Got Beer? Yellowtail and Mansquito Find Common Ground

Believe it or not, I’m a pretty nice guy. I like to avoid conflict and drama if for no other reason than I have work to do and bickering over who is dating who and why is about as interesting and productive as putting railroad spikes in your eyes. So generally I don’t go all Simon Cowell on a beer, since it’s both petty and would be a slap in the face to a lot of legitimately hard working brewers who are chasing a dream. Far be it from me to kill that, but once in a lifetime an opportunity comes along for me to unleash my pent-up rage. When I saw the billboard for Yellowtail Craft Beer, I thought, “At last my time has come!”

I was already preparing some gorgeously graphic insults, like This beer tastes like a urinal smells, Yellowtail – Australian for piss, or Flint, Michigan called. They’re going to take their chances with the water.

And I composed these lovely digs knowing that Yellowtail was the safest target I would ever have. They make … well, let’s call it affordable wine, and the idea that they would suddenly start turning out mass-produced quality beer, especially with the tagline “Never Bitter,” meant that most of the jokes were already written for me. It would be like Anheuser Busch deciding to try and sell people a fine champagne, and the entire country of France suffering a public health crisis from all the uncontrollable laughing.

So assured I could do no wrong, I went on a surprisingly lengthy quest to find some of this mythical liquid so that I might lambaste it with accuracy as well as inventive similes. Once I acquired a pack of pale ale, I chilled it and prepared myself. I had a nice afternoon tea, let my mind relax and approached this swill with an open mind, zen-like.

The moment finally came. I cracked the bottle, poured a glass and the color did not disappoint. Rather yellow for a pale ale; I wonder if that’s part of the marketing. The smell almost turned me off, as it seemed to have a certain cheap-beer adjunct sort of nose. Then I sipped it and…

Well, dammit. Dammit, dammit, dammit.

Sigh.

It doesn’t totally suck.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not good. It’s not blowing my mind with a bouquet of aromas and hop flavors that redefine my perception of taste. But it’s also not the worst beer I’ve ever tasted. That honor goes to a spice beer that I shall not name.

Dammit! Finally, a beer comes along that’s totally safe for me to roast like last week’s roadkill in Alabama, and I can’t.

The label says it’s made with galaxy hops, which is an Australian hop, but it only says galaxy hops. Is this a single-hop pale ale? If so, then it has no right to even be as good as it is, not from Yellowtail. For a single-hop pale ale, it’s not even that bad, which is doubly infuriating, because it means some actual thought went into it.

Don’t get me wrong, this won’t win in any serious competitions. The color is wrong, the aroma is strange, but the flavor is surprisingly … I don’t want to say good, but surprisingly mediocre. It has no major bad qualities, nor good ones.

If nothing else, I’m angry that my greatest opportunity to vent my mean-spirited dark side has slipped through my fingers. I could have compared this beer to kangaroo sweat or Paul Hogan’s bathroom, and instead I actually have to confess to almost liking it.

I wouldn’t recommend it to the beer snobs, but it’s sort of like if a Syfy channel original somehow turned out to be an actually decent movie. You wouldn’t nominate it for an Academy Award, but you’d sure as hell be surprised enough to maybe give the latest Mansquito sequel a second look.

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