Over the years, my fascination with alcopops has slowly died. I’ve managed to stop looking at them in the supermarket, and they are usually corralled away from the proper drinks, helping me to avoid the memory of their existence. Unfortunately, they are increasingly encroaching on the beer shelves, from their initial beachhead in cider-land – I’m looking at you Kopparberg – and they occasional impinge on my consciousness. As such, I bring you another instalment of ‘I drink these things so you don’t have to’, featuring Amigos Black, Tequila and açai berry flavoured beer.
There is nothing right about the phrase ‘Tequila and açai berry flavoured beer’. While I’ve delved into the world of flavoured beer on the blog before with Buddy’s, I’ve managed to avoid Desperados and the other fruity, Tequila focused brands, considering them to be a step too far. However, it’s not often I see something that so effectively summarises everything that seems wrong about flavoured beer in one place, so it was a must buy.
Firstly, mixing beer and Tequila. I have no particular issue with depth-charging a shot glass into a pint, but it’s not something you do to carefully appreciate the subtle intricacies of the combined flavour of the beer and your chosen adulterant: it’s punishment. So, to choose a beer based on the fact that it tastes like a drinking game penalty seems to me to be a perversion too far. Unless you are m’colleague Rocky: he’s a Desperados-loving monster and is appropriately aware/ashamed of the fact.
Next we have the addition of açai berries. They’re the fruit of the açai palm and are popular in Brazil, both for eating and turning into drinks. However, outside of South America they’re known for one thing – bullshit health supplements. The berry is good for you, but pills based on it are also the centrepiece of a selection of scams, from dodgy ‘free trials’, to using Oprah’s likeness for fun and profit without permission. Its appearance on the front of a bottle of Amigos is far from shocking, and looks to just sneak in around the Portman Group’s1 rules on claiming health benefits.
Amigos looks to be the number two tequila-flavoured beer on the market, behind the ubiquitous Desperados. Although, as I only know of two tequila-flavoured beers, that’s not necessarily as big an accolade as it may at first seem. Amigos is produced by Global Brands, the same folks behind Buddy’s, Hooch and Reef, as well as distributors for Bundaberg rum, Goldschläger and Jägermeister knock-off Jungfrau Kräuter Likör.
In traditional fashion, I’ve had a look to see if they’ve done any TV advertising. While they don’t seem to have any proper adverts of their own, Amigos does have a YouTube channel, on which there are a number of end-of-ad-break ‘bumper’, leading into a program that they sponsored. Here is the shortest one:
I will leave that with no comment, as well no context to take away from the wonder of it2. Let’s see how well the Amigos Black stands up to my memories of their other fine products.
On the nose it is, quite simply, wrong. There’s a sweet burst of sugar-free Ribena, followed by something that starts out a bit beery but veers sharply towards lime scented floor cleaner. Behind that there’s some more beeriness, but it’s very reminiscent of the smell you get from a warm bottle of Corona after you’ve removed a plug of limp lime from the neck. On the palate it’s less offensive, but only inasmuch as it tastes mainly of Ribena – cloyingly sweet blackcurrant backed up by artificial sweeteners. Unfortunately, the Ribena doesn’t mask everything, with something that might be bitter hoppiness clashing with lime Fruit Gums and some sour grain. The finish is unmercifully long, with the taste of blackcurrant Strepsils (sugar-free, again), lingering far more than it should.
This drink makes me feel bad for the 18 to 24 year olds that Global Brands (and others) proudly announce they are targeting. There are so many better and cheaper things on the market, that expensive sweetener-laden filth such as this is just an insult to them.
Tequila Flavoured Beer with Açai Berry, 5.1%. ~£2 for 500ml
1 The Portman Group Code of Practice on Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks clause 3.2(j) says: ‘A drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way: suggest that the product has therapeutic qualities.’ If other companies can get away with listing ginseng amongst their ingredients, then I suppose having açai on your front label is just about allowable.
2 It seems that Plebs is a half decent comedy written by and featuring Tom Basden, a comedian I rather like. I might have to give it a chance, especially as they are no longer sponsored by Amigos.