If the beer has the word "ice" in the name, you're allowed to drink it out of a frosted mug. That's a rule.
Say what you want about Bud, Miller and Coors and their respective "light" versions, but they're practically champagne-like in quality when compared to some of the truly awful "economy" beers and malt liquors out there. And it just so happens that here in Upstate New York, our beloved Stewart's Shops chain of convenience stores not only has their own house brand of beer known as Mountain Brew Ice and Mountain Brew Light, but they are two of the worst beers I've ever had in my life. I can't believe they exist.
Also, if the beer has the words "Mountain Brew" in the name, you're allowed (obligated, really) to drink it out of a frosted mug.
Stewart's launched their original "Mountain Brew Beer Ice" back in 2010. In fact, my friend Henry and I reviewed it at the time:
|The old "Mountain Brew Beer Ice" label when it was made by Genesee.|
- Mountain Brew Beer Ice was originally brewed by Genesee Brewing Company out of Rochester, New York. In fact, the beer was literally "Genny Ice" inside the can. It was 5.5% ABV. There was no original recipe concocted for this brand.
- In 2013 the contract went to "Associated Brewing Company" which is apparently some kind of holding company for the infamous City Brewing Company out of Lacrosse, Wisconsin. If you read my last blog, you know this is the brewery responsible for Not Your Father's Root Beer, Mike's Hard Lemonade and Four Loko.
- Once the contract went to City Brewing, the name was changed to simply "Mountain Brew Ice" and the label was redesigned from blank silver with writing on it to a slightly more colorful blue label (though the stick figure icons along the bottom were carried over). The alcohol by volume increased to 5.9%.
- In July of 2013, "Mountain Brew Light" debuted. It has more or less the same label as the "Ice" brand, but with a lighter blue color. It is only 3.9% ABV. Whether is it simply the "Ice" brew watered-down or an entirely different recipe, I'm not sure (I'd guess it's different).
- These beers are only available for purchase at Stewart's Shops and only in canned form (yeah, I can't believe they're not on draught, either).
- The Ice is available in 16oz cans. A single is $0.99. A six-pack is $3.99. A case is $14.99.
- The Light is available in 12oz cans. A single is $0.75. A six-pack is $2.99 (or two for $5). A case is $11.49
- One of the reasons these beers are so cheap is due to the fact Stewart's Shops has their own beer warehouse license. So they are in essence their own distributor. Seeing as how they're also the only retailer selling these products, it's not surprising they're self-distributed.
Mountain Brew from Stewart's Shops Corp on Vimeo.
Stewart's Mountain Brew Beer from Stewart's Shops Corp on Vimeo.
My impression after watching these videos is that Stewart's is saying "All beer tastes the same, so you might as well buy ours because it's cheaper!" Now, I'm sure there are plenty of people who probably can't taste the difference between Mountain Brew and any of the major macro adjunct lagers. But since this is a beer blog, you're probably something of a beer enthusiast and have developed a relatively refined palate by now, so I'll bet you would be able to taste the difference. In fact, I would love to arrange a blind taste test among people who aren't craft beer drinkers to see if they can differentiate between Bud, Miller, Coors and Stewart's beers. I would bet most, if not all of the participants would be able to taste the difference and find the Mountain Brews' flavor pretty sub-par. So who exactly are these beers intended for? Average middle class people like "Mary" in the above videos? I think it might be someone else.
There's even a parody Twitter account @VeryCoolBrew which has been around since May of 2012! (probably NSFW).
Here's a few choice tweets:
Here's my buddy Jay's review from back in 2011:
And here's my review of both the Ice and the Light from last weekend: