First up in the Best Brew Beer Mary Challenge is a popular Midwest brew, Grain Belt Premium. For those of you unfamiliar with Grain Belt, shame on you. To me, Grain Belt just tastes like, well, beer. When I drink it, it reminds me that this is what a beer should taste like. It’s cheap, it’s tasty, it has a smooth, sippable quality, and a discernable grain flavor. It’s like drinking the Midwest and amber waves of grain.
Fun fact: Grain Belt’s name is a nod to the geographical area of the country referred to as the “Grain Belt,” whose span includes southern Minnesota and is where the finest grains can be found.
But I digress. Say you drank one too many Grain Belt’s the evening before, leaving your head pounding with amber waves of pain. A Beer Mary is surely the answer, but how does vegetable juice taste with Grain Belt?
Note: Beer Mary’s use approximately a 50/50 ratio of beer to vegetable juice. Personally, I prefer to add more beer than veggie juice, but to each their own.
I found that V8 mixed with Grain Belt alone left much to be desired. The two seemingly cancel each other out, creating a watered down flavor (which is ideal if you’re looking for something that won’t immediately make you ralph, like taking a whiff of tequila the morning after a bender will). Add some hot sauce or whatever you’re able to grab while feebly fumbling around in your fridge to add some flavor.
Grain Belt Premium mixed with Clamato created a much better flavor. The grainy, beer flavor of Grain Belt shines through, mingling nicely with the flavorful Clamato. Adding just a dash or two of Tabasco really kicks it up a notch. So does a salt-and-peppered rim and a celery stalk, but if you’re hungover, it doesn’t need to look pretty.
Overall, I give Grain Belt Premium a respectable, passing grade of B. The Grain Belt Premium Beer Mary needs just a little assistance to make it great, and it is that very effort that is lacking whilst in the midst of a wicked hangover.