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Bad Beer Alert: BOXER Lager

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From my "Random Slice of Life" file . . . experiences, advice, happenings, and glorious results of a misspent youth.

Mmmm-MMM! Looks tasty doesn't it? Looks can be deceiving.

Mmmm-MMM! Looks tasty doesn't it? Looks can be deceiving.

A Warning to my Fellow Beer Drinkers

I'm generally not a picky man when it comes to beer. I've never really developed a "loyalty" to any one particular brand or label, which can probably be traced back to my years as a beer-can collector during the '80s and '90s. Lord knows, I drank some absolute swill in those days for the sake of putting new and interesting cans up on my shelf! I retired from can collecting in the late '90s, but to this day, I still enjoy checking out new and interesting brews. I am far from a "beer snob"—I can enjoy a cheap, mass-produced big-name "corporate" beer just as much as an expensive, limited-edition micro-brewed IPA, especially on a hot day.

When people ask me what my favorite beer is, my standard line is "When I can afford it, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. When I can't, Pabst Blue Ribbon." Over the years, there have been VERY few beers that I simply couldn't stomach, but I recently made a new addition to that list... "Boxer Lager," from Wisconsin's Minhas Craft Brewing Company.

Yecccch!!

Though Boxer has apparently been available throughout the Midwest for several years now, I had never heard of it or seen it here in New Jersey till about three weeks ago, when I stopped at my favorite beer store and found it on a shelf in the cooler under a colorful shelf tag screaming that it was "ON SALE!" because it was "NEW!"

The price was a reasonably cheap $3.99 for a six-pack, which seemed like a good deal for a supposed "craft beer" to me, so I picked up two sixes. After taking the twelve beers home and properly icing them up, I popped the top on my first can, and once I got a whiff of the stuff and inhaled the skunky aroma, I immediately knew that I'd made a mistake.

Want a decent cheap beer? Genny Cream Ale hits the spot.

Want a decent cheap beer? Genny Cream Ale hits the spot.

I've had some difficulty trying to accurately describe Boxer's taste, so let me tell you a quick story. Back in my college days, my drunken friends and I drank a lot of Stroh's—which was terrible, but we loved it anyway, because it was cheap, of course. It also was the first beer we'd ever seen that came in a 30 pack rather than the traditional case of 24.

Anyway, after one particularly intense Stroh's marathon, I was gazing at the half-full can in my hand and observed that "Stroh's" spelled backwards was "Shorts." I went on to say that this seemed appropriate, because the beer tasted like it had been filtered through someone's shorts. (Twenty plus years later, my friends still claim that I "ruined" that beer for them forever by making that comparison.) I was reminded of that night when I took my first few sips of Boxer—because, you guessed it, this stuff tasted like it had been filtered through someone's old pair of boxers.

YUCK does not even begin to describe the taste of this fizzy, yellow, watery swill. This was supposed to be "craft beer?" The fellas at the Minhas Brewing Company must be using a very loose interpretation of the term "craft."

Sadly, Pawtucket Patriot Ale does not actually exist. If it did, however, it would probably still be better than Boxer.

Sadly, Pawtucket Patriot Ale does not actually exist. If it did, however, it would probably still be better than Boxer.

Savor the Flavor...(barf)

When I drank my first can of Boxer I honestly couldn't tell if I liked it or not. It had a weird, overly sweet flavor going in, and a bizarre metallic aftertaste when swallowed. My first impression was, "Ehhh, it's kinda lame, but it's not the worst thing I've ever drank," ... but as I moved on to the second, and then the third cans, the true horror of Boxer Lager began to take hold of me. The beer's syrupy sweetness became more pronounced with each sip, and the aftertaste became even more sickening, so it became progressively harder to drink with each subsequent can I opened. By the end of the third can, which I literally forced myself to finish, I was thinking, "Dear Lord, this stuff is awful...and I have NINE MORE of these @#$%'ing things!"

Some of you are probably asking yourselves, "Why didn't this guy just pour the other nine down the sink and go buy some GOOD beer?", which is a perfectly reasonable question. The answer is that I simply cannot bring myself to waste any beer, no matter how bad it is. In other words, if I paid for it, dammit, I'm gonna drink it!!

