2004 Zima XXX Fruit Punch, The Definitive American Kriek

Well look at what we have here, an immaculately cellared malt beverage from the mid 2000’s, that formidable period from before you shaved your pubes. I actually actively sought this out because it is historically relevant for the oft-over looked malt liquor genre. In the late 1990’s Zima was marketed initially as an “unbeer” for that HUGE segment of young men who can’t handle the aggressive profile of adjunct lagers. They later tried marketing it to women sexist manner until finally it seemed that the old HMS Zima had taken on too much water.

This was their incredible solution. They made ZIMA XXX, the hard as fucking nails version with a SKY HIGH 5.9% abv for those edgy motherfuckers who read HP Lovecraft and carry switchblade combs. Initially this was Black Cherry flavor but they did a limited run of this, the hardest variant to find, HARD PUNCH. Ultimately the brand died out shortly thereafter and this is both a precursor to the malted beverages pushed upon the XX chromosomal order. Without these trailblazing alcoholic sodas, those 13 year old kids may have not discovered their alcoholism until undergrad. Dentists and AA counselors alike salute this beer for its contributions to the “pre-consumer” market. That’s what macros like to call baby palates who can’t buy alcohol yet, but still want to fingerbang.

Let’s get to it and figure out how hard this punch is. I hope it is throbbing hard.

God if ever there were a time to dust off a "robeyy tonezzz" reference, it is now.

God if ever there were a time to dust off a “robeyy tonezzz” reference, it is now.

Zima XXX
Malt Beverage, 5.9% abv

A: Say what you will about this ridiculous vessel of afterbirth, but god damn is it beautiful. The carbonation still held up after a decade and cascades magenta and bright pink foam crackling against the edges like pop rocks. It almost immediately subsides and, apparently gallons or red 5 and jolly ranchers inhibit lacing. You learn something new every day. Like the Lisa Frank binders owned by the people this is marketed to, this has a fuschia radiance that honestly looks like Cable Car Kriek in a big way. Imagine the refill trolling opportunities. JUST IMAGINE THEM.

Pop open a Zima and pray that you can beat Giygas.  Get 6th grade wasted.

Pop open a Zima and pray that you can beat Giygas. Get 6th grade wasted.

S: You know those candy stores in the mall where all the pedophiles hang out? The ones where you take a plastic sack and fill up on a $18 of candy you would never buy separately, like GUMMY GUITARS and sea salt mexican taffy? Well this smells like those. It hits your eyes before your nose and has a waft like a malfunctioning cotton candy machine, just sugar and artificial cherry like Bubblelicious smashed with Melody Pops. The whole thing feels like an imperial Red Shasta more than an alcoholic beverage and children will hoover this up off a plate like so many wanting MyFreeCamsGirls.

Finally ticked the rarest Zima,  now I can get some rest.

Finally ticked the rarest Zima, now I can get some rest.

T: Before you open this, go ahead and schedule a dental cleaning. While you are at it, go ahead and book a colonic as well. This is so intensely sticky sweet that it tastes like if you melted down fruit by the foot and served it as a parfait to unsuspecting guests with insulin as a sidecar. I can’t imagine any self respecting adult could seriously finish one of these. It’s kinda like getting your dick sucked by a clown: a sweet, shameful event that makes for an interesting story, but no one could bring it to full completion unless you are a truly sick individual. The swallow is like the inside of those wax bottles with juice in them and closes with a highly nuanced Skittles coating along the gumline. I can only imagine how many Latter Day Saints ditched seminary to get their mouths coated bright red in clear recalcitrance to Joseph Smith. Str8 rebelz.

M: This is stick sweet and closes with a plastic waft like when you chew gum for too long. There is no alcohol, there is no grain or grist, it is simply melted HiChews in a glass. If you like Now N Laters, like I mean, you fucking love sessioning an entire pack of them, you might be able to take an entire bottle of this down. The subsequent offerings like Mikes Hard Lemonade and Hard Ciders are infintitely better in execution and drinkability. If you gave this to an 8 year old and told them this was what beer was, you can expect a lifetime of tee tolling. Your kid would be at a Frat Party like “what? You guys drink that shit? No I had beer in 3rd grade, it tasted like edible condoms and cherry astroglide, no thanks.”

The grim reaper will prevent you from earning that Zima cash

The grim reaper will prevent you from earning that Zima cash

D: I need to reiterate this: I traded for this. I actively sought it out and I couldn’t finish the whole thing. You have a better chance of finishing a bag of Halloween candy that you found under the radiator in August than taking down 12 ounces of this. If the panache of regular old Robitussin isn’t doing it for you and you find that your liquid codeine needs a more refined companion, this may be your jam. Fill up a double cup of this decade old beverage and start telling people about how you are gonna open a tattoo parlor, once your parole officer gets off your fuckin back. It is a cherry disaster of Squeezit proportions and no amount of puppies could lure me into an Econoline van if I saw one of these bad boys lurkin.


Steel Brewing Company, Steel Reserve 211 – I got 211 problems and this beer is all but one

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”

The unofficial skeleton key to date parties, exchanges, invites, and brises.

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.

Reviewing 40's on this site now? Shit just got real.

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.

After 2-3 forties of this beer, you too will be alpha as fuck, for better or worse.

M: Fun fact: 211 is the California Penal Code for robbery. This beer is basically named after:
211. Robbery
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.

After playing Century Club with this beer, I was all like-

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.