For the love of Christ, do we as a race look forward to turning into the obese boneless blobs from Wall-E? That’s what I think when I stumble upon things that make me think Soylent Green is a prophecy, not a film. The only difference of course being that in 1973 they didn’t know that eating ground up humans would probably be a nutritional step up from the garbage coming down the pipeline in 2013.
The latest product in an ever-growing landscape of man-made digestibles leading us one step closer to cannibalism, is OnTap Liquid Beer Enhancer. Somebody somewhere said to themselves, “What if we could still buy the shittiest beer on the planet, but there was a magical liquid we could inject into it that would make it taste like craft beer?” “Brilliant! To the shed…I mean, laboratory!” I picture the whole process taking place in much the same way Yahoo Serious split the “beer atom” to put bubbles in beer in the 1988 cinema classic Young Einstein.
So in a horrible experiment that probably began with the slow-minded credo “Watch this!”, they set forth to create a super-concentrated wort additive that would enhance the flavor of the cheapest swill with just a few drops. It doesn’t take a genius to determine somebody got this idea looking at the rack of Mio-type additives invading the juice aisle, but it definitely takes someone a few cans short of a six-pack to think it was a GOOD idea.
When Jeff told me about this stuff I admit, I wanted to hate it, badly. I don’t want to live in a world where people belly up to the local bar, order a Miller High Life, and squeeze pocket temperature additives made in a lab into their glass of sadness. So, to be sure the word was spread and that we did not suffer alone, we enlisted the help of Sean Inman (Beer Search Party) and Craig Berry (LA Beer Blog) and converged upon the BeerGuyLA HQ with bags of terrible beer. Budweiser, Bud Light, and PBR were the main swill of choice, highlighted by Craig’s contribution of a King Cobra.
OnTap comes in two varieties, “American Ale” and “Pale Ale”. Both are $5.00 a piece plus shipping, which is thankfully the only way to get this stuff at present day. Their website claims that you can “convert” an 18-pack of domestic beer with just one of these little “taps.” Their slogan “Your Beer, Your Way,” lets us know who they are really marketing toward. At least OnTap doesn’t hide the mile long list of chemical ingredients on their packaging.
You want craft beer, but who has the money, or the time. Let’s just squeeze concentrated bullshit into some Milwaukee’s Best and call it a night. Side note, while searching for company info I stumbled upon this guy. If you can sit through it for more than a few seconds, he does touch on the extensive artificial ingredients that make up this stuff. I promise that if you had tried this stuff with me, watching him squirt it directly into his mouth would give you the same dry heaves it gives me.
So the real question is, what does it taste like? I’ll start by saying that this beer actually does what it is intended to do, make crappy beer taste better. Unfortunately, the way it does this is by making the beer taste so bad, that running back to the straight Miller High Life tastes like nectar of the Gods by comparison. Both of these flavors come in a small plastic bottle with a built in dosage regulator of sorts. You squeeze and a consistent portion is released. You never really notice just how close to water these beers look until you dose one with this stuff. A very heavy syrup cloud is slow to distribute throughout the glass and the stain it leaves behind on the head makes me wonder just how much of this stuff it would take to rot my insides. The package it came in even included a printed warning indicating that if the contents were volatile and that if shaken vigorously, the results would be similar to the famous Pepsi/Mentos reaction. Needless to say we tried like hell, but could only muster a foamier than average head.
The American Ale looks as nasty as it smells. The consistency is of caramelized soy sauce and the flavor is like a synthetic liquid smoke. My best approach at pegging down this flavor is a forest fire fed by wet rotting swamp leaves. The brand of beer really made no difference, as this stuff is the center of attention no matter what you dump it into.
The Pale Ale is at least sweet smelling, even having some fruitiness, but has hints of a foul grassy flavor. It stained the head an unnatural orange color. This version is equally ineffective at fooling you into thinking you are enhancing anything, but it is a lot more tolerable than the American Ale. Both flavors are made worse by the forced dosage of the delivery system. If it were simply able to be dropped in to taste the Pale Ale MIGHT slightly improve the taste of terrible beer in a very low dose. That is if and only if you can get over the aftertaste, which is the worst part of either style.
I don’t imagine there are many of our readers that would fall for something like this, but like a friend telling another friend that their fly is down before letting them walk into a crowded room, I ask you to please leave this stuff alone and join me in crossing my fingers that this company takes a nosedive into bankruptcy. You stand warned.
I hate this “beer”.