Candy is dandy, but malt liquor is quicker
... by James Montgomery
I bet a lot of people didn't know that the real reason St. Patrick banished snakes from Ireland wasn't because they were pagan creatures, but because the serpents were trying to swipe his cachet of ice-cold Olde English.
So, this St. Patrick's Day, while most people are quaffing overpriced pints of Guiness, I think a more fitting tribute to St. Patrick's brave act is to crack open a few quarts of fine malt liquor.
Also, you could crack open quarts for the New Orleans Saints, NCAA basketball tournament qualifiers St. John's and St. Bonnaventure or the great city of St. Paul, Minn.
Yes, malt liquor has a rich history. During the Middle Ages, a quart of it was as valued as fine silk from the Orient, and I think that malt liquor was the reason the Crusades were fought.
Thus, let us celebrate its long and storied past.
Before we get started, I would like to say that the selection of malt liquor available in this town sucks. In order to find different malts, I had to drive all over the place. But in the end, it was all worth it. And so, without any further delay, my swollen liver and I are proud to present a beginner's guide to malt liquor.
Olde English 800
a.k.a. the eight ball, a.k.a. olde anguish
Hmmmm. What can be said about Olde English 8? Well, for starters, it's the Cadillac of malt liquors - much respected and revered. Smooth sippin' on this one, although the aftertaste resembles napalm. After drinking OE, you want to call your grandma on the telephone and confess all of your sins to her. It looks like piss in a bottle, which is common for most malts, and it tastes much the same. I cannot give OE a bad review, as it is the flagship of malt liquor; I can only say that it tastes like diesel fuel and finishes like lighter fluid. In other words, it's a great malt liquor for beginners to earn their wings with.
a.k.a. the great equalizer.
Oh, sweet Jesus. This is the malt of champs. I've only found this malt in a few select stores around town (usually the ones which smell of urine), but it's well worth the search. This is the malt that doesn't mess around. To give you an idea of it's potency, I once drank three quarts of the stuff and was only able to lie on the floor moaning "Coqui 900.... Coqui 900." In its purest form, I believe that you can power a lawnmower with it. It's what you find clutched in the hands of drunken bums late at night. It tastes nasty, but what do you expect? It packs a mean wallop.
This is what fine malt liquor is all about. Bull Ice is all business: the label says its 7.9 percent alcohol, but it leaves you feeling like its 70.9 percent. One of the only malts in the survey that left the honored judge feeling really debilitated, and it was one of the cheapest ones I found. It's a thick malt, and it tastes like a rusty nail. As an added bonus, on the inside of the label is a picture of a bull's head, which, as the quart progresses, becomes more and more blurry, which is both astonishing and fun. Plus, it gains mad review points for having a tight African-print label.
the official beverage of my job
Well, the title about says it all: this IS the official beverage of my job. I have seen normal men drink of this holy chalice and then become endowed with super-human mopping abilities. It tastes like glue and its consistency is much the same. The only downside to Hurricane is that it packs a weak wallop. (I feel now is as good a time as any to remind you that a good malt liquor is two things: cheap and potent-Hurricane is neither.) Despite its weak bite, Hurricane holds a special place in my heart because I have drank many of them and then served the public. Plus, it's the only thing I'll touch whenever I watch the Weather Channel.
Olde English Ice 800
Do you remember the girl (or boy) you once loved? The one you shared laughter, cuddles and all your earthly secrets with? The one who you thought you'd take a bullet for, the one you thought you couldn't live without...until they cheated on you and ripped your still-beating heart from deep within your ribcage and danced all over it? Olde English Ice 800 is all those feelings combined into one 32-ounce bottle: this shit is bitter. Drinking this stuff is much like losing the love of your life, except that the label features a black panther, ready to strike. Whatever the hell that means.
a.k.a. the family malt
Bottled malt liquor taste in a can - isn't life great? This was one of few malts I could find in a grocery store. When you drink it, it leaves an aftertaste like you just licked a concrete wall. The fact that it's in a can allows for the whole Billy Dee Williams effect: you can pour one of these into a glass bottle and look like the elegant, smooth drinker. A good malt for beginners.
a.k.a. the Bespin malt
Speaking of Billy Dee, this is his original joint. It is surprisingly smooth sipping for a malt, and it actually leaves a good taste in your mouth. Simply knowing that once upon a time Lando was sippin on this shit in the cloud city of Bespin makes it intriguing; the fact that it has had the same label since the late '70s makes it a must-drink.
a.k.a. the mullet malt
Feel the sting of the bee. This shit is strong enough to make you renounce your religion. Not to be confused with Mickey's Ice, this malt is neither ice-brewed nor good tasting. This is the stuff you reach for when all other malts are gone. Mickey's manages to be both awful tasting yet strongly appealing. Usually seen being bought by mullet-heads and guys who drive Camaros, no lie.
