Smokers told me that Lucky Strikes were manufactured using all the ground tobacco that fell on the factory floor in the process of making better, more expensive cigarettes. I’m sensible enough to know this is baloney. (We all know it was Kool’s that were made that way and that’s why they added the menthol taste, man!)
Anyhow, I see these variety packs of beers and wonder if their contents are somehow made up of factory rejects and product that’s past its shelf life. I don’t know that I’ve ever purchased one of these variety “theme” packs myself, but my dear bride brings them home to me from time to time and I’ve recently determined that by and large, the contents are usually of good quality and within their reasonable shelf life, based mainly on my having checked a few of the beers that actually have dates on them. With this in mind, I suppose I’ll be more apt to buy these variety packs myself from now on.
The two most recent variety packs to cross the threshold here were the ubiquitous “Beers of the World” which I’ve had numerous times (why does a bottle of Red Stripe always end up in these?) and a variety pack of American Craft beers. Here’s the skinny on a couple from the Craft Beer variety pack.
Pyramid Hefeweizen Ale smells of wheat and grain in the bottle and surprisingly of vinegar or pickles when poured. Presents a dark opaque orange color. The consistency seems a bit thick – I swirled the bottle to agitate the last bit of sediment and found that the sediment was indeed thick. (The label touts it as “refreshingly unfiltered” but the thickness seems to work against some of the beer’s refreshing qualities. Nevertheless, this one had a spicy but light taste that I preferred to the Sam Adams Hefeweizen that I tried more recently, but having said that, I'm not sure I'll seek this one out again.
Here’s the link to the Pyramid Brewing website:
The posters at Beer Advocate weren’t blown away by this Hefe.:
Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale smells amazingly like pumpkin pie in the bottle and of spices in the glass. Insignificant head may be the result of some shelf life issues but that’s not reflected in the taste. This one is evidently also brewed by Pyramid Breweries, too. It actually has a mild pumpkin and spice taste that rates well for novelty if nothing else; this one claims to be “America’s Original” pumpkin ale, and while it didn’t knock me for a loop, I can see myself looking for this later in the year when the shadows get long and the evenings get cooler and there’s a touch of fall in the air.
Here’s Buffalo Bill’s website:
It’s a tough crowd at Beer Advocate and they don’t put too much stock in novelty or Halloween for that matter, I guess:
Here’s the Roughneck’s Take on Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale (he’s more eloquent than I).: http://lagerheads.blogspot.com/2006/06/buffalo-bills-pumpkin-ale.html