Perhaps it’s not surprising that out of the 7 beers sampled, Heineken lands at the bottom of the pile. Truth being the regular strength version of this Dutch Classic & I do not get on. It’s not the taste so much as the way it punches my head repeatedly for an entire day if I dare to drink it.
It seems I am not alone in my opinion on this much loved lager beer.. Let’s quote some eminent bloggers from the craft beer world.
@Quareswalley - “Why drink it if you know it’s been pissed out of a European Hermits Wax
@TheDirtyHallion - “I’ve got 4 mini cans of this stuff, I have been saving them for a beer batter, as I’m sure not drinking them lol
Not much there to misinterpret, however to explain my relationship with Heineken it may be helpful to provide a little context, by way of a backstory. So what you are about to read, if you’re not here just to look at the pics, is a true story.
We have to go back to 1998 or thereabouts, that year I went to one of my very first boozy house parties, in the seaside town of Larne, Northern Ireland.
Drinking alcohol was somewhat new to me back then and in my fresh faced naivety I panicked when faced with the choice in the local offies. In my haste I selected a case of Heineken as my poison of choice, poison as it turned out was a particularly apt word.
Things went swimmingly enough, I started out sipping thirstily on my frosty cans in a dark corner of the living room, resplendent in my good trousers & best going out shirt, while numerous tracksuit clad folk, (Kappa being the label of choice for the cool kids back then, can’t remember what brand I had on), danced around the room to the oddly popular Techno and happy house music.
Not being much of a dancer, I was happy to look on from my comfy spot on the sidelines, plus I was acutely aware that my gel encrusted curtains had earlier taken me over 15 minutes to get on fleek & I was not prepared to risk my star feature for an night of Dutch fuelled, seizure esque motion on the already crowded dance carpet.
Instead I enjoyed my Heineken all the while flicking through the hosts CD collection, no streaming back then kiddies, In search of something a little more refined, a Beautiful South album perhaps, some Enya or even some Lighthouse Family.. Music with words, but also music to fit the sophisticated wine that I had noticed every other guest seemed to be drinking. After all the label did say Benedictine Monks had lovingly toiled over this seemingly popular tipple.
But to get to the point, the evening ended around breakfast time and as everyone else was sprawled out in little corners of the house, I parted my curtains, adjusted my eyes to the light & had a good stretch before quietly shaking out my pullover which I had earlier fashioned as a pillow. Picking up my almost empty beer box, I quietly made my way to the kitchen in search of a little pick me up. All the while my head rattled violently like a freshly duracelled dildo in an empty drawer.
Having ran the gauntlet of intertwined floor sleepers and fought my way through the clouds of lingering cigarette smoke, my empties & I made it to the pantry, overall happy with my hungover yet stealth like achievement though slightly disappointed not to find Richard O’Brien waiting for me with a crystal.
Flinging my empties into the bin with all the style of Kobe sinking a free throw, I embarked on a search operation of the cupboards. Door No 3 revealed both a cleanish bowl & a box of Weetabix, things looked fairly positive as I scanned the terrain for Milk.. Weetabix are notoriously difficult to eat without milk, so it wasn’t so much a personal preference as it was necessity. By now, I was feeling a tad warm around the exit doors & was also noting a slight feeling of nausea.
I needed food and water fast. Plan A of Milk was out, Plan B of dry Weetabix would possibly result in choking given my sandpaper mouth.. after a little bit of consideration I decided that was also, out.
That’s when I saw her! A little green can in the corner of the kitchen, glistening in the moisture of dregs from the empties, that coated her metallic skin. Instantly the smoky room was illuminated by the light from the bad idea bulb that had flicked on in my head. Bending down slowly, as your brain seems to bounce off your skull like cheap rubber when you are suffering, I grasped the last Heineken in my hand. As tightly as my trembling fingers would allow.
With the crack of the ring pull the can was open & despite the beery smell hitting my nose with the stench of a watery fart that went all wrong, I watched my jittery hand up end the can & the cool golden liquid coat my weetabix like a river flowing through the Sahara.. admittedly I dry retched once or twice as I soaked the flakes in the lager.
The sweats had begun In earnest & in my boozing inexperience I willed my brain to fight the sickening image of fizzling quick sand that I was pushing my spoon through and give my system something to soak up the alcohol. Quickly perfecting throat breathing to avoid the smell, I funnelled several spoonfuls of my unique brekkie into my mouth, swallowing the wet mixture as quickly as I could chew it.
I was stopped only by a voice from behind, which groggily exclaimed “Are your eating weetabix and beer, for fuck sake!” With those words my hangover seemingly increased tenfold & it was met almost instantly by that all to familiar feeling of crippling shame. As I turned around to see the owner of those words, I realised I was being judged by a chap sporting only a shell suit top and underpants with the remains of a regal king size butt stuck in his left curtain.
I set down the bowl, stepped over the now trembling remains of friends & walked off into the sunrise, never to return again.
For anyone unfamiliar, this is what weetabix (with milk) generally looks like
Of course in hindsight I can see that soaking up alcohol with alcohol soaked weetabix while trying to ignore the inner colonels command to drop torpedos 1 & 2 may not have been the greatest of plans. I was young and its experiences like this, when you are young that shape who you become. I would like to say my house partying days started and ended here, sadly that’s not the case and sadly this tale is just the tip of the iceberg.
So there you go, an insight into the beginnings of my torrid history with Heineken. You may have noticed I hardly mentioned the non alcoholic version. What is it they say about if you can’t say anything nice?...
I realise that may be harsh and completely down to my previous experience with its big brother. It’s a watery version of the real thing, I can see why some people like this and the full ABV version. Sadly even the sight of the logo takes me straight back to Larne circa 1998.
In Heineken’s defence, sort of, It was a close call between position 7 and 6...
Stay tuned for the Beer that took the No 6 spot
The 6 pack of Heineken used in this review was purchased by me, which makes it all the more annoying!