides is a decent beverage but lacks the flavor necessary to rank with a decent beer. However, it tastes better than some of the lower end brands of beer like Anheuser-Busch’s Natural Products or Milwaukee’s Best.

With Anheuser-Busch in mind we will move on to Hurricane, the King of Beers’ attempt to once again use their power to corner a market. Fortunately for the rest of us they aren’t doing a very good job of this. Hurricane Malt Liquor is weak on the initial taste, but as it mellows, there develops a slightly sour and almost turned milk flavor.

Anheuser-Busch is also under investigation for attempting to advertise to underage drinkers. They have also been marketing to Latinos in what seems to be an attempt to encourage the same feeling towards forties among Latinos that the young black community has, thereby creating an

immense new base of customers for Anheuser-Busch products.

Colt 45 is a staple of the 1980’s, with Billy Dee Williams as their spokesman, and has a strong following of patrons. Colt 45 is a tasty addition to the family of malt liquors, with slightly above average malt flavor and a hit of sweetness in the aftertaste. The one downside of Colt 45 is that it has an alcohol content of only about 5.6 percent by volume, while its price is about the same as all the other forties that are out there.

Frankly, if you aren’t getting a good amount of alcohol for the price, the flavor isn’t enough to make you want to drink the forty. The fourth and final addition to the comparison is Olde English “800”. Typically called “Ol’ E” or sometimes “8-ball,” Olde English “800” is supposedly charcoal filtered, which definitely adds a awkward aftertaste that is not at all familiar.

Once you get used to this additional flavor, 0l’ E does a good job of not tasting like Hurricane, and actually provides one of the most flavorful malt liquor experiences I have had.

At an alcohol content of 7.5 percent, Ol’ E is a very good deal for the price and is one of the most popular forties around.

Overall, I would say that forties are a good idea only if you want to get drunk cheap. They taste terrible and are definitely dangerous to those who are inexperienced with alcohol, as just one can really have an effect on you.

If you want a forty with some flavor and a high alcohol content, grab an Olde English “800”. If you want a forty that has a high alcohol content and doesn’t have much flavor, which will make it easier to drink, grab a St. Ides. Be careful, have fun, and check out next week’s Bi-Co for another beer, which I am sure you’ll enjoy. Cheers.

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