Beer Review: Walgreens Big Flats 1901 beer

Beer Review: Walgreens Big Flats 1901 beer
Schoolbus-itron marvels at finding a beer even paler than he is.

From Chicago Breaking Business:

Walgreen Co. has quietly rolled out a private label brew. The product, Big Flats 1901, will carry a suggested retail price of $2.99 for a six-pack of cans and $11.49 for a 24-pack, the company said.

It will be the private label beer for Deerfield-based Walgreens in states where it’s allowed. Prices may vary by region. The chain began selling the beer in mid-December and it’s now available in more than 4,000 locations, a company spokesman said.

What isn’t in the article is the fact that the beer was “created” by an outfit called World Brews, Winery Exchange Inc., which makes up “house brands” for many store chains. They’re responsible for the “R.J. King Wingwalker,” “San Lucas” and “Buck Range Light” beers at Jewel, as well as off-brands of wine and vodka.

I laid into a 6-pack of Big Flats as soon as I saw it. For $3 per six, what could I lose. Here are my tasting notes:

The can says “Brewed by Brewmaster’s Choice, Rochester, NY,” so Genessee is the contract brewer involved. Can also says “Genuine Beer,” “Brewed from only the choicest hops,” and “It’s the water that makes it.”

Sadly, this can has a skunk odor when opened, which I thought would not happen in a can. Poured in a beer’s best friend, the Sam Adams glass, it shows very pale, nearly clear in the narrow section, with a fizzy macrobrew head. After settling, the smell still can’t clear of a slight skunk, but some of the adjunct is coming in beneath it. Taste is of some banana esters, a little acetone and corn syrup. Some hop bitterness is discerned, and some graininess, or maybe that’s flaked maize instead of corn syrup. I feel a headache coming on after finishing it. Bubbly and a little sticky at the finish. In other words, exactly what I’d expected. Though I wish I could be surprised once in a while.

Call this one star out of five. If this is the best you can afford, maybe you should consider your position.

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  • Well, I just had to try the beer myself today and I've drank one and so far no headache. Maybe because of my viking ancestors I'm able to handle this type of beer. I actually found it to be rather smooth. Plus the picture you have of the beer in the glass appears to have been watered down. My glass of beer actually looks like beer. Maybe some of us out there have been to spoiled from drinking the more expensive beers.

  • In reply to satguytn51:

    Well, to each his own, and enjoy what you like.
    I did not deliberately set out to make the beer look lighter. The photo was taken on my old cellphone with a cracked lens cover, so it was "pushed" slightly to look presentable, but not for color correction. Just be aware that a beer glass with a narrow bottom is going to show a pale lager as much paler in that area. And the photo gag just fell into place when my kid left one of his "Elated Meal" toys at the computer (Don't want to get in trouble by mentioning the real name of the fast food giant involved).

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    In reply to MRMcDermott:

    you fat bastard< you try to sound so sophisticated and shit , but i reality you know you drink just about anything .i bet your fridge is full of gig flats.

  • In reply to Aquiles Castro:

    That's nice. I'll leave this up for a few days so everybody can see your spelling.

  • In reply to satguytn51:

    I like all sorts of beer, from all three coasts, and around the globe. Hoppy and stout, IPA's and everywhere else. Okay, so it's $3 for 6, big deal. It tastes like old school Bud, deal with it...I buy it by the case for a regular brew and buy others for a treat. It's beer, bubbly and cheap. We're in a recession that is not predicted to end until at least 2013. What do you want? God bless Big Flats and Walgreen's.

  • In reply to harrymcm:

    Okay by me. Enjoy what you like! Cheers!

  • In reply to harrymcm:

    This is actually the best bang for the buck in America. I've drank it all like the guy above. I.P.A. to Milwake's Best Ice. This IS the best tasting mid-line six'er. I like it better than Keystone Light. More real beer flavor. Mostly like busch. $3.00 what a deal. You deffintly get more than you pay for here. Bless WALGREENS!

  • In reply to ChadBurk:

    Then bless you, and go enjoy what you like.

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    In reply to harrymcm:

    hell yea i'm with ya since i drink more then 2-3 drinks per night on average if you ask the doctor i may have a drinking problem i say your right 2 hands and only one mouth i will join you and say god bless big flats! i will keep the good stuff for the ladies in the fridge other then that i digging the 15 dollar 30 packs!

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    In reply to satguytn51:

    That photo is a total fraud. That has to be water, I prefer premiums beer, among my favorites are Red Stripe & Heineken but I've had Big Flats a few times and looks nothing like that at all. It actually looks like any regular beer. I've had beer in many different glasses and they do NOT make it appear that light of color. And there was no headache afterwards either. There's may be a slight Skunk aroma, but being fond of Heineken I didn't notice it with this one at all...

