Friday, 4 May 2007

Beer O'Clock: M*A*S*H*: Drink this and you'll need a hospital.

This week’s 'Beer O’Clock' by RealBeer's Neil Miller is not a recommendation. It is a warning. It first appeared in Salient (Victoria University’s student magazine), creating a bit of a stir in beer circles with one writer saying “I think this beer review by Neil Miller has to be awarded an all time best for something, but I still haven't decided exactly what.” It may have been a compliment. We're not sure.

Normally, the sight of three colourful six-packs of beer inspires joy in my very soul. This time, I was filled with dread. The beers before me were the three new Mash lagers from New Zealand Breweries.

A weekend paper had called them “ad-wanker beers” just moments after their low-profile release. The reason for that low profile quickly became clear.

As I contemplated these bottles, all that was running through my mind were the prophetic words of philosopher-poet Han Solo: “I have a bad feeling about this.” I should have listened to Han.

I try to be positive about beer so I must note that the packaging is actually very clever. When tucked inside their packs, each of the beers appears to be a different colour. Once out, it becomes clear that the illusion of colour is produced by the cardboard pack itself.

All three beers however are pale and unappealing once poured, looking like nothing so much as something whipped up with cordial in a soda stream machine.

Mash Golden Lager (5%) is an insipid beer with a slightly unpleasant flavour. This lager is also the base for the other two concoctions. It is, broadly, a style of which the Germans might call “das sehr preiswert- este Bier“, which translates as “the very cheapest beer”. There is a hint of grassiness, which suggests that the Golden Lager has had some acquaintance with the noble hop. Perhaps it was once shown a picture?

While sampling the Golden Lager, I was watching Chuck Norris (in a bulldozer) fight David Carradine (in an armoured half track). This beer was so bad that I didn’t really enjoy the scene - but it wasn't the worst.

Next up was the lemon and lime flavored Mash Citrus Lager (5%). It has the nose of a budget dishwashing liquid, but doesn’t taste nearly as good. Those who defend the human rights of fruit will be pleased to know that it is unlikely that any real lemons or limes were harmed in the making of this beer – unless they were forced to drink it. This 'beer' can kill. Syrupy and sickly sweet, the Citrus Lager is awful ... but still not the worst.

That dubious honour goes to Mash Energy Lager (5%). This beverage (I am loathe to call it beer) contains caffeine, guarana, Food Acid 330 and flavourings. Yummo. It has the nose of a plastic mug filled with raspberry raro cordial. It is so thin it makes Bud Light taste like Guinness, and it finishes with the stomach-churning kick that only good old Food Acid 330 can provide. On a (somewhat) positive note, it certainly does give your gag reflex a good workout.

For the first time ever, my unofficial tasting panel complained bitterly about getting free beer.

These beers are probably best drunk cold. Very cold. No fridge known would get it cold enough - only the coldest place in the universe will do.

Many readers will be too young to remember the awful Fruit Hopper beers, which appeared briefly some years ago. Mash marks their unwelcome return to the market.

Hopefully, Mash beer will be like Geoffrey Palmer’s stint as Prime Minister – a brief, terrible period of history which is quickly forgotten.

LINKS: Real Beer
Society for Beer Advocates

ARCHIVES: Beer & Elsewhere


  1. "Energy" lager has to be the stupiest idea ever. Given the kJ of alcohol and othr goodies in beer there is suffiecient dietary energy without resorting to cramming in unrequired stimulants.
    Haven't these people heard of beer... and espresso... and curry??

  2. Those who defend the human rights of fruit will be pleased to know that it is unlikely that any real lemons or limes were harmed in the making of this beer – unless they were forced to drink it.

    I had a good chuckle on that one. Thanks PC.

    The stuff sounds terrible.

  3. My vote for worst beer - Mexican beer 'Sol'. And it's $29.95 a dozen. Even my son put a wedge of lime in it (normally considered teh gay by teens), in the hope it may make it taste of something.

  4. Last night I had the "Cave Creek Chilli Beer".
    It's a three peat:
    - worst beer,
    - worst name to market a beer by in NZ, and
    - the stupidest idea ever.

    Like Greg infers above, curry is good with a beer - not in it!!!

  5. I saw it and sneered at it!

    It seems a product for those particularly keen on regurgitation.

    Just the thing for those teenage girls who have the need to 'do that diet thing'

    Those who buy it will probably go on to put soft drinks in their whiskey!

  6. When are these breweries going to fire every female that is on the payroll? These appalling beers that pop up can only be the work of bloody interferring women and their absorbtion with 'different recipes.'

    There are some constants in life. Beer should taste like beer being one of them.

    Perhaps these fruity insipid suds should be named after Geoffrey Palmer instead of just being reminded of him.

  7. I've been in the unfortunate situation of actually drinking the energy version. It was the only booze to be had, and I'm not proud (the after-taste lingers for weeks afterwards - think cherry coke and sherry with a dash of what-the-fuck-were-they-thinking).

    However, it is easier to stomach than George's misogyny. Seriously, get your head out of your arse (or vice versa - it is hard to tell which end is doing the thinking with people like you).

  8. I don't know if you had the misfortune to pay for your grog but just be thankful my bad taste came free

  9. Originally almost all brewers were female. It was another function of the house, which was run by women.

    It was also a woman, George, who came up with the fantastic Mac's Hop Harvest Pilsner. It was that same woman who brought Mac's back from the dead, and then went on to run the brewing of the fantastic craft range coming out of Speight's.

    It was probably a man (marketing section, rather than brewing), who thinks he knows what a woman wants, that came up with MASH range. Poor fella... he's got the whole world in his hands when he stands at the urinal.

    Slainte mhath

  10. Mac's Hop Harvest Pilsner? OK. I repent. I withdraw my comment without reservation. Suitably and correctly rebuked...


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