Fishtown Briefcase A Review of Economy-Friendly Beers
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    March 9th, 2011trishyReviews

    We’re almost at the First Ever (possibly Annual) Fishtown Briefcase Bracket Madness Brunch… and we need to finalize our Sweet 16 cheap beer contestants

    Whether or not you will attend, we’d love your input!

    Vote now!

    Especially if you aren’t sure if you like the way our brackets are currently shaping up

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    February 28th, 2011trishyReviews

    Labatt blue light

    Running is an activity which works a body hard and makes it quite strong. If one runs quite a far distance, say, 3, 4, 6, 13.1, 26.2 or more miles – a beer can be quite a refreshing beverage to quench thirst. Whether you choose to drink the beer before, during, or after, it is quite a satisfying activity. I would go out on a limb and say that even bad beer can taste good when you’re really sweaty and thirsty. Really good beer might not taste as good as its potential until after a glass or two of water/sport drink – this is debatable and perhaps depends on how much salt or electrolytes you’ve sweated out and how delerious you are at this point.

    It was on a recent day, during a late winter (spring fever) run that I had the opportunity to taste a Labatt’s Blue Light. There were a few things working in this beer’s favor:

    1)  I was hot and sweaty and had built up quite a thirst
    2)  The beer was handed to me for free from a friend – what an attractive price tag
    3)  The can is somewhat cute – blue and silver, depicting an icy mountain in Canada
    4)  It is a light beer, and doesn’t fill you up.
    5) Potentially great shotgunning beer – thin and not very bubbly, easy to swallow.
    6) We drank it outside on a lovely late winter (springlike) sunny day.

    Unfortunately, these are the bright spots working in favor of Labatt’s Blue Light…

    The downside – this beer really doesn’t have much of a flavor, and if it does, it tastes a little bit like Skunk Light. Now it is possible the reason we got these beers handed to us for free was because they were old and sitting in the fridge forever… but I couldn’t even finish my can. As I poured it down an alley grate it was almost clear.

    Unlike its bolder brother regular Labatts, Labatts Light is a bit weak, with a 4% alcohol content and 111 calories (8g of carbs). For comparisons you can check out other beer calorie/carb charts here and here. (e.g. you could have a Corona Light for 109 calories and 5 carbs with 4.5% alcohol)

    From my research, it looks like a 12-pack of 12 ouncers runs about $11-14, an 18-pack about $17-20 and a 24-pack can go for about $19-26 depending on your location and local variables. So a dollar per beer give or take a few cents or so as you buy in larger quantity. They also come in 24 ounce cans for those with extra large thirsts.

    I’ll give it a 2 out of 5. Not the best beer we’ve tasted at Fishtown Briefcase, and after Pennsylvania Style, definitely not the worst. Perhaps we should have gotten the Labatt Blue Light Lime.

    More info: Labatt Brewing Co. Wikipedia Page (their actual website is sucky and I can’t get much useful info from it waiting for a 3 minute flash app to load after entering my birthdate 3 times to access three different links.)

    Added: It is almost hard to believe that the same company that makes this beer also makes Magic Hat and Pyramid ales.

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    February 6th, 2009max langbeer, Reviews

    Schmidt is a lager produced by the Pabst/J Heileman Brewing Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  It should not be confused with the now defunked Philadelphia beer Schmidt’s, they have no connection in the least.  This lager is a bit on the thin side, and no…the cans with fish on them don’t taste like trout stout or something.  I guess that there is a hint of corn to Schmidt, it’s slightly smooth and has little or no head.  This beer is however, not as smooth and flavorful than other Pabst product( not to mention other brewers products) that you can find out there in the bargain aisles of your local beer vendor.  The best thing to be said about them is that they have neat looking cans with bears, trout, quail and other wildlife on them.  Perhaps this is the official beer of hunters/gamesmen or what, I drink what I kill!  All in all not a horrible beer, just not a very good one, unless you’re a can collector. 2 OF 5 briefcases.

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    January 6th, 2009max langbeer, Reviews

    Lone Star logo

    Lone Star is a light colored lager brewed by Pabst in the Lone Star state of Texas.  Last week I picked up a six at a New Jersey liquor store for the very popular price of $3.50.  This beer claims to be ‘the National Beer of Texas.’  If Texans like their beer with a soapy flavor and aftertaste, more power to them.

    Lone Star has a mild corn-like odor, a cream-like flavor somewhat reminiscent of soap (as if someone neglected to fully rinse the bottle, it’s not too overpowering) and an aftertaste with a hint of tart lemon which follows with an even bigger soapy kick.  Admittedly, drinking Lone Star would likely be a more satisfying experience on a hot summer day in Texas heat, that however is only a guess.

