What is the swill beer of your country?

Inspired by this thread, I was wondering if truly bad beer was strictly an American phenomenon. I’m a beer snob, and I’m well aware that many breweries in the United States produce some of the best beers in the world. Still, though, we can’t deny the presence of swill like Old Milwaukee, Koch’s Golden Anniversary, Hamm’s, Old Style, Natural Light, Red White and Blue, Meister Brau, and Milwaukee’s Best – affectionally called “The Beast”. These are your grandfather’s beers, and proof that the term “old fashioned” doesn’t necessarily imply quality. Today, such beers are enjoyed by very poor high school and college students, lower income rural dwellers, middle-aged heshers and groders, and of course, your grandfather.

Swill beer can’t be an only-in-America phenomenon. Friends in Ontario tell me that when they can’t afford to buy even Labatt Blue, they head to the Beer Store for a two-four of Steeler. What is the LOCAL swill beer in other countries? Surely there has to be bad beer in Germany Belgium, the Czech Republic, and the UK.

As a former Navy man, I can tell you there’s bad beer worldwide. And I’ve consumed a good portion of it.

Elmwood thank you for making me laugh. I have not heard the expression swill beer since the 80’s…and I agree with your choices. Now I spent 4 years in Arizona, and have drank my fair share of nasty mexican brew. And I’ll say the nastiest beer I’ve had there was Tecate. Tecate should never be drunk on an empty stomach, or with any sort of greasy food…

Yuck, this is bringin back memories of getting drunk for one of the first times at 15 in 1984 on Milwaukees best. i think it was a 30-pack and I remember the aroma to this day…excuse me for a moment, I need to ralph…

I’m sure there are more, but the best known swill beer in Germany gotta be “Oettinger”. It usually is the cheapest too.

I bought a case of “Meister Brau” in San Francisco once. Fierce.

Maaaany years ago on a road trip, a friend and I were sampling beers we’d never heard of along the way, a lot of which elmwood listed in the OP.
I think it was in South Dakota, we found Fox Deluxe. What horrible disgusting crap that was. To this day it’s the only beer I couldn’t finish, and we threw out the other 4 at the next stop.

Oh yeah, just thought of a related story.

We were on a fishing trip to Quebec. We checked into some “Lodge” somewhere way in the hell out there. There were three groups of us which met up along the way. A few guys from California, some guys from Ontario, and three from New York/New Jersey, about 10 of us in all.
After driving 70 miles in a van on a dry gravel road, we were ready for much beer. We go into the main hall and sit at a couple of large round tables. There’s no one else in the place. A guy finally appears who looks more like a guide than a waiter and asks us in French what we want. Since we’re from all over the place, we order a bunch of different beers, Bud, Blue, Canadian, Coors, whatever. After nodding at each order, the guy goes away and comes back carrying a 24-bottle beer case. He proceeds to set the contents on the table. Every beer was an Old Milwaukee. :eek: (Definitely a swill beer).

We needed a beer, so we all dug in. We can’t seem to locate him again, and since the place is so casual, we go to the cooler to help ourselves.
There’s no other beer in the cooler or stacked behind the bar than Old Milwaukee. They must have hijacked a semi.

After a couple of hours, we were looking to leave. We finally found him again, so we could pay the tab. He just added up the number of empties we stacked on the bar.

For those of you in the rest of the world, OM is not the most popular beer anywhere (probaby including Milwaukee) and to find it in North Bumfuddle, Quebec was like finding a McDonalds in Tibet.

We used to buy generic beer from the Eagle gorcery store where I grew up.
Yellow can, black “BEER” on the side. I think it was about $1.25 a six-pack.
If you drank enough, it would give you a headache, but that’s all it would do for you.
I think it was made by Pearl (Texas swill label, a little lower in quality than Lone Star).

I can’t believe the US, Canada, and maybe Germany are the only countries with swill beers. Surely there must be bad “I can’t afford anything better” beers in other countries.

