Sunday, August 26, 2007

99 Bottles of Beer on the Blog - Mac's Beer

So far in this series, I've only reviewed beers that I've really enjoyed. I've hoped to turn readers on to a few of the many fantastic beers out there that they might not have tasted, and might not get around to tasting.

Tonight, though, I'm hoping to save you all from a bad experience. Mac's Beer, a new "American Style Beer" contract brewed by Flying Monkey for EME Squared Brewing, is one of the worst beers I've tasted in years. There are lots of bad beers in the world, but this one distinguishes itself with its awful taste.

American Style Lagers are not easy to make. Because they are so light, there is no room for error. If you ferment a porter a few degrees too warm, or if your brown ale has a touch too much hop flavor, the sheer amount of other flavor will cover up the sin. With a beer that is aiming at delivering nothing but lightness and refreshment, though, every flaw is exposed.

I'm not one of those beer snobs who detests American lagers. There are times when a Budweiser hits the spot, and I have fond memories of the hop bitterness and tang of Schlitz. A good, crisp, cold American Lager can be a wonderful beer, though it won't have the depths of flavor and nuances of a Belgian ale.

Mac's is a bad American lager. It lacks the clean crispness of the good ones. Instead, it is heavy with a bready malt sweetness, and lacks the balance of hop bitterness that could rescue it from insipidness.

The aroma from the beer is cooked corn, indicating the presence of DMS (Dimethyl Sulfide). It's a common flaw in light beers, but can be avoided with cautious brewing and an open boil. The cooked corn shows up in the flavor, as well, weighing it down and converting what should be a delicate, light flavor into a heavy, vegetal one.

Many brewers consider American lager to be crap beer, and much of it is. Oddly enough, though, this least-favorite style requires more care and talent to make successfully than any other. Flying Monkey Brewery has made some pretty decent ales, but Mac's Beer shows that it is not ready to run with the big monkeys.

(Update, 8/28: If anybody wants the remainder of the 12 pack, email me at

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Blogger ::Andrew:: said...

I went into Gomer's last week and was excited to see a new Flying Monkey beer... and then I noticed it was an American Lager, and it was being sold for cheap, so I decided to not even bother.

I probably just exposed my beer-snobiness, but I'm glad to hear that my hunch was justified. (I'm with you on the Sclitz, though.)

8/27/2007 9:51 AM  
Blogger Chimpo said...

I didn't think it was horrible. Pretty favorless. Although, I will drink just about anything.

8/27/2007 10:51 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

One of my besties is actually a brewer there - I might be confused but I'm pretty sure Mac's is actually a Mong (??) beer, some type of Asian (Filipino?) style that the owner makes. I heard they're having trouble w/ consistency.

9/12/2007 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I took a tour at the Flying Monkey brewery and had the beer there. It was really good. Also they don't brew any lagers there. Mac's beer is an ale. They use ale yeast and ale fermentation temps. The corn flavor is probably because a good portion of the recipe is corn. I believe that is why it is found in stores for so cheap. For someone to have a blog about beer, I would hope you to be a little more informed. You may not like the beer, but it sounds like you dislike it for all the wrong reasons.

9/12/2007 4:46 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Commenters -
Congrats to those of you who liked the beer - you now have a reasonably priced, locally brewed beer available that you like. Nothing wrong with that.

Erin - I'd love to learn more from your friend about what they were aiming for. As an American beer, it was bad, but it might be a fine example of Filipino beer. I haven't heard of Mong beer, but I'm always willing to learn.

Anonymous - I stand by my analysis. If they're selling cheap american beer and it sucks, I've got to call them on it. The DMS is DMS, not corn, which can actually add a nice graininess to some beers, if handled well. If they're trying to pass off a golden ale as an "American Style beer", they really need to work harder on the golden ale style.

Long and short of it, the beer is not good. If any of you like it enough to want 10 more, email me and it's yours.

9/12/2007 6:35 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I don't really know much more, and, unlike anonymous here I'm not going to act like I do either! The owner is Asian - it's his secret recipe. I talked to my friend last night & they said that some batches are really great & some are actually really bad. Not exactly a great selling point! I would appreciate you drinking other Flying Monkey brews to keep him in a job! :)

9/13/2007 4:27 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Erin - Now that's an assignment I can get excited about! I'll do it - but I have a whole lot of new beers to try that I brought back from Colorado, so it might be a little while.