When it comes to Silver Thunder, there was only one man to turn to: world-renowned malt liquor connoisseur, Brian Montgomery:
"By far the best malt liquor for under one dollar. Besides, drinking the thunder will make you reminisce of your corner, brown-baggin', hood days. Silver Thunder provides an OE-type taste, but is only recommended when the funds are low and the hoes are slow. You can find Silver Thunder mainly in gas stations and convenience stores around 75th Street (a.k.a. Tower Road). So, if you're looking for the cheap, G-style drunkenness, then Silver Thunder is the quart for you."
Once again, Mr. Montgomery:
"First off, this quart is not to be mistaken for the sissy-ass fruity flavor known to most high-school kids. This quart is packed with a Tyson-type cross that will set you on the floor after one round. Many of you young marks will complain about the shortage of this special punch in Gainesville. In order to obtain a mean headache, you eager drinkers must travel to Georgia. Let me tell you, the 7.5 percent alcohol mix will set you free. Trust me, the trip is well worth the pleasure. After the breaking of the seal...it's on like Donkey Kong."
A nice, solid brew, with a finish that resembles pine. A zesty bouquet, fully of mountain-fresh berries and hardy earthen tones. Just kidding. This malt tastes and smells like stale urine. Being one of the more elusive malts, I had to drive deep into the heart of the hood just to catch a glimpse of it. King Cobra has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, except that the morning after drinking it, you want to swear off any form of alcohol, which might improve your grades. And it has a cool label.
St. Ides Special Brew
a.k.a. the sissy malt
First off, I don't even know if this stuff is actually malt liquor. All I know is that it is sold in only the most ghetto-ass convenience stores and drinking too much of it makes your teeth tingle. This shit is like drinking liquid sugar. I prefer the Kiwi flavor, but it all tastes pretty much the same. Drinking it reminds you of your glory days in elementary school when a gulp of JOLT! Cola would get you keyed up. Despite all that, the fact that you look like a sissy when drinking it earns Special Brew a thumbs-down from me.
a.k.a. the old friend
Okay, so I know that the label says this stuff isn't really malt liquor but rather an "Ice Brewed Ale," but the fact you can find it in some stores for under a dollar qualifies it as a malt. Mickey's Ice is an old favorite, and drinking it is like having a nice dinner with an old friend. Back in the day, my friends and I would drink cases of this stuff. Its smooth taste, decent punch and cool green-tinted bottle make Mickey's Ice a perennial fan favorite.
One day, as I was driving around some of Alachua County's more "rural" areas in search of malt liquor, I stumbled upon a convenience store that sold something I had only heard of in urban legends: fine screw-top wines. While not malt liquor, screw-top wines manage to be ten times as ghetto as even the nastiest malt. I decided to include them:
Night Train Express
Man, I didn't even know they made this stuff. The label advises you to "serve very cold," as if that makes any difference. This stuff tastes like grape cough syrup mixed with lighter fluid. After drinking a 750 ML bottle I was knocked out, which allowed the people I was drinking with to take several "candid" photos of my passed-out ass, which featured, among other things, a fake penis, a Penthouse magazine and a sock. Needless to say, this "citrus wine with natural flavors" is not for beginners. Strangely enough, the label says that it "contains sulfites," which may or may not kill you.
What's the word? Thunderbird. The label says that it is "an American classic," which should make our founding fathers very proud. Another "citrus wine with natural flavors," Thunderbird is actually much tastier than Night Train. Actually, it wasn't half-bad, and I was able to finish off a bottle real quick. I would definitely recommend picking up a bottle the next time you are entertaining that special someone. Just think, a nice dinner, soft music, candlelight and a fine bottle of Thunderbird. The label says that it, too, contains sulfites...strange.
a.k.a. Mad Dog 20/20
Sickeningly sweet and iridescent in color, MD is the stuff even the most hardcore of the homeless won't touch. One time, I went on a deep-sea fishing trip and took along two bottles of this stuff. A few hours later, I was vomiting over the side of the boat, and fish would come up and eat it. Ah, memories. Also, Elliot Smith recorded a song about Kiwi Mad Dog, which makes it the official beverage of indie rockers everywhere.
So there you go: a beginner's guide to malt liquor, plus a few screw-top wines thrown in for good measure. Now, hopefully, instead of plunking down your hard-earned cash on some fancy-dancy import pint this St. Patrick's Day, you will take that money, drive to the most fowl-smelling convenience store you can find, and invest in three or four quarts.
I promise you, you will not be disappointed.