30/04/07
by

The Worst Beers of the Year

Normally, the sight of three colourful six-packs of beer inspires joy in my very soul. This time, I was filled with dread. The beers before me were the three new Mash lagers from New Zealand Breweries.


A weekend paper had called them “ad-wanker beers” just moments after their low-profile release.

As I contemplated these bottles, all that was running through my mind were the prophetic words of philosopher-poet Han Solo: “I have a bad feeling about this.”

I should have listened to Han.

I try to be positive about beer so I must note that the packaging is actually very clever. When in their packs, each of the beers appears to be a different colour. Once out, it becomes clear that the illusion of colour is produced by the cardboard pack itself.

All three beers are actually pale and unappealing. They look like they were whipped up with cordial in a soda stream machine.

Mash Golden Lager (5%) is an insipid beer with a slightly unpleasant flavour. This lager is also the base for the other two concoctions. It is, broadly, a style of which the Germans might call “das sehr preiswert- este Bier“, which translates as “the very cheapest beer”. There is a hint of grassiness, which suggests that the Golden Lager has had some acquaintance with the noble hop. Perhaps it was once shown a picture? While sampling the Golden Lager, I was watching Chuck Norris (in a bulldozer) fight David Carradine (in an armoured half track). This beer was so bad that I didn’t really enjoy the scene.

Next up was the lemon and lime flavored Mash Citrus Lager (5%). It has the nose of a budget dishwashing liquid, but doesn’t taste nearly as good. Those who defend the human rights of fruit will be pleased to know that it is unlikely that any real lemons or limes were harmed in the making of this beer – unless they were forced to drink it. Syrupy and sickly sweet, the Citrus Lager is awful – but still not the worst.

That dubious honour goes to Mash Energy Lager (5%). This beverage (I am loathe to call it beer) contains caffeine, guarana, Food Acid 330 and flavourings. Yummo. It has the nose of a plastic mug filled with raspberry raro cordial. It is so thin it makes Bud Light taste like Guinness and finishes with the stomach-churning kick that only good old Food Acid 330 can provide. On a positive note, it certainly gives your gag reflex a good workout.

For the first time ever, my unofficial tasting panel complained bitterly about getting free beer.

These beers are probably best drunk cold, but no fridge I know gets it cold enough.

Many readers will be too young to remember the awful Fruit Hopper beers, which appeared briefly some years ago. Mash marks their unwelcome return to the market.

Hopefully, Mash beer will be like Geoffrey Palmer’s stint as Prime Minister – a brief, terrible period of history which is quickly forgotten.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Sarlacc says:

    On the plus side, the Citrus beer probably puts fewer phosphates into the evironment than dishwash does when you tip it down the sink.

  2. Barry says:

    Tell it how it is Neil.
    I’m actually glad you did this tasting, it means that if the occasion arose that I ever got drunk enough to contemplate it myself I can recall this review and not bother.
    Can Mash succeed where Hopper so miserably failed? Surely not. Will the person responsible for these despicable products be put out to pasture permanently? Lets bloody hope so.

  3. shaun says:

    Mash isnt that bad

  4. kate says:

    citrus lager – since drinking this beer my husband has experienced severe migraines – when I suggested it might have something to do with the beer he mentioned it to his workmate who said she and some friends drank these one night and basically couldn’t move the next day. The beer is FULL of odd preservatives and no good!!

  5. Lee says:

    I tried Mash Citrus. It was so awful. I phoned the breweries on their 0800 no. and told them so. Rather than following my initial impulse to put it out in the recycling bin with my empties I e-mailed my more alcoholically adventurous friends and offered the remaining 5 bottles free to anyone who wanted them but word had obviously got out about this stuff via the old hopvine. No takers. However, after it sitting forgotten in the rear of my booze cupboard since well before Christmas, I suddenly had a brain wave to, as an experiment, make a jelly of it. After adding 4 tspns of gelitine to 300mls and doing the jelly process thing, the end result was moderately successful. Looks good in a tall glass with a slice of lime or lemon on top. You serve it cold of course and attack it with a spoon. Not half bad. If you can obtain a free bottle of Mash citrus that a friend has, lying forgotten in the rear of their booze cupboard you should try it.

  6. leonard blake says:

    WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!
    a part of me died when the beer was stopped on the line
    if your an old man then the comments above could make scence,
    but because i dont see many 70 year olds on the internet bitchin about beer i doubt you all are. mash lager, far the best beer iv ever tasted for $12, greenstone and NZlager truely are far more relative to camels piss, mash energy , the best new years eve ever! that stuff i admit was not really beer, but damn it had me energised and no trace of any hang over. mash citris! just saves placing lime in the corona!!
    nothing lasts forever, in a good way we can say that about NZ lager, but mash by far, the best new beer of 2007

  7. Ken says:

    “WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!”
    – Leonard Blake on Mash beer.

    One can only assume that Leonard Blake has been partaking in a tipple of the ol’ methylated spirits. Two facts make me suspect this:

    a) he thinks Mash tastes good. Years of drinking that foul purple vitriol have scoured the taste buds clean from his tongue.
    b) he was seeing double at the time of typing. Shown by the fact that there appeared to be two keyboards infront of him. Induced by meths.