I ate my wafer...


This is going to be a long post, feel forewarned.

Sam has a very good post comparing the predictions about Gulf War 2.0 to the results. I had considered writing about it, but there really isn't a point, Sam did a nice job, treated both sides fairly, I agree with him. Also Prizio has done a nice job linking to articles and whatnot about the various details, so I really don't need to do that either. So, at least for now, I bid the whole war thing farewell.

Yesterday I skipped the one class that hadn’t been canceled for Good Friday, and didn’t do a single productive thing. Instead, I slept in late, and then helped Tyler Watts pull the transmission on his beater 50’s pickup. Typically, once a transmission is unbolted, it will slid smoothly out of the bellhousing, but this one had been sitting some redneck’s yard for the last 20 years and was utterly rusted solid. To make a long story short, Tyler and his various buddies, had tried to pry the transmission out with pry bars, with no success. They really tried hard, on the order of 4 foot pry bars with really strong men, sledgehammers, hours of swearing, you name it. At this point, I came over, pried at it for a while, and eventually thought of screw-jacking the transmission off of the bellhousing. So, I bought ½” Allen headed screws that would fit the retaining bolt holes on the bellhousing, pried the transmission back the inch that it would move, threaded nuts on the bolts, and tightened the nuts to force the transmission backwards. Granted, it took an hour for Tyler and I to do all that, but in the end we tightened them down and broke the transmission free! In essence, I thought up a way to use a handful of cheap hardware to do what several big, strong men couldn’t do with brute force. It was really cool, and one of the most clever ideas that I have ever had.

After all of that, I just wasted time until about 2:30 AM when Metzger IM’d me, and convinced me to come over and drink with him. I’m glad that I went over there, we had a great time, drank heavily and stayed up until 7AM. Metzger and I have plenty of material for that kind of conversation! Perhaps the most significant thing that came out of the evening, at least for me, was a realization that I think much more about religious and philosophical matters now that I’m not buried in the daily grind of solving Physics problems. That is, for better or worse, my personal time in Physics hell stunted my intellectual growth in other fields. It was one of those nights that I am very certain that I won't look back on it 40 years as a missed opportunity to sleep normal hours! And to make life even better I woke up to the neighbors blasting "Here I go" by Whitesnake! Anyway, in honor of the Hillsdale tradition of wonderful drunken conversations I have decided to compose a brief guide to cheap alcohol. (I love epinions.com, so I will rip off some of their methods.)

The official “I ate my wafer guide” to cheap drinking.

Everything gets a rating out of five stars, but the ratings are only valid within the cheap alcohol genre, not compared to $40 single malt Scotch, or good micro brewed beer. Products are arranged by type, and manufacturer, and generally listed by price. This will be limited to the REALLY cheap stuff, no MGD, regular Bud., etc, here! Note that “butt” flavor tends to correlate to feel like crap if you drink too much. I can’t really do Malt Liquor justice, hopefully someone else can. Oh, and check this out for photomicrographs of beer.


Miller Products:

Milwaukee’s Best (Including the Light version):
This one gets zero stars, it tastes like butt cold, and its torture warm. Avoid it; you can do better for less money. When I worked at MS&G my redneck coworkers would buy a case of the Beast every Thursday night and drink at dinner, they threw me several cans at one point, which burst in my canvas tool bag, it still reeks of the stuff.

Miller High Life:

About 2 stars out of five, it’s cheap on sale at Kroger, and it is the cheapest miller product worth drinking. It tastes like corn badly, and has more weird flavors than the better miller products.

Miller Lite:
Three stars. It’s not too bad, and sometimes it is at the same price as High Life. It tastes OK, not much off flavor, but no real flavor at all. Somewhat watery. I like it better than the High Life, it seems to have slightly less weird flavor problems.

Ice House :
Four stars. Its cheap ($0.99 for the 22oz.). It has a strong flavor, but I personally don’t mind it, it doesn’t have the corn taste that the rest of the Miller line does. The best of the Miller bottom feeder brews.

