Brewsday: Steeler Lager
Look, there are going to be those days when you don’t want your palette challenged. You have no interest in fine, subtle flavors; you have no inclination toward breathing through your nose as you take your first sip. It’s the third week of October, you’ve spent the better part of the day with a power leaf mulcher (if you’re lucky) or a rake and garbage bag (if you’re not), you still smell like rotten vegetation and unfortunate slugs, and you’re pretty sure you could bang through a few beers without even knowing what brand they are.
Enter: Local discount beer. We’ve all got them within reach, those beers that you would never serve anyone else, but that would serve you just fine when you couldn’t care less what you’re drinking, as long as it’s cold and alcoholic. They cost a dollar a bottle, and better yet, they can be found in gigantic novelty cans that offer the opportunity to drink beer a litre at a time.
The question is, should you?
In the case of Steeler Lager, it really depends on what’s important to you.
For example, are you highly active in labor politics? Then you’ll be interested to know that, as the label proudly proclaims, Steeler is “Union Made.” I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean to your drinking experience, but there you have it — if you want to strike a blow for the proletariat, presumably drinking Steeler will help you do that.
On the other hand, do you enjoy making jokes about poorly-made union products? Because if so, then Steeler Lager is Christmas in a can. Ever since first spotting it in the Beer Store (yes, we really have such a thing in Ontario), I’ve been having an absolutely marvelous time making up slogans for a product whose only apparent differentiator is that it’s made by a Hamilton trade union:
“Steeler Lager – The most refreshing thing since your last contractually-mandated break period.”
“Steeler Lager – We’d have added flavor, but that would have put us into overtime.”
“Steeler Lager – If you don’t like it, file a grievance.”
…aaaaand so on.
Or perhaps, are you interested in a beer you can chug hard while you watch football? Then Steeler absolutely has your back. With 5% alcohol content, very mild carbonation, only the mildest flavor and no aftertaste to speak of, this is a rapid-consumption beer of choice. Heck, it’s even got the same color scheme and name as a popular NFL team, just to help you align with the theme — because when you’re showing up to watch the game with the guys, you absolutely must fit in with the theme.
Or maybe you don’t actually like the taste of beer? But you want to be seen as a beer drinker for some reason? Tired of your friends making fun of you ordering Whiskey Sours when you go out? Or you’re sixteen and you need your brother to buy you something that won’t make you choke in front of your friends? That’s where Steeler comes in, bro’. Sure, there are all the elements of a beer present, but it’s pretty much like drinking soda water with some yeast in it — and once you’ve made it through a litre of this, you’ll have the confidence to move up into brews that actually taste like something.
Steeler is a product of Lakeport Brewing, who seek to be known for their beers of modest quality at a “fair price.” They advertise on local radio, featuring blue-collar guys in earnest conversation about how plain old beer is good enough for them, trying their hardest to convince you that fancy flavors are for fancy people with money to waste. Those fat cats in Washington might have money to waste on beer that tastes like raspberries, but plain honest folk? They just want a union-made can of fizzy yellow water that helps Sunday afternoon move a little faster.
The thing is, plain honest folk can do better. The most popular brands in Canada aren’t that much more expensive, and even if budget really is the issue, there are plenty of other novelty-huge king-sized cans of beer that have more going for them. I can get just as much Faxe or Old Speckled Hen as Steeler for the same price, and if I really feel like supporting Canada, I’ll just get Labatt Ice and leave my Tylenol out on the counter for tomorrow morning.
Rating: 2 Steelers out of 5.