Whilst looking through some beers at the local gas station I thought to myself, I should really try some classic cheap beers. I would like to review a few beers that some beer snob might turn their noses up on. My first instinct was Steel Reserve to Natty Light. When I went to the section of the cooler with cheep light beers and I noticed that Steel Reserve seemed to have revamped it’s look. They had a number of new flavored drinks and even a new can for it’s flagship, high gravity, lager.
Steel Reserve is probably best known for allowing someone down on their luck to get a cheap beer with a high alcohol content. Only Steel Reserve can get a man drunk for $1.50. The price point for the 4-pack that I purchased was about a dollar and a quarter per pint. While it is true that Steel Reserve is not a beloved beer amongst the craft brew crowd, I am going to try my best to give an honest review.
Without too much introduction, I have to say that this 8.1% version is MUCH better than the 6% version. That aside, this beer was served cold in a glass for the first part of the review and then I let is warm up a bit closer to room temperature. You can probably guess which temperature was best to consume this beer. Like most light beers it was much better cold.
The initial smell is malty and is quite pronounced during the pour. It also has a slight hint of abbey ale yeast in the nose and in the taste. I am not sure what kind of yeast that is used for this lager, however, it has a sure banana note in the flavor that is classic of such yeast strains. The cold flavor provides an ever so slight hint of citrus (think lemon) but it is not very pronounced.
After tasting this pint of beer from different angles and from a completely neutral point of view, I believe that this beer would get much higher ratings online if it were in a blind taste test. I feel like most online reviews are quite fair, however, the user ratings are very low. Professional beer reviewers give it a much higher rating. I feel that many craft beer snobs are bringing their cultural biases to the table when reviewing this beer. I really do not like light beers, however, I would drink this on a hot summer day without a single hesitation.
Aroma: Aroma is very faint but classic of a malt lager. Smell gets strong when warming but not necessarily better.
Taste: Taste is actually quite nice. It’s typical of a light lager but has a fruity quality that would remind some beer drinkers of an abbey style brew. The taste is best served cold.
Texture: The beer is crisp and refreshing but not a high carbonation level.
Finish: The finish is a bit citrus-like with “lite” beer hint. However, it;s WAY better than a Bud Lite or a Miller Lite. In fact, it’s light years better.
Comparisons: Unsure if this has a real comparison but a very light Belgian Dubble might come close if some Miller Lite was poured in it.