It was only a matter of time before malt liquor started getting the praise that is deserved within the halls of Asgaard. This was my old standby in college and I have revisited the past to see if my palate has held up as well as this lovely libation.
“Looks what the bloods did to Weezy,
Look what the crips did to Jeezy,
Now look at this review,
straight reviewing Steel Reezy”
Steel Brewing Company, Steel Reserve 211, 8.1.% abv American Malt Liquor
A: I will get this right out of the way and say it: this is the best part of this beer. See that above? It doesn’t get much better going into this Sarlacc pit of ale woes. One time I got really hammered and ate 5 items at Taco Bell, that’s enough sodium for a town the size of say, Lebanon, New Hampshire. My bill was $14.85 without a drink. So I woke up and drank liter after liter of water and, nothing but dehydration. Eventually, my kidneys took a hard reboot, flashed that ram, and the expiration looked like what you see above. It is alpha and omega for what you can expect. The carbonation looks like a soft winter morning in Detroit in that classy clear bottle that lets all the halogen light in to chill with the complex malt profile.
S: I just realized something, that in undergrad I never used a glass, much less for something like this. I now know why. If you’ve ever dropped anything on the floor of a movie theater, you’ll know exactly what this smells like, butter, corn, sticky old candy, and reluctant hand jobs. It reminds me of the water after you make asparagus, except this is not rich with nutrients. This is rich with high divorce rates and stories about dad being a famous explorer.
T: The intial taste is overidingly sweet like those Circus Peanut candies and then subsides into a canned lima beans flavor that may evoke images of street cleaning day or fetching a switch for leaving the toilet seat up. You know, I guess that depends on how you were raised. Then things get dark and the swallow of this beer tastes like if you lick your fingers after counting change. Sometimes in movies a guy falls in love with a robot android, this is the closest you will to going down on a robot. The tin lingers and reminds me of a wheelbarrow left outside after a rainstorm and then, well shit, you have a wheelbarrow full of rain, no sense in letting it go to waste when there’s 211 to be made.
M: Fun fact: 211 is the California Penal Code for robbery. This beer is basically named after:
Robbery is the felonious taking of personal property in the
possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and
against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.
How fitting since someone who mashes out on this beer will likely be on one of the sides of that loving exchange. The sweet faux-belgian esters (read: attic insulation) linger on and on, like a story about how your friend got “SOOO WASTED AND KAITLYNN WAS LOOKING AT HER THE WHOLE TIME AND-” you just can’t wait for it to be over. This beer was the reason that I thought that 8.1% was such an impressive alcohol content because I figured tastes got worse incrimentally at that point, bud light > Natural Ice > Olde English > 211. It was a strict hierarchy of self debasement, as true today as when it was written.
D: The bottle says “Extra Malted Barley and select hops for extra gravity.” I am no science whiz, but, do hops really affect the gravity of a beer to a huge degree? Furthermore, this beer could use a shitload more high alpha acid hops to cover up the circus sex that is going on in my mouth. Sadly, if you are so gone that taste isn’t an issue, this becomes incredibly drinkable. However, your money also becomes extra spendable, and your gentials dont adapt a carapace to shield you from awesome 3 a.m. decision. That is what the label should say.
Narrative: Walter Park wasn’t having the best first semester at U.C. Irvine. He came in a ruddy cheeked spritely Korean lad with a passion for beowolf clusters and compiling new distros of Linux. College guy shit. His first semester did not go as planned, and he received a staggeringly dishonorable B+ in cognitive logistic system mapping. The cloud of shame was not insubstantial at the Park home and he hardly felt the urge to practice his old violin that ironically was a punishment device when he was younger. One night in between serious clan raiding on World of Warcraft, Walter stumbled bleary eyed to the dorm fridge and noticed a radiant vial of something he had never seen before. He had for so long steeled his own reserve to comply with the expectations of others, and after a healthy 80oz serving, he began freestyle coding, “fr0ding,” as he later would call it. The next morning Walter awoke with symptoms of end stage renal failure and looked to his amazement to find that he had configured and remapped the entire optimization kernel for Amazon. His inbox was bustling with job offers and takedown notices. It was the clearest example of wasted talent that the world had ever seen.