I think a lot of other countries have “It’s the only beer we have, so who cares if it’s shite” beer.

Well, contrary to what the American commercials would have you believe, Foster’s is not “Australian for beer.”

It’s Australian for piss.

Beat me to it, mhendo. If they’re managing to flog Fosters overseas, you’ve gotta wonder about the quality of the competition there. Here in Australia, noone drinks Fosters.

But we’ve got another couple of crappy ones too. We also have Melbourne Bitter, the beer of choice for drunken vagrants everywhere, and Geelong Bitter, which is just goats’ piss. Personally, I can’t stand Toohey’s New either.

I think the Fosters in the U.S. tastes different (better) than the Fosters in Australia. I’m with you on the Tooheys New, lambchop, and I’m not too fond of the Tooheys Extra Dry, either. Blech.

Vietnam’s 33 is frighteningly bad.

I’ve had some really bad Chinese beers. I think their only decent one is Tsingtao.

Brazil’s Antarctica gave me a really bad headache.

Mamaia beer in Romania was really good, BTW, and only 35 cents a bottle.

I’ve only ever met one person who drank Harp. I’ve heard it’s quite popular in some places but it’s universally hated over here.

In the UK, I’d go for Carling. Eugh, nasty lager.

Foster’s in the UK is nasty too. Given the choice, I’d rather drink rat’s piss.
(Fortunately, I have a fridge full of Stella at the moment, so keep your rats to yourselves for the time being.)

In the UK the swilling beer is “lager” - there are lots of different brands but they all taste the same (that’s not to say they’re cheap mind).

Also most breweries produce a weaker proper beer (what you might call ale), this isn’t necessarily an inferior product but it’s meant so that you can drink a lot of it without getting trolleyed.

The breweries call these “session beers”, where I come from they are known as “boys beers” or “training ales”.

As to the cheapest beers (these aren’t usually sold in pubs)- the absolute bottom of the heap are the superstrong ciders - around £2.00 for four pints. This crap is only drunk by chavs and snaggle toothed tramps in bus shelters.

Most supermarkets have an own brand cheap-as-chips weak-as-piss beer.

Ironically; probably the chavviest supermarket in the UK sells rather good lager for next to nothing. Ladies and gentlemen I give you - LIDL lager (it’s really not that bad and only about 50p a tin - they are german after all).

The swillingest beer though has to be Federation Ace lager - as drunk by that thirsty family man 8 Ace - I drank this as a student as it was incredibly cheap but it is shocking stuff.

I hate stella with a passion - it is vile tasting and so full of particulates even a couple of bottles will leave me with a stinking headache. Never gonna touch the stuff again.
(Saying that, I like Carlsberg and I know how many people love to slag it off as piss too!) :slight_smile:

I’ll agree with Yojimbo on Harp lager, it really is awful. Yet it was the classy, imported lager in many bars I visited in Japan. Imported=good, allegedly.

I think people commonly perceive the worst beers to be the local ones, and the best are those imported from afar. It is a “grass is always greener” mentality, a psychological conundrum.

Or something.

I think “country” is too big of an entity if you want to talk about shockingly bad beers. Truly awful examples of the brewers art are more often regional horrors.

In my opinion, one of the worst offenders in America is the F.X. Matt brewery in Utica, NY, which ironically produces some fantastic stuff under the Saranac label.

Not only did the master craftsmen at Matt produce the “beer ball,” beloved of highschoolers everywhere, but they also gave us masterpieces like Utica Club (ten times worse than Carling Black Label) and Knickerbocker (made from 100% real feed corn).

It was also a sad day for confirmed tipplers in Albany when the Schaefer brewery closed down.


I spent my formative years in the area around Rochester New York … the swill brew is genesee, and genny cream ale.

I still am boggled by that being considered a premium beer in Norfolk Virginia when I moved down there. Made parties cheap though, I would just throw 3 or 4 cheap as hell cases in the car whenever I visited my parents=)