The remaining nine Boxers sat in the back of my fridge untouched for several weekends before I felt brave enough to give it another try. It was a warm Saturday afternoon, and I'd spent much of the morning moving furniture around, so I definitely needed a beer....ANY beer. Grimacing, I decided to try something different. Rather than drink directly out of the can, I cracked open a Boxer and poured it out into a pint glass. I found that by letting it "breathe" for a minute or two, Boxer became slightly more palatable (You'll note I said "slightly'). Don't get me wrong, it was still pretty awful, but at least it was slightly less awful. Using this "pour and breathe" method, I was able to finish off the remainder of the twelve-pack over the next couple of days. When I tossed the last empty can into my recycling bin, I said "good riddance" and vowed that this demon brew would never darken my door again!

"Beer of Champions?" Seriously?

Ratings

After doing some Net research on Boxer, it would appear that I'm not the only one who can't stand this stuff. On Beer Advocate, the "go-to" authority website for beer nerds, Boxer currently has a rating of 59 out of 100 (which translates to "awful"), and the majority of its user reviews are absolutely vicious.

"Hard to drink" is a common complaint, while other users attacked its "sour, wet vegetable smell" and compared its taste to "rotten bananas." Wow! At least I know I'm not alone in this! I have resolved that from now on, I will be bringing my smartphone with me into the beer store, so I can check the ratings of any new and unfamiliar brews on Beer Advocate before doing any more blind buying. I do not wish to make this mistake ever again!

Boxer's main selling point seems to be its rock bottom price. Lots of breweries offer their wares in a 30-pack nowadays, but Boxer goes all of them one better by offering a 36 pack (!!) which can be had for less than fifteen bucks at most retailers. I can't fault them for giving beer drinkers more bang for their buck, but I can only imagine how hard it would be to try to plow through 36 cans of this slop. Boxer's target market must be binge drinking frat boys who will drink anything, because their taste buds have been completely deadened. Unfortunately for Boxer, it's been a long time since I was a binge drinking frat boy!

I think I've made my feelings on this beer perfectly clear by now, but just in case you come across Boxer Lager (or its counterparts, Boxer Ice and Boxer Light) at your local beer store, do yourself a favor and treat it like you would treat an explosive device: clear the area immediately!! Give me some Olde English 800, Steel Reserve, Crazy Stallion, Milwaukee's Best Ice, or any other cheap crap beer you can name and we'll party till dawn, but this stuff is of the Devil. This has been a public service announcement from the Cheap Beer Baron. You've been warned!!

© 2014 Keith Abt

Comments

kevin on April 07, 2020:

only beer that i would not finish. and I drink a lot of cheap beer. sweet corn flavor is what I remember. nasty

John on January 30, 2020:

Holly smokes, its GLuTEN FREE BEER!

try ordering a toufu steak. As far as gluten free beers go, this is a 4/5 score

E.R. Ellquist on January 13, 2020:

Tastes like it was filtered through someone's shorts, eh? Why do you think that they call em "Boxers"?

Andy on January 13, 2020:

I tried boiling brats with that beer and and the brats jumped out of the pan and said no way

DudeWaffle on January 11, 2020:

Why would you buy TWO six packs of a cheap beer you havent had before?

Jon Prell on January 06, 2020:

Hamm’s or Hamm’s Light I’ve done blind beer taste tests and people like it if they don’t know that it’s Hamm’s

Bill on January 02, 2020:

I've always said that Minhas brewery is a neat brewery. Its too bad they don't know how to make good beer. Every one I have tried is awful.

Steve S. on December 31, 2019:

I bought a 36 pack of this stuff back in November 2018 for $14.99.... there's still 8 of them in my fridge. Reserved for offering beers to people I don't like.

Mike T. on December 26, 2019:

Well, I like it. Taste is subjective.

HappyStarDiaz on December 25, 2019:

This is the only beer I have thrown away in my entire life, couldn't even make beer brats with it the whole house smelled like it tasted. Undrinkable. That signature Minhas industrial runoff taste. They do contract brewing too, so if you see any store brand beer with a made up brewery name from Monroe Wisconsin run very far away.

yahalligan on November 01, 2018:

For cheap beer, I thought it was good.

