Opinions
Jenny Lau/the Gauntlet

The value in brewing discontent

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This week’s Gauntlet includes our new drinking supplement and this has our editorial board feeling like critics. We spent our weekend sampling Calgary’s finest liquours all for the good of our loyal readers. But there was one line we should not have crossed. One burden we should not have bared. Our advice to you: never, ever drink anything from Minhas Brewery — it wins the Gauntlet Editorial Board’s award for worst liquour brand on the planet.

Two University of Calgary graduates started Minhas Brewery in 2005 and the company has since expanded at a frantic pace. Since their humble beginnings, Minhas opened a brewery and distillery in Wisconsin and a pizza restaurant in Calgary. Run by two siblings, Minhas breweries have developed a number of recognizable brands like Damn Good Beer, Mountain Crest Lager and Clear Creek Ice. Their success was built on the foundation of a brand characterized by aggressive marketing, inflated product descriptions and consistently terrible beverages.

The latest monstrosity is Boxer Watermelon, perhaps their worst product to date. It’s an 8.5 per cent alcohol, Jolly Rancher-flavoured play on their flagship beer, Boxer Lager. It comes in a massive 710 ml can that is sure to knock you on your ass. And it’s cheap. Really cheap. This is the one thing Minhas has going for it. Their beers are always the cheapest in the store. As university students, none of us are above drinking a budget beer. But we will not drink stinky, watermelon malt swill that tastes like it was brewed in a witches’ caldron.

You might notice Boxer watermelon ads on Calgary buses — Minhas always markets their new products aggressively. Before Boxer Watermelon, you couldn’t ride the train without seeing an ad for Uptown Girl — a beer for the woman who has it all. Before that, there were ads everywhere for Mountain Crest — a beer for the man who has nothing left.

Despite all their beers tasting like horse ass, Minhas insists on pretending that it sells a premium product. According to the Minhas Brewery website, Boxer is a “classic Canadian-style dry lager” paired well with sharp cheeses, grilled vegetables and robust pasta dishes. No, it’s not. At best, Boxer could be described as balsamic vinegar mixed with urine and soda water. And no one drinks Boxer with grilled vegetables. You drink Boxer at 2 a.m. on a street corner to wash down your Hungry Man Dinner from Chicken On The Way. You shotgun warm Boxer in the parking lot before getting in line for Cowboys Dance Hall.

Then there is Axehead: Judas of the 40 oz. In high school, Axehead was something of an urban legend. At 11 per cent, it is the strongest “malt beverage” sold in Calgary. And like other Minhas products, it’s cheap and tastes like turpentine. It just might be the only drink on earth that has never been sipped. If your friends buy a bottle of Axehead, consider it a cry for help.

As a student, your money is scarce. Consider this a warning and check out our drinking supplement to find some better alternatives.

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