As Ivies quickly approaches, dear Reader, a budget beer was very much in the cards for this week’s issue of Tapped Out. And in the end, the choice was obvious. Our beer is regularly available in the town of Brunswick and comes in at less than a dollar per can; yet, it is rarely (if ever) spotted at our campus parties and in our dorm rooms. Yes, it is the king of cheap lagers: LaBatt Blue. Let PBR no longer be the go-to choice for frugal yet taste-conscious beer lovers—LaBatt is the ultimate compromise between price and quality.
And while this was Jae-Yeon’s first taste of LaBatt, for myself (Nick), this beer runs deep. My late uncle—a true devotee of cheap lager—started drinking this beer in his teens. Tom didn’t want a funeral; he requested instead that his friends and family crack a few beers and hit the ocean for a day of fishing. Every time I break open a Blue, I think of his kindness and humility. But make no mistake, this beer is not just full of my sentiment—it is also a true, back-to-basics lager.
So, what separates LaBatt from its competitors? The answer is simple: flavor. Bud Light—supposedly brewed with barley malt—is so devoid of character that many with a gluten intolerance are able to consume it with no negative effect (disclaimer: if you are gluten intolerant, don’t listen to us; if you are celiac, run for the hills). But whether or not this is an urban legend, one thing is for sure: similar rumors do not surround LaBatt. This beer is a real lager, and you can actually (wait for it) taste the malt. It doesn’t taste like carbonated toilet water with a dash of stale urine; and that is, simply put, what sets LaBatt apart.
Upon being poured, the beer reveals a pale golden liquid with very little head. It is crisp, perfectly carbonated and just ever so slightly assertive. Almost no aroma is produced. The taste is light but present: pure Canadian malt. And as quickly as it arrives, it is gone. There is no lengthy or complex finish, no delicate flavor profile. LaBatt Blue is a truly smashable beer. Move your Session IPAs and your Dutch witbiers to one side—this job calls for a lager, and that lager is LaBatt Blue.
So, where exactly does LaBatt price? Give or take, it is easy to find a 30 rack for around $20. Comparisons of full strength beers in this range are always a matter of a couple dollars, with the cheapest light beers coming in at about four bucks less. Don’t get us wrong: if you’re really looking to save, go for a box of Natty Lights; it will only cost you about $16. But when shopping for your brews this Ivies, if you have two dollars to spare, embrace the adventure—put down that 30 of PBR and pick up a case of LaBatts. This is our official endorsement of LaBatt Blue as the best beer for Ivies 2017 and indeed for all of your Bowdoin weekends. This is just an all-around wonderful drink, and we hope to see you enjoying one soon.
Tonight’s Soundtrack: Talking Heads. 77. Timeless.
Tonight’s Toast: In the words of Stephen Decatur, “Oh, here’s to other meetings, and merry greetings then; and here’s to those we’ve drunk with, and never can again.”