Carling Black Label :
Four Stars. Yes, it seems like this is a Miller product, though it is hard to tell for sure. It definitely is NOT the same beer sold as Carling Black Label in England, as Carling sold its North American division many years ago. Anyway, it is a pretty decent beer, slightly watery, and some corn taste, but on the whole better than most of the cheap stuff.

Anheuser-Busch Products:

Natural Light:
Two Stars. It is basically Bud Light watered down. Tastes like rice, as do all Anheuser-Busch products, since they are made with rice based malt. One of the most watery brews around. On the plus side it is Carl Hammaker’s choice in cheap beer, and he does have much more experience drinking bottom feeder beer than I do.

One star. Tastes like butt, and more expensive than Natural Light (less watery though). In my opinion definitely not worth it. Buy the Natural Light before this stuff if you really need a watery rice beer. Busch exists for the high school party and redneck markets.

Coors Brewing:

Coors/Coors light
3 stars. It is on the expensive end of cheap, close to Budweiser prices. Coors is brewed with corn based malt like Miller, so it tastes somewhat similar. I prefer Coors light over regular, it tastes the same, it is cheaper, and it comes in a cool 6 pack box with the "silver bullet cans". .

Coors Extra Gold:
Four stars. I haven’t had it in a couple of years, but it was a great deal in the 30 pack from Rite-Aid. It was slightly watery, and had some corn taste, but not bad. It was a great party beer in Hillsdale once, but distribution doesn't exist now. Buy it if you can find it.

Keystone Light:

One star. Utterly the most watery beer around, they should call it a sports drink and compete with Gatorade. No real flavor problems, since it tastes like a shot of regular Coors mixed in a glass of water! It is the cheapest beer in my hometown, at $2.50 for a six pack of 16oz. cans. I only bought it once, after drinking, and then had to choke down the rest of it the next week...even tried freezing and straining out the ice to make it less watery (tastes like flat, warm Regular Coors if you do that)

Pabst Brewing:

Old Milwaukee (and Light)
One Star. Stay away from it! It has some serious flavor problems...on the order of old socks and compost. Honestly though, it is better than Josef Hoffebauer though.

Five Stars. It is one of the best of the cheap beers. It is priced at the same level as Natural Light and “the Beast”, but tastes almost as decent as the regular domestics like MGD and Bud. It is slightly watery, and it does have a corn taste, but it’s not that bad. I like the red, white and blue cans, and the “Established in 1844” label makes it fun to drink at Hillsdale.

Four stars. It has some objectionable flavors, but little corn taste. It also is about the cheapest bottled beer I've seen. I think it runs about $3.80/six pack.

Three stars. Goebel has a very odd history, it was a product of Stroh's Brewing until about 1996, at which point stroh's folded and slod some brand names to Miller, and some to Pabst. The amusing thing is, most internet sources say that neither company bought the "Goebel" brand...and neither Miller or Pabst claims it on their website, but it certainly exists. I just bought a six-pack of it in Pioneer, OH for $2.50! It isn't too bad for the money...tastes like watery PBR...hence I'm assuming that it really is a Pabst product.

G. Heileman Brewing:

Old Style:
Five Stars. Really decent beer for the money. It has less flavor problems than the other cheap ones. Keg price is less than Natural Light, cans/bottles are more. It is definitely one of the better cheap beers, but hard to find.

Josef Hoffbauer Brewing Company

Josef Hoffbauer Light

Zero Stars. The worst beer I have EVER bought. It sells for less than $5 for the 12 pack at Kroger, but don't try it; even Sam (with his malt liquor adapted palate) had trouble drinking it! Smells like mildew. I did get my $5 out of it by giving it away and watching people react to it.

Ok, I’m tired of sitting in front of the computer, so the hard liquor section will have to wait. As a quick preview: buy 100 proof Mohawk vodka, Canadian Whiskey or Kessler’s. Avoid cheap scotch and cheap bourbon. Never buy any 80 proof vodka that costs less than $10 a fifth. Oh and buy wine in a box, it is both better and cheaper than the cheap bottled wines.