Head for the Mountain (Brew)

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Good beer is a glorious thing — but there’s a place for cheap quaffable brews like Coors Light or Keystone on a hot Summer day, especially when served bone-chillingly cold. You don’t gaze at the head on a beer like this and contemplate its complex personality. No, you guzzle it down your burning throat to put out the fire and numb your brain.

That said, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Stewart’s Mountain Brew Beer Ice.

Stewart’s sells Mountain Brew for the stunningly low price of $2.99 a six pack, but you can pay a premium — as I did — for a single can at $.75. Who could resist the packaging, with its Olympics-style graphics of people engaged in various sports? Mountain Brew Beer Ice is presumably for after sports, not before or during.

Pouring the can, I was surprised by its golden color and hearty head. As for the taste, I found it unpleasantly sweet. I’m not an expert in writing about beer, just drinking it, so here’s what a few people said at Beer Advocate:

“Smell seems to be metallic, rice like and not too pleasing. You really need to stuff the sniffer in the glass in order to get a whiff. This may not be worth it though, as I said, scent is not very good at all.”
“It smells like a dirty sock and tastes like leftover bologna.”
“I’d rate the drinkability on this brew around average, due to an excellent price, and surprisingly easiness to put away a few when served at the proper temperature, ice cold.”

Examining the can a little more closely I found what I was looking for: “Genesee Brewing Company, Rochester, NY.”

Moutain Brew is Genny. That’s not as big a surprise as “Soylent Green is people” but what do you want for $.75? So… what’s your favorite cheap beer?

31 thoughts on “Head for the Mountain (Brew)

  1. Mountain Brew seems like the alcoholic cousin of Mountain Dew. But with cool pen-handwriting-like font.

    I’ve got a crazy love for Genny Cream Ale in glass bottles. It tastes so… creamy. That was the only beer I’d drink before I started drinking beer.

    PBR is also a solid cheapie. I’m not much of a beer drinker, so I’m pretty much okay as long as it doesn’t taste like much.

  2. I tried Mountain Brew. After mowing the lawn on a hot day, I opened the can and took a deep gulp. Almost instantly, I was whisked back to 1995, in an overcrowded dorm room with NIN pumping in from somewhere (everywhere), in Rochester,NY. We drank Genny Ice becuase it was cheap and strong. I would not suggest anyone drink this who is of age and has more than just change from the depths of the carseat for purchasing beer with. Oh yeah, and for the record Gennesee Brewing company is not near any mountains.

  3. The Genesee Brewing Company actually does quite a few beers that are not the “Genny” label in their brewery. Honey Brown is one of them…among others.

  4. There’s a beer out of Wilkes-Barre called Gibbons. Cheaper than Genny, or it was years ago. Tasted like it, too.

    I drink Sam now. There comes a time to put away childish things, like college beer.

  5. most cheap beers these days are made in giant mega breweries and the original recipes for some classic brands (piels, schlitz, narragensett, etc) have been altered to maximize cheapness blandness (aka ‘drinkability’) and are pretty interchangable. even though genny is hated by many, at least it is one of the few cheap beers that actually has a bit of body and distinct flavor. I actually enjoy it, as long as we aren’t talking about genny ice.

  6. Thanks for “taking one for the team”, but I’ll stick with Sam Adams Summer Brew.

    Is there a Champale or Zima experiment coming up next? Please don’t do that. We need your wit and keen observations.

  7. i do miss grabbing a few shaefers from the garage fridge and hoping the old man didnt notice.

  8. @shortbus-My old man was a Rupert Knickerbocker guy ( my Uncle Herman worked in the brewery), but I always did love the taste of those purloined lagers.
    Geez, I just remembered my favorite “sophisticated” cheapie, Pennsylvania’s own Stegmaier Porter. Had some body and most people would leave most of my $4.00 case alone at a party because they didn’t appreciate the finer things in life.

  9. I’ve had five cans of it in the back of the bottom shelf of my fridge for months. I couldn’t bring myself to get past the first sip of one can, but part of me thinks throwing even really rotten beer out is alcohol abuse, so I couldn’t bring myself to leave it on the curb either. I drink Genny all of the time, it’s my reliable cheap beer in these tough times; this stuff is more like DEgenny. Like Genny devolved.

  10. Missing my Carling Black Label days. Also fond (but dim) memnories of Naragannsetts from Stewarts. Now that I am older and (hopefully) wiser I like Kona Brewing’s Fire Rock Ale. Mighty tasty!

  11. Any Yuengling fans out there? Price Chopper recently had four-packs of 16oz cans, which I find to be a very satisfying packaging option.

    Up the food chain a bit, I saw the same four-pack configuration with Saranac Pale Ale at Oliver’s in Albany. Pint cans of Saranac is sort of awesome.

  12. Narragensett gets my vote- haven’t found it for years- I think it was something like $5.95 a case and the inside of the bottle caps had little picture puzzles.

    Of course, it’s no Penn Lane Pilser, made with that clear Delmar spring water..

  13. Soylent Green! Classic (?)movie from an era gone by.

    Just like the Schaefer, (my dad’s preferred beer), memories of my youth!
    “Schaefer, is the, one beer to have when you’re having more than one!”

  14. Did you say Smirnoff Ice?

    Someone told me I needed to try Utica Club, and I’ve had my eyes out for the stuff. But I can’t seem to find it. In the meantime I’ll stick with my PBR and Genny.

    It helps if you don’t think of it as beer, and rather a relaxing summer quencher. Much like a white wine spritzer, but for men.

  15. for any narraganssett fans out there, it’s still available in rhode island. i was out there a couple of years ago with a bunch of friends and we picked up a keg of it. surprise surprise, guess where it is brewed these days? that’s right, rochester NY at high falls brewery (genny brewery). it was a weird cloudy orange color, but not too bad otherwise

  16. Kotch’s Golden Anniversary. $5.99 for a case of 24 cans (back when I went to Plattsburgh State in the early ’90’s.)

  17. Always read the label. Some “micro” brews are brewed under contract by a larger brewery. For instance, Boston-based Sam Adams only in the last few years has had a brewery in Boston.

    I brew my own draft beer from scratch for around $0.50 a pint.

    1. bernd: I need to get the fermenting bucket out of the basement and take another crack at brewing; the results were always pretty good.

      It’s pretty common for small labels to contract out brewing and packaging. I’m OK with that, but their marketing doesn’t exactly advertise that their exotic “Small Town Ale” was really made by FX Matt, do they?

  18. I forgot to add: Who remembers Old Frothingslosh? It was advertised as “The beer with the foam on the bottom”. I once bought a case of cans for an unbelievable $5 or $6 and brought it to a party. Only late at night when the kegs ran out did I put it out there for everyone to enjoy. It was quite a commodity when nothing else was to be had.

  19. You didn’t drink beer in Albany if you never drank Hedricks. When you made more room in your bladder/kidneys, the ensuring fragrance was unique to the brew. A blind man could tell what you had been drinking.

    When Dobler closed in Albany, wasn’t it brewed for awhile by Narragansett.

  20. I picked up a six-pack of the Stewart’s Mountain Brew Beer Ice yesterday. $3.53 (including tax & deposit) is quite a bargain. After reading your blog I just had to try it out of curiosity. It was actually not that bad. Not great, mind you, but not as bad as, say, Schlitz. I would say the 6-pack was a good investment. And with this 90-degree weather we’ve been having, the remaining 5 cans will go down nicely!!

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