Wisconsin on March 24, 2018:

You had some bad stuff apparently. This beer is my favourite. If only it was Guinness I could afford again.

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on January 03, 2018:

Thanx for the kind words, Linda.

L Sarhan from Huntsville, Alabama, USA on January 03, 2018:

I am enjoying your reviews. Most of the stuff, including Boxer Beer, are things I haven't heard of. What I love the most about your reviews is your narrative and the way you organize each review. Each review is thorough, well-organized, and really gives consumers more than enough information to make an educated decision.

Side Note: Sounds like Boxer Beer is just as bad as the "acting" in their "commercial". Their stiff body language and pitch differences and over all awkwardness screams their real thoughts - that the only thing this beer is championed for is being the loser of all beers. ;)

Buildreps from Europe on April 02, 2015:

Boxer beer! It's all in the name, Keith. It makes you go KO from the inside :) Thanks for the warning...

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on March 30, 2015:

Hi Lee... I hope for your sake that Ireland never allows this swill within its borders!!

Lee Cloak on March 30, 2015:

Many thanks for the advice, i'll keep an eye out in case this stuff makes its way to Ireland, Thanks, Lee

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on January 12, 2015:

Hi raydeen - I salute your intestinal fortitude for giving Boxer a second chance... it's not an experience I would want to revisit any time soon, though. Bleah! Haha. Thanks for the visit.

raydeen on January 12, 2015:

I've had a 50/50 experience with Boxer. So far, from two different distributors, I've had two cases that were about in the same league as Shaeffer, Hamm's, etc. (good cheap if uninspiring session beer) and two cases where a good 1/4 to 1/3 of the case was just plain skunked. These were the 36 packs. The only reason I went through four of these things was the first one was bad so I figured it was a fluke or bad batch. The next two were alright. The fourth though was back to bad.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 04, 2015:

i have never heard of these beers, must be the local beers with with their medicines

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on September 05, 2014:

You're welcome RandallJonas... it's awful indeed!

Randall Jonas from Canada on September 05, 2014:

This line you wrote had me laughing and remonded me of my sordid youth:"Dear Lord, this stuff is awful...and I have NINE MORE of these @#$%'ing things!" Thanks for the review, that stuff sounds horrid!

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on August 25, 2014:

Hi Scott... yes, you most definitely must!!

Scott A McCray on August 25, 2014:

Still snickering...awesome PSA article.

Must.Avoid.This.Beer.

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on June 21, 2014:

Yep, "carbonated sewage" pretty much sums it up...hahaha!!

Ken Williams on June 21, 2014:

Exactly! I had never heard of it so I was hoping it was an exotic brew full of flavor and mystery. Instead it was filled with skunky, awful carbonated sewage.

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on June 21, 2014:

That must have been a disappointment..."Woohoo, free beer!" and then "Bleahhh!"

Ken Williams on June 20, 2014:

I had the misfortune of trying a boxer after a friend left a few in my fridge.

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on June 20, 2014:

Never heard of Southpaw, Georgie... sounds like something to put on the "avoid" list!

GH Price from North Florida on June 20, 2014:

I think I'll stick with the Landshark in my fridge. I'm saving it for a special occasion!

My brother once bought a case of Southpaw beer and apparently it tasted like horse pee. He did say it might have skunked though.

Maybe stay away from beers that reference boxing. Or run for your life.

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on June 20, 2014:

"Duff Beer for me, Duff Beer for you; I'll have a Duff, you have one too!"

Johnny Caito from SAN DIEGO on June 20, 2014:

Some of those cans remind me of the Duff Beer cans on the Simpsons! I will steer far from this swill.

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on June 20, 2014:

THAT is an excellent description, mcbel!! Hahahaha!!

mcbel from New Hampshire on June 20, 2014:

I've had this. It tastes like blueberry upchuck.

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on June 20, 2014:

Cheers, rustedmemory. If this Hub has spared you from trying this godawful swill, then I've done my job....

David Hamilton from Lexington, KY on June 20, 2014:

Thanks for the heads up. Life is too short to drink bad beer. Cheers!