Jake Drinks O’Douls

A recent Brew Yorker shoot forced me to make the purchase of a six-pack of O’Doul’s “premium” non-alcoholic beer-like beverage. Don’t cry for me, Brew Yorker fans, it only cost me five bucks. But sitting around in my apartment tonight, no alcohol to speak of but a cold bottle of Vodka in my freezer – and if you know me, you know I don’t actually have much love for any liquor – I decided to do that one thing that neither you nor I ever thought we’d do: drink one of the O’Douls.

Before I get into this, let me start off by saying, I don’t see the point to this beverage. There’s beers out there that taste great, no question. I’ve long spoken of my deep love of He’Brew’s Messiah Bold, so I don’t feel much need to suck that dick any longer tonight. I enjoy the flavor of a nice hefeweisen every now and again, a good porter when I can find one. I enjoy the occasional lager, in particular India’s “Taj Mahal”, I find has a good amount of complexity to it, even though it’s not the strongest tasting beer in the world, and a cold Asahi on a summer day – well that can wind up being a damn life saver. So it’s not that I don’t understand how people can enjoy a beer for the taste of it.

But O’Doule’s doesn’t really have much of any flavor. It’s like beer soda and they’ve only put in half the syrup. It tastes sort of like… watered down Budweiser, and considering that it’s made by Anheuser-Busch that’s not terribly surprising. And look, I know I’m kind of a beer snob – shut up, Steele – and I normally frown on Budweiser, but to be honest, I’ll drink it if there’s nothing else. But when I’m drinking a Bud, I’m not exactly sitting around drinking it because of that great taste. I’m drinking it to get fucked up.

To be fair to the O’Doul’s, this is an American beer product and therefore is really made to be consumed cold. I, as a person who rejected the very notion of taking up space in my wonderful refrigerator with a beverage I was sure I’d never drink, kept it in a cabinet next to the fridge, so the “beer” I’m drinking is pretty much exactly room temperature. Not optimal drinking conditions. But I looked at the label, doesn’t say anywhere that it’ll be spoiled by being kept in a dark cabinet, doesn’t taste skunked, it just… it doesn’t taste. Like… at all.

And that’s what I don’t get about O’Doul’s. If you’re going to make a non-alcoholic beer, why not try to make it the best tasting non-alcoholic beer you possibly can. People aren’t buying this stuff because they think their friends will think it’s cool, they’re drinking it because they’re alcoholics and remembering the joy of alcohol is all they have left. Model it after something good. Why the hell did I drink this crap?

– Jake


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