Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rolling Rock Extra Pale (2008 original review)

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (736) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 3, 2010
I’ve always considered Rolling Rock to be a very generic cheap beer that’s just one step above the absolute rock-bottom swills and on par with the “lite” versions of the mass-market lagers. I remembering drinking it a few times after I turned 21 and not liking it and over the last 10 years I haven’t given it a second thought.

But a few years ago the “Angry Video Game Nerd” became an internet sensation and one of his shticks is that he drinks a Rolling Rock (or two, or three) to dull the pain from playing terrible games. I’ve been a big fan of the AVGN for a while, but why I waited all this time to give his brew of choice a serious look I don’t know. Let’s just say that when it comes to Rolling Rock, there’s little reason to rush to drink it.


Rolling Rock pours to a crystal-clear, bright yellow body, which is bubbling with carbonation. Few lagers have such a luminous hue, and in a way the appearance was almost impressive (or at least interesting). It formed an average layer of bright white, fizzy head which quickly evaporated and left no lacing on the glass. The aroma was off-putting: just totally cliché of the cheap brewski smell of grain, adjuncts and alcohol. No hops, no malts, just plain old “beer.”


Although not technically a pilsner, Rolling Rock seems to have all the characteristics of one: a very bland, flat, watery taste. The biggest difference is this beer doesn’t have even that crisp taste found in most pilsners. It’s called an “extra pale” lager, which I guess is a nice way of saying it’s watered-down, because it certainly tastes as such with just a bit of oiliness to the palate.

I don’t know where the brewers come off describing the beer as using “premium ingredients” when they state very clearly on their own web site that it’s made with rice and corn adjuncts. All the hyperbole in the world cannot mask bad flavor.

Actually, it’s not so much bad as it plain and flavorless. If only it were crisp it’d be average.


As unappealing as the taste is, Rolling Rock is surprisingly smooth. It definitely has a little bit of a bite to the palate, but for such an otherwise low-grade beer its drinkability rating is highly disproportionate.


Why this beer isn’t considering a flat-out “lite” I don’t know. At only 4.5% ABV and 132 calories, Rolling Rock is easy to drink in large quantities. After all, its lack of taste and remotely smooth finish attest to this. The only problem is its high carbonation makes it a very gassy beer.


I’m actually surprised by the wide range of opinions on this beer. Some love it, others hate it. Although I took a close look at these reviews and noticed a trend: before Rolling Rock’s original brewers (the Latrobe Brewery of Latrobe, PA) sold the beer to Anheuser-Busch, the beer rated high. However, after the recipe was sold and the brewing operations moved to Newark, NJ, the reviews went way down.

Grade: 4/10

Read and watch my 2014 re-review here:

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