Last week, I wrote a blog making fun of the new OnTap Liquid Beer Enhancer, scoffing that a squeeze of some liquid into a beer can turn a bland, mass-produced lager into a fine craft ale.
The fine folks of OnTap stepped up, sending me a sample package of its two beer enhancers, the American Ale and the Pale Ale.
So, armed with these little bottles of liquid flavor helpers, I stopped at my local package store and picked up a 24-ounce can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, all set to put it to the test. Would it be possible to make PBR, a bland pale lager, into a finely craft ale with a few drips of the On Tape Liquid Beer Enhancer?†
First, I tried the American Ale enhancer. I followed the instructions – I poured 12 ounces of the beer into a glass and then added the American Ale enhancer to it and let it do its magic.
First off, the smell stands out. It smells like sweet malt extract with a hint of metal and maybe vanilla.
When I put it in the PBR, it became darker, and it smelled just like the undiluted enhancer.
But, the big question is how did it taste? Not very good. It had a strange, tin-like flavor and a cloying fake sweetness. It added flavor to the flavorless PBR, but not in a good way.
OK, test number one failed, so I moved onto the pale ale. I followed the same instructions.†
Now, when I smelled it, I knew I was in for an experience I wouldn’t forget. It kind of smelled like grass, mixed with medicine and maybe a really, really overripe melon, with a touch of eucalyptus.
The taste … well, again, it tasted bad. It tasted like medicine and grass and melon and just not a pleasant flavor.
In the end, the OnTap Flavor Enhancers did add flavor, but not pleasant ones. You can’t replicate a craft beer by putting in a few drops of something. If you want a good beer, buy it, don’t rely on this.