La Biere Amoureuse?
Today I am going to talk about bad beer. No, I’m not going to bash the mega-breweries. That said, I had better quickly describe what I consider “bad” beer.
Bad beer is beer that has been badly conceived, badly brewed, badly presented, badly marketed, and tastes terrible. This is to differentiate it from “not-so-good” beers. These are beers are well conceived well brewed well presented well marketed, but have some sort of flaw. Perhaps the beer lacks balance, mouth feel or character. Or perhaps it is either to sweet or too bitter. Further indictments can be handed down for strange flavors, strange aromas, and strange mouth feel. I can remember a couple of years ago, receiving a can of beer sent to me by a reputable brewer. I opened that can and finding it full of viscous beer. I knew at once that that was a production quirk. After receiving another shipment of the same brand I had a “good” can of beer and something entirely different to write about.
I’m sure every brewer dreads something like that happens. In the restaurant business, there is an old adage that goes; “If you have a satisfied customer, they will tell their friends. If you have an unsatisfied customer, they will tell the world.”
No matter how good the restaurant or how good the brewery things happen that are unfortunate. I can understand the frustration that small brewers and craft brewers feel when distributors mishandle their beer. Pallets of beer sitting outside in ambient temperatures of over 90°F are not enhanced by the situation. That beer, when delivered, unfairly represents the brewery. Beer that is abused lets you know.
In the past I’ve answered the question “What is your favorite beer?” Answering that question, I was as truthful as I could be. Now, I will tell you about my favorite “bad beer.”
As I remember it, it was back in 1992.The Fischer Brewery of 67 Schiltigheim, France decided that they were going to put a beer on the U.S. market. They did their market research and found the majority of the beer sold in supermarkets was sold to female customers. They knew the female market was very large in the United States. And so they went to develop a beer that would appeal to women. The results of their research came in a product called 36//15 “La Biere Amoureuse”. If you were from France it made sense because that was the telephone exchange number that you could call an open a line to talk “naughty” with people. The back label read; “Discover the beer for intimate occasions. Lovers come together, sharing their deep his feelings, their strongest desires, and the mystery of 36.15 Fisher. The exotic beer from France. Ingredients: Ginger, cardamom, cola, licorice, Myrtle, ginseng, eleutherocoque, cinnamon, Myrrh, mango.” Never, ever, ever have I heard of a beer with those ingredients.
It gets better. For some very strange reason, the neck of the bottle came covered with a plastic capsule-like arrangement. The result was a bottle of beer that looked very much like a vibrator. I’m sure the French have a sense of humor about their sensuality. I can only hope that that was not reflected in the production design and marketing of this beer. The day it was introduced in the United States there was a press conference. If I remember correctly, at the table where I was sitting, the universal agreement was that this was definitely a “bad beer.” It had all the qualifications: the design was bad, the concept was bad, the product was bad, and the presentation and advertising was terrible.
And so my friends, if you are looking for a definition of bed beer. I give you 36//15 by Fisher. If anyone has worse, please let me know.