    While the price is great, and Lone Star certainly isn’t the worst of the uber-cheap suds, it leaves a lot to be desired in the flavor department.  I have to give it 2 briefcases out of 5 and most of that is for its sheer affordability.  However,  buyers may want to skip by this one and go for another one of Pabst’s myriad products, even if it’s a dollar or two more.

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    January 4th, 2009trishReviews

    Finally, a bad review on Fishtown Briefcase.

    I had a few days off from work this week, not enough days to take a trip somewhere interesting at the last minute, and not enough advance planning to make it happen on the skint. What to do? I tried staying at home organizing the crap out of my house, and got cabin fever on the 2nd day. So I took a drive out to the Lancaster outlet malls and was hoping to catch a local package store on the way up or back to see what beers they had to offer that weren’t as easily had at home in the Philly area. I was hoping to find something along the lines of Knights Head or some secret PA Dutch cheap beer but instead the only package stores I drove by on the day before New Year’s Eve were closed by 7:30pm. Shameful. Then along Route 30 in Exton, PA, I entered the most amazing beer distributor I’ve ever been in during my 30-some years of existence. I drooled past the Rogue section and skipped purchasing from the microbrew/import aisle and ended up in the cheap macro section looking for inspiration.

    What I found: Pennsylvania Style Lager. Since we’re a blog based in PA, I thought, what the heck. The price was definitely right.

    Pennsylvania Style Lager

    Pennsylvania Style Lager

    Brewed by GJS Sales Inc. which is associated with the City Brewing Company (formerly G. Heileman Brewing Co.) in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, this beer goes for approximately $11 for a 30-pack briefcase of 12 oz. cans cheapest levitra. That’s approximately 37 cents per beer! They also make a Pennsylvania Style Ice and Pennsylvania Style Light if you’re a sporting type.

    Best drank ice cold, so cold you can barely taste it, Pennsylvania Style Lager is also a good “shotgun” beer. You want to make sure you drink it as quickly as possible so as to miss the flavor as much as you can. The taste is light, thin and sweet, with an aftertaste kind of like carbonated corn syrup or perhaps watered-down apple juice. The pour is pale yellow with a nice head that quickly goes down. The best part of drinking this beer is that later, when you emit a monster belch from that can you just shotgunned while it was so ice cold you could barely taste it, your belch tastes like apple juice. If you get a big sip of the head, it’s probably the second-best part. But this ain’t no lager.

    Other reviewers who sampled Pennsylvania Style Lager with me had this to say:

    “Tastes disgusting!”

    “It’s blander than club soda.”

    “It smells like beer, but hold your nose while drinking it and it goes down like a beautiful butterfly.”


    “It tastes like they took a keg of water, pissed into it, added a splash of apple juice and a couple shots of grain alcohol to make this beer.”

    So there you have it… Pennsylvania Style Lager in a nutshell. It ain’t no lager, and it doesn’t taste anything like Pennsylvania.

    Overall rating: 1.5 out of 5 briefcases, mainly for the price, the ease of shotgunning, and the apple juice burp aftertaste.

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    December 27th, 2008trishReviews

    View some old timey holiday beer commercials under the cut. Read the rest of this entry »

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    December 22nd, 2008mattbeer, booze, everybody love everybody, fun, liquor, Reviews

    Happy Holidays everyone! We are in the greatest season known to man, woman, or child to be a bearer of cheap beer. If there is one major problem with the holiday party, it is that people get so caught up in the atmosphere, the pretty lights, and the fighting with loved ones that they drink the following: fine beer, fine liquor, and fine wine. Here’s the problem with that: ALL THOSE THINGS ARE EXPENSIVE. As a direct result: these parties run out of beer. WHAT!?! Party with no beer!?! I’m outraged at the very thought of it.

    Let’s say, for instance, you are going to be attending a joyous, holiday soiré. Here is how you, my friend, can be a hero:

    1.) Buy a case of cheap beer
    2.) Bring the case of cheap beer to the party
    3.) Drink the case of cheap beer
    4.) Repeat for each party you attend

    Extra points for: Dressing up like Santa, having a fantastically bad holiday outfit, encouraging shotguns of cheap beer, and getting rude with the mistletoe.

    I personally know of two parties alone that were saved by a 30-pack of Schaefer. Without these charitable people bringing cheap holiday libations, these parties would have hit a wall before midnight instead of becoming nights when great memories are made. This is a beer that does everything great to mankind. It encourages sing-a-longs, it gets the girl who is ‘already too drunk’ drunker, it makes white guys dance (okay, that might not be a good thing), and it makes people open up and drink the holidays in. The brewers of this $13.99 “brick of beers” love the holidays and want everyone to have a great time. They are great guys, and you too can be great guy/girl by bringing a case of Schaefer to your next party.

