SCENE occasionally runs valuable coverage of beer and the beer industry. This is not that. This is Cheap Beer Review, a semi-regular feature in which I extol the virtues (or bemoan the failings) of various cans of pale yellow swill. It is a dumb feature, and I love it.
■ The beer: Mickey’s Fine Malt Liquor, the beverage of choice for idiots, morning drinkers and 19-year-old me. It’s available in sizes ranging from 12 to 40 ounces, including the classic 12-ounce “grenade,” which really is shaped like a grenade. This makes it perfect for throwing, which is a big part of its appeal. The sound of an empty Mickey’s grenade hitting the side of, like, a warehouse or an abandoned strip mall really brings me back to my youth.
■ The stats: 5.6 percent alcohol by volume, 157 calories, 10 mg sodium, 11.1 grams carbs, 1.1 grams protein in every 12-ounce serving. (So multiply those numbers — except the ABV, of course — by three and a third if you’re drinking the popular 40-ounce size, which is harder to throw than the grenade but makes an even more satisfying crashing sound.)
■ Official description: “Mickey’s is the fine malt liquor with a full body.” That’s the main description at www.mickeys.com. The website also includes the phrase “Get stung!” which makes sense because of the green-and-yellow hornet on Mickey’s labels. And it says “Celebrate responsibly,” which makes sense because that sounds better from a marketing standpoint than “Come on, man, get your life together.”
■ My description: Nostalgia aside, this is malt liquor and I just don’t care for malt liquor anymore. I have a mortgage. I drop my daughter off at preschool. I have a pair of shoes specifically set aside for mowing the lawn. I’m no longer the target demographic.
For what it is, though, it’s fine. It tastes better than Olde English, but OE has a higher ABV (a fact that’s important if you’re in the malt liquor stage of your life). If it were still 1998, and I was still trying to get drunk on two 40s for less than $5, I’d rate this higher. But I have no use for it anymore.
■ Recommended food pairings: Microwave burritos, White Castle burgers (or Arctic Circle, more locally), beans on toast. You can also make a classic Brass Monkey (that funky monkey) by drinking the first 6 to 12 ounces of a Mickey’s 40, then topping the bottle off with cheap orange juice.
To quote Elton John, “But then again, no.”
■ Overall rating: 5 out of 10. It had been decades since I drank Mickey’s before I bought a 24-ounce can for this review. It wasn’t as bad as I feared. I finished the can. I’d drink this occasionally if it were free and other beer still cost money.