Drinking the Bottom Shelf »

Will Gordon drinks his way through the bottom shelf of the liquor store...so you don’t have to.

Bottom Shelf Beer: Lone Star

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Boston's been on a real weather roll since I moved back in June, which is one reason I've heroically chosen not to complain about the last couple days of rain. We've had it good, and nobody likes to hear winners whine. The other, even more transcendently magnanimous reason I'm embracing this second straight soggy gray day is that I actually appreciate that it could help the farmers. I mean for real, not just as a silver-lining platitude to spit at a kvetching elevator stranger.

Maybe it's because I've turned old and wise and maybe it's because I'm six months away from marrying into some primo health insurance, but for whatever reason I've become a long-view, big picture kind of guy who will gladly trade April showers for August tomatoes. I've also become a saver of sorts: I didn't drink beer on either of the rainy days, which means I get triple beer on the next sunny day. I have many things to live for.

I'm also awaiting something less exciting than tomatoes and beer. I ordered a new pair of jeans the other day, even though my current jeans still have a working zipper and an intact wallet pocket. In my reckless middle age I would have thought myself all set in the jeans department, but the newly responsible me checked the denim actuarial tables and determined that I will almost certainly need another pair before I die, so now I'm a UPS truck away from having spare dungarees. Responsible steward of my legs' future or pants hoarder? Fine line.

Buying clothes is even harder for me than skipping beer and praising rain, because men's clothes are stupid and boring and I'm pretty content to look sloppy forever as long as I can be around well dressed women. Women's clothing is great. You know what? It just this very second occurred to me that I might be a good candidate for cross-dressing. Hold on a minute, let me work this through .... Nope, no interest in wearing women's garments myself, just enjoy looking at them on women. Close one. Anyhow, as I was saying, I bought pants because there will be tomatoes someday, and I like women's clothes because they look nice.

Women probably use fashion to communicate all sorts of things about themselves, but I'm mostly just in it for the looking, not the anthroplogizing. One thing I have deduced, though, is that women in the Northeast often wear cowboy boots when they want attention, and if you fail to attend to their boots, they will speak at great volume and volume until you do. I'm sure this isn't universal among Northeastern boot-wearing women, but it's common enough to scare me off. Too bad, because a lot of the boots are cute and some of the booted are too.

I bet I'd like Texas then, as far as feet go, because in my brain's imaginary Texas, all manner of women wear cowboy boots for all manner of reasons that don't involve screechy neediness or, god willing, cows. Maybe Bottom Shelf research director Emily and I should consider a Texan honeymoon, then, where we can rent her some boots and drink us some beer.

I'm told Shiner is the iconic Texas beer these days, but you can't get it in New England or New York, so I had to settle for Lone Star as my research brew. Lone Star is now brewed by Pabst but it still seems plenty Texan, and I figured messing with a six-pack would give me a fair idea of what I'm in for in.

I need to start with the caveat that I tried Lone Star on a sunny Friday afternoon right after jogging and right before stepping out on the town, i.e, the ideal circumstances in which to enjoy a cheap, watery macrobrew. With that said, man, Lone Star is one delicious cheap, watery macrobrew when taken as directed. I repeated the experiment under neutral laboratory conditions the next day and wasn't as impressed, but I'll still call Lone Star better than a lot of its adjunct lager peers.

You can certainly smell the sweet corn when you pour it into a glass, so don't pour it into a glass. If you drink it straight from the bottle you still note the impressive carbonation while also minimizing the sugar smell, which leaves you a more open mind with which to evaluate the taste.

I recommend Lone Star over Budweiser et al. more for what it lacks than for what it has: The flavor is bland and simple, but it will inspire you to write home about finally finding a $6 six-pack of cheap American lager that doesn't have any hint of the stale cardboard/wet paper taste that mars most of the category. I'd like to say this notorious taste was replaced by hops or chocolate or glory, but instead I'll stick to the truth: Lone Star is good because it has no overwhelming flaws. So drink up, hoss.


About the author: Will Gordon loves life and hates mayonnaise. You can eat and drink with him in Boston or follow him on twitter @WillGordonAgain.

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