    This isn’t even a review of the beer. It doesn’t even matter how it tasted (okay, it does taste great). The people who brought cases of Schaefer beer to holiday parties all around the world saved Christmas and contributed to the greatest gift of all, ELE (everybody love everybody).

    Schaefer: 5/5 briefcases. Let’s all give thanks for Schaefer in this holiday season! Happy holidays everybody!

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    December 16th, 2008max langbeer, Reviews

    All together now:

    National Beer
    National Beer
    You’ll love the taste of National Beer
    And while I’m singing
    I’m proud to say
    It’s brewed on the shores
    of Chesapeake Bay!

    So go the lyrics of the National Bohemian song. This beer, which is synonymous with Baltimore, Maryland has been around for a long time and had a large number of owners.

    National Bohemian Beer was first brewed by the National Brewing Company of Baltimore in 1885. The National Brewing Company merged with Carling in 1973 becoming Carling-National. In 1978 the company moved its brewery to Halethorpe, Maryland. The original brewery is still standing, but is now an apartment house; it still bears the large neon National Bohemian sign. The Halethorpe brewery ceased production in 2000, it was razed in 2006.

    While the team was under the ownership of Jerold Hoffberger, it became the official beer of the Baltimore Orioles. Hoffberger owned both the team and the brewery and even installed the beer’s mascot (the monocle wearing/mustachioed Mr. Boh) as the Orioles mascot commander cialis

    In 1979 G Heileman Brewing Company bought out Carling National. Heileman was then sold to the Stroh Brewery Company in 1996 and finally to the Pabst Brewing Company. The beer is now brewed in Eden, North Carolina by Miller (Pabst does none of the actual brewing of its myriad brands, it’s a virtual brewer which farms out its brands). So, while Natty Boh still uses the motto which refers to Baltimore ‘From the Land of Pleasant Living,’ it is no longer a product produced locally to Baltimoreans.

    Natty is one of the most inexpensive beers on the market, somewhere between $9-12 per case of cans. It has a mild, almost corn-like sweetness, and a hint of hops. It’s like most old fashioned American beers: it’s smooth and easy on the palate. I can’t imagine there would be many foods with which this wouldn’t be compatible. Though, it’s probably a bit too thin for foods more than moderately spicy. One can certainly do worse for far more money; this beer is pure bang for the buck. I give Natty Boh a solid 4.75 briefcases.

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    December 13th, 2008mattbeer, fun, Reviews

    Let me tell you, I am fully embarrassed by having the opening title for this be the NBA playoffs slogan adapted/bastardized from the Black Eyed Pea’s “Lets get retarded.”  Our taste really isn’t that bad.  Or perhaps it is.  You see, our goal over the next 52 weeks is to buy a case of the cheapest beer we can find and judge it on its merit and our experiences with it.

    This experience is going to be with a modern classic, Mickey’s Malt Liquor.

    Notice the short, thick, wide-mouthed bottle dubbed “The Hand Grenade.” How could there be a better bottle design?  It’s different, beautiful, has a badass nickname, AND is easy to drink from- the beer practically pours itself down your throat.  It is a lager-style beer that also makes a good training beer- it’s one of the only bottles you can really chug down with speed due to its unique shape and mouth.  This beer makes you drink it fast, so putting down 8-10 of these malt explosives in a single sitting won’t be uncommon (read: I have a drinking problem).

    The flavor of Mickey’s is good and makes for very unproblematic drinking- at 5.7% ABV it packs enough punch without that strong booze taste you get from most malt liquors.  At around $14-$16 for a case, it will get the job done at a price you can afford without killing your taste buds.

    I’m not sure if the people at most beer companies are cool, but Mickey’s has to have about the coolest people.  First, they’re growing in popularity in large part right now through their sponsorship of UFC, the very fun-to-watch, most badass fighting sport on the planet.  A quick glance at their web site has some awesomely funny stuff including a practical joke section where I learned that filling a water pistol with baby oil and spraying my friends around the crotch with it before a night out and telling them “Its only water, it will dry soon” is a great idea.

    Overall, I’m going to give Mickey’s 4.5 briefcases.  That’s over 100 beers.  This stuff is good, cheap, and effective and the sweet bottle really makes for a pretty fun beer to drink.  I could make this my casual brew with no problems, and I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t had it in a while to pick up a case.  Like the little hornet on the bottle says “Get Stung!”

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