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The Beer Idiot: Mike's Hard Lemonade

Say hello to the Beer Idiot, an occasional Drunkspin complement hosted by our Kinja friend and yours BronzeHammer. Previously, he introduced himself here and waxed philosophical about Miller Lite here. Enjoy yourselves.

Alright, first, let's address the fruity, carbonated elephant in the room. No, Mike's Hard Lemonade is not, strictly speaking, beer. But we are inclusive here. Lest we forget the Beer Idiot Credo:

A Beer Idiot does not dismiss any alcoholic beverage out of hand; instead, he or she puts them IN his or her hand. A Beer Idiot judges the quality of the drink on its merits only, eschewing price and label, using his or her limited intellect to its fullest capacity. Above all, a Beer Idiot strives for Buzz in its many forms, always cognizant of the fact that drinking is a privilege. For those about to pop tops, we salute you.


(Apologies for the gender binary. The Beer Idiot Credo was written, like, a million-billion years ago or something.)

So while you were reciting the Credo with your right hand over your liver, I did some research, and it turns out I don't actually know if Mike's Hard is beer or not. According to their website, these products are classified as beer by the government, which means they don't have to list the ingredients on the label. But the government is stupid, so that dog won't hunt. Also, I'm stupid, so I don't know if "fermented malt base" is all that's required to qualify as beer for our purposes! Well.

In a last gasp to understand what exactly it is that we are putting into our faces, let's turn to the purity experts: Deutschland. According to the Reinheitsgebot (German Purity Law) and, later, the Biersteuergesetz (Other Thing), German beer can only contain water, barley, hops, and sometimes yeast. Shockingly, the world has once again decided to ignore Germany's stern suggestions about how to remain pure, and so the inclusion of sugar and lemon juice in Mike's Hard Lemonade's does not disqualify it from consideration as beer in this country.

But it doesn't taste like beer, so it isn't beer.

However, it also doesn't taste like lemonade, so it isn't lemonade, either.

What it is, though, is a refreshingly competent, if disappointingly generic, alcopop: a booze-delivery vehicle presumably designed to appeal to horrible little children. But why? Because horrible little children like good-tasting things? Because, to them, the flavor of hops comes in somewhere slightly above Brussels-sprouts blanch-water and well below being hit by a car? I personally do enjoy the flavor of hops, but I would look at you a bit cross-eyed if you said your Mountain Dew could use some additional bitterness, spice, and grassy notes.


It's good to like good-tasting things! And smart! I have eaten dessert after breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 700 consecutive days because it tastes good, and because I'm playing a very mean trick on the person who will receive my organs after I am dead. As I've said before, it isn't true that only "difficult" or "complex" things are worth doing—take kicking Steven Crowder's ass, for instance. Sometimes it's good to ask your 16-year-old if you can "steal a couple of her malternatives for a special night with the enigmatic temptress known only as Mom." Man up, dude. Have a Mike's. Have sex with your wife.

While plain ol' Mike's may not be the most extreme flavor profile, its tide has risen all boats, and you will now find any number of absurd, Wonka-like concoctions in the malt-beverage section.


[Pictured: The Aisle of Shame.]

That's a whole lotta neon! And for good reason: Men (in particular) are just walking by these boxes like they're not even there. Some of them are kind of peering over from the Icehouse side of the aisle; others are sending furtive glances toward the stuff that incongruously and mysteriously says both "Apple" and "Ale" on it; some are shopping with their wives only to give themselves an alibi for the bright-pink cardboard leering from their shopping basket. But no more! Throw off the yoke of social norms, meatheads, and quaff with me the sweet-as-hummingbird-food nectar more closely resembling a bachelorette-party punch than something you would've gotten stabbed for importing in the '20s.


And while we're at it, why not try one of the vastly superior Mike's spinoffs—say, Hard Black Cherry Lemonade? This junk is unbelievably good. I was not ready for it. There is virtually no alcohol taste, which is absolutely terrifying to me as a father. As a moron, however, it's like finding chocolate inside a fortune cookie. I was going to invite Amar'e over for a soak, but I didn't want to share.

Because it's so inoffensive and sweet on the tongue, you can really get carried away with these things. Think about it: How many Wild Cherry Pepsis could you chug in one wild night? Like a thousand, right? If my tab were comped, I could drink 1,002 Wild Cherry Pepsis before I even had to go to the bathroom. The hospital would develop a new protocol in my wake, and my wife would probably remarry some even fatter and less talented dude, but my memory would live on forever as the guy who got Wild Cherry Pepsi banned from Vegas.


The Hard Black Cherry Lemonades may not be especially strong (5-percent ABV), but they go down so fast. I had six of these little cruisers and signed up for a salad subscription service; seven down, and I was trying to figure out which end of the baby monitor to point at the cable box; eight caps crushed and I looked like that scene from The Hunger Games where Peeta blends in with a rock. You could slam nine of these little babies without stopping to breathe and be totaled by the time you got back from the mailbox. Since you drink them faster, you drink fewer to get where you're trying to go. What's that mean? It means you get fucked up for less money! And the Beer Idiot is nothing if not wallet-conscious. (It's probably nothing).

So let's swear an oath. Let's vow to exit our comfort zones of tapped Rockies and beard-guy beers. Let's send a message to Mike's: hey! Be proud of your beer-adjacent product! It's good! You don't have to try to convince us how masculine it is with your ad copy, which just literally says how masculine it is. Throw a sixer of Mike's Elderberry Jam Mojito into the cart for Super Bowl Sunday. You won't regret it. And yes, you can bring your wife.


Rating: What're you swattin' at?

Next Time on the Beer Idiot: Memphis!

Bronzehammer is a recovering Deadspin commenter and beer not-drinker. You can watch him tell jokes on his Youtube Channel and tell him what sort of drinks really put hair on your chest on Twitter @Bronzehammer.


Image by Sam Woolley.

The Concourse is Deadspin's home for culture/food/whatever coverage. Follow us on Twitter.

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