9/13/2007 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey it's me again. not to drag this subject out, but..... Pretty sure the owner isn't Asian. The guy who gave the tour was the owner and he was a tall white guy with long hair and a goatee. I guess the corn miller uses in thier beer is what gives miller light that "nice graininess." Obviously everyone has their opinions about beer and you don't like Mac's. Although it sounds like to me you got a mishandled 12 pack. I was at a place called the Do Drop Inn the other night and in place of the bud handle, that had been there as long as I have been drinking there, to my surprise was a Mac's handle. I guess it is a bad beer.

9/16/2007 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, that bud handle was one of the oldest in town, had been standing since the bar started serving draft beer. If you know the Do Drop, thats a long time. I like it, its not jaw dropping, it is what it is. And its priced cheaper then mass produced lagers.

10/07/2007 10:35 PM  
Blogger benmighty said...

i just picked up a 12 pack for $9 at the royal on 63rd . . . i figured, yeah it was cheap, but i am always game for experimenting on a micro-brew . . . plus hey - a 12 pack for $9.

i just forced myself to finish a bottle of it and i'm wondering if they'll take it back. i'm not even sure i'll ask for a refund.

truly terrible.

10/19/2007 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Kansas City Beer Fan said...

Do you guys realize how retarded this topic is?

The general concept of Mac's Beer is to be a cheap yard ale. Hence the light taste, and cheap price. You gave a very ill-informed review of this.

Christ. Food/drink reviewers are worse than music and sports journalists combined.

You suck at life, and your children should be spat on.

12/20/2007 11:27 PM  
Blogger Dan said...


It's good to see someone care so much about beer, especially when it's a really, really bad beer like Mac's. I almost envy the joy you'll find as you move into trying beers that don't taste like donkey urine that has gone bad, and then been watered down.

Cheap beers don't have to taste awful. Schlitz is cheap, and pretty darned tasty. Heck, I'd even say that Natty Light is a step up from Mac's. There's no excuse to put a beer like Mac's onto the market, even if it is cheap. Poor people deserve better beer than Mac's.

12/22/2007 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am going to have to side with Kansas City Beer Fan. Mac's beer isn't that bad. The reviewer of this beer seems to have something against either the maker of the beer or something against someone who drinks this beer.
I say you might as well try it for yourself and come to your own conclusions.

2/02/2008 12:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous - You're wrong in your thought that I have something against the brewer - in fact, I love the idea of more local breweries, and I wrote a rather generous review of Sinister Rabbit, which is one of their other beers. And I've got nothing against people who drink it - I think they're fortunate to have found a cheap beer that they like (certainly I don't which their children to be spat upon - the bizarrely hateful wish of your friend Kansas City Beer Fan.

I've even tried it a couple times since writing this review, just to make certain I didn't get a bad bottle. Nope - it really sucks as badly as I thought it did. And I don't think I'm alone in my assessment - my friends have hated it, too, and nobody in the entire internet world took me up on my offer of the rest of the 12 pack.

2/02/2008 12:20 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I just ran across this blog. I thought I might shed a little light. My name is Robert Eilert, co-founder of Flying Monkey Beer. (Tall white dude, long hair and goatee). Mac's beer is a light-bodied, top-fermented beer (yes, Virginia its an Ale). As the brown-box 12packs states: "Never take yourself to seriously...." The grain bill is malted barley and pre-gelantinized corn. I suppose that 70% of the people that try it, like it. One challenge with a light-bodied, high protein beer is that warm storage causes fast deterioration. Lots's of retailers display the beer warm. We try to manage shelf life, but sometimes some beer falls through the cracks. Anyway I invite everyone to the brewery in Olathe on the first and third Saturdays at noon for beers and tours. We have fun and tell lots of stories, some true. Directions to brewery at; click contact us.

2/12/2008 8:34 AM  
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12/07/2008 6:38 PM  
Anonymous asd said...

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1/12/2009 7:41 AM  
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1/12/2009 5:49 PM  
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1/12/2009 5:49 PM  
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1/12/2009 5:50 PM  
Blogger B. said...

WHAT?! I'll take the rest of your Mac's. I love it and can't find nay in Texas.

One of my friends rented the brewery for a birthday party once and we got all you can drink beer. I loved Mac's from that point on. I think Robert has a good point about storing it outside of the coolers.

2/01/2009 3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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3/05/2009 10:43 PM  

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