  • In reply to asking79:

    I do plan to pour a Big Fkats into a similar glass with another American macro pale lager to see if there is a difference, and to capture the process on YouTube. Please keep an eye peeled. Maybe I'm the one who'll be surprised.

  • fb_avatar

    "Call this one star out of five. If this is the best you can afford, maybe you should consider your position."
    this is all i needed to hear from this clown to know that if he has to bring class into the discussion then it's obvious to me he should be ranking wine with his less than stellar since of taste and smell......and might i add, thank you i will...... intellect. Where is your manners sir?
    Skunk smell? Dude, mix some greens into your diet and you might actually get a feel for the smell and, heaven forbid, the taste of this beer. just because it doesn't cost 9 bucks a six pack does not automatically mean we reject it from a discussion of worthwhile beer. although cost can be a determinant of the quality of beer, it's not a given and you've let the three dollar price cloud your already suspect judgement.
    i'm in harrymcm's camp, what exactly are you looking for in a three dollar a six pack beer? Come on! it is what is is and it's certainly a far cry above any light beer out there when we compare taste.
    ChadBurk, well said.

  • Geez Dude, your getting beat down here. I agree with the other commenters. The beer is actually smooth and tasty... not skunky as you suggested. Also, the color is much more amber than whatever urine sample you must have offered for the photo. Lastly, to suggest that if this is all I can afford, I should consider my position... is flat (Big Flats) insulting. It's probably the best beer buy in America! The fact that your self proclamation is that you "were born, after that it's all a blur", probably self disqualifies you from being an objective reviewer of anything in reality. Get yourself a different job, below the clouds.

  • In reply to i object:

    My qualification for this job is that I'm willing to add to the Tribune Co.'s content armory for free. That and I usually get articles by a Playmate of my generation on the right rail. I'm not going to try and change your mind, so don't worry about what I have to say. I just find it interesting that I've reviewed several beers since this article went up in the spring, and this is the only one that moves anybody to keep commenting. If I was really upset, I'd rip into the Big Flats Light out of spite. But instead, when I get more time, I may run down some of the cheap beers I have actually liked.
    If I started putting more of my bio in the rail, it would get long-winded and tedious in a hurry. Buy me a beer sometime and I'll talk all about it.

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    a cheap beer that doesnt taste like ass......not bad...just dont let other people see you drink one. The can itself is ugly.

  • i heard of big flats 8 months ago from my friend is fixed income i was making 50,000.00 per year every one made fun of him he quit drinking them i took off to help my brother that had triple a by-pass i have not went back to work in thee months i started drinking them because wagreens was close they are better than a lot of bugget beers and a few high dollar ones keep it up i could be a spokes person lol .

  • fb_avatar

    I thought that this was a fair review. Try drinking it for a week, and see how your health deteriorates.

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    In reply to Lee Anderson:

    Please, drink any beer for a week straight and see how your health deteriorates...

  • fb_avatar

    sweet full favored beer love the price

  • fb_avatar

    So, I was at Walgreen's today, decided to give this beer a try. I had seen that Consumer Reports actually rates the Light Version of Big Flats beer #1 when compared (blind taste test) to Bud Light, Coors Light, etc...... Overall, this isn't really bad. Actually, it's pretty decent. True, it's not the same as a good Belgian White, but what is?

  • fb_avatar

    I'm 56 years old and have been drinking beer for about 40 year and have tried probably 60 varieties of beer ranging from domestic and imports.I happened to be in our local Walgreens and happened to see the display. I purchased 2 six packs and got home cooled them down. I must say they were great. I went back and bought 2 cases and have been buying that much weekly..I won't buy any other unless it's discontinued..A+++++

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Deitz Rudisill:

    I'm 23 years and I've tried (I keep a list with my thoughts).....133 different varieties of beer ranging from domestic to exotic like Lion Stout from Gambaya Sri Lanka and Rodenbach Grand Cru.

    I've seen this and was pretty sure it would turn out to be total garbage...but maybe....maybe I will give this a try.

  • In reply to Rexx:

    You have nothing to lose by trying. Don't worry. Just jump in.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Deitz Rudisill:

    And sadly now it has been...

  • fb_avatar

    I just bought a six-pack of the standard variety and must say that I will be a repeat customer. Yes it is not as high-quality as others, but for the price it is refreshing and smooth.

    I did not detect any skunkiness, and like others have posted, my beer is not nearly as pale in my pilsner glass.

    Thanks for the review.

  • anyone else notice the body floating in the water to the left of the water wheel?

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