Saturday Night Blue Collar Brew Review

For tonight’s brew review I dipped back into the Binny box for the final time. This is the last of the stash I bought on that road trip my wife and I made to Orland Park at the end of July. Well, not the very last of the stash, more like the penultimate beer of the collection. What remained was a 4-pack of DogFishHead 90-minute IPA and an 8-pack of Little Kings Cream Ale. You may remember as I very well do, the “unique” experience I had with Founders IPA, or as I called it, “rubberband beer.” As I learn more and more about the different styles of beer and what those respective styles taste like, I can now safely say that an IPA, or India Pale Ale is not and will not be in my repertoire anytime soon. The DogFishHead will remain in the darkness for quite some time to come. (Hell, I still have 3 Founders IPAs left from last time.) I may muster up enough courage to try one in the future just to see if my previous IPA tasting experience was a fluke.

Tonight it shall be Little Kings Cream Ale brewed by the company of the same name out of Wilkes-Barre, PA. I heard some kind words about Little Kings; the Beer Advocate rates it as “Fair,” so let’s give it a try.

Understand that Little Kings comes in an 8-pack of 7-ounce green bottles. First, they’ve got the green thing going. (Pfft!) I wondered whether the little beers were skunked. Second, the 7-ounce total capacity per bottle threw me a bit. Let’s see, that means this 8-pack has a total of 56 ounces of beer. A regular sixpack contains a total of 72 ounces. This 8-pack is 16 ounces short of a full sixpack. This means that Little Kings could have added two more bottles of beer, making a 10-pack and still come up 2 ounces short of a sixpack. In this case, more is less. Be mindful of this if you decide to try it for yourself.

It took a while to cool down my garage calculator after performing all of the above higher math functions and soon it became review time.

I poured the first little green guy into the glass. Hmm, that just didn’t quite make it for me. I grabbed another shorty, uncapped it and continued. There. That’s much better. The liquid poured up a nice golden yellow with a moderate amount of bubbles. The head, however dissipated quickly. The aroma was that of a mild, beery flavor, ever so slight.

The first sip went down very easily. It was full of a good, robust beer flavor with hardly a hint of bitterness. Although the beer is a “cream” ale, there’s no thickness to the liquid and the beer tasted very savory. Quite good, actually. There was hardly any dryness in the mouth and a minimum of thickness (“cack”) towards the back. The taste sat predominantly on the sides and tip of the tongue. This beer has all the big flavor of many of the other craft beers, only in a really little bottle.

The sips continued. The flavor settled back and relaxed making it easier to grab another pair of beers. Although I can’t classify this as a lawnmower beer, it’s certainly a session beer, an easy drinker. The second set of twins went down as easily as the first set.

Green bottles, 7 ounces per bottle, all of this perplexes me from a marketing stance. Why do they make us work for this one great glass of beer? Why will we have all these thousands of empty short bottles scattered about? Perhaps they’re keying off the word “little” in Little Kings. And also maybe because Budweiser has the term “king” in their back pocket. Surely, Little Kings could make life so much easier for those of us who like to drink beer from a brown bottle, 12 ounces at a time. They’d probably sell more beer as well.

Little Kings Cream Ale is a definite winner in the actual beer category. The taste, smoothness and all that goes with it spells out a wonderful drinking experience. This beer loses a bunch of points in their packaging, though. Luckily, packaging is not rated here. I recommend picking up an 8-pack or two. Just remember, each 8-pack is 16 ounces shy of a full load. Your 8-pack will really be a four-and-a-half-pack. So pick up a 16-pack and you’ll wind up with a nice 9-pack. Or something like that. Anybody following this? Am I the only one who… nevermind.

The SixPackTech ratings for Little Kings Cream Ale are:

Taste: A– > Manly taste from a wimpy bottle.
Smoothness: A > Like the back of your head after a fresh haircut.
Drinkability: A- > Eight puny bottles? Is that all you got??!!
Bang for the buck: C+ > $6.49, price I paid for the 8, extrapolated to a sixer of 12 ouncers.
ABV: 5.5%
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: “I was expecting kinda creamy. It’s a little drying to the palate. It’s not horrible. It makes you wanna have something to drink.” (Absolutely… amazing…)

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4 Responses to Saturday Night Blue Collar Brew Review

  1. fretwalker says:

    Try it again, if you can find it.
    The brand was recently re-acquired by its original brewer, Hudepohl-Schoenling of Cincinnati. It’s been reformulated back to the original recipe, a vast improvement over what you tasted!

    The idea of the little bottles is to keep them cold; 7oz is gone before it gets warm!

  2. fcgrabo says:

    This is great info. I appreciate your informing me. Next time I shop, I’ll check for the brewing company. Maybe I’ll get a 16-pack based on your advice.


  3. fretwalker says:

    The original recipe just came back about a month ago, I’ve only seen it in cases, so far (@ appx $15) Packaging still says “Little Kings Brewing Company, Wilkes-Barre, PA” Your retailer might know if it’s the original recipe. The real “proof of the pudding” is in the peppery tang that shows up halfway through the 2nd bottle and into the aftertaste, unlike the cardboard aftertaste of the Snyder version.


  4. Howie13 says:

    Actually, the only brewery in Wilkes Barre Pa. is the Lion brewery which makes Lionshead, several Stegmaier brand beers (the amber is excellent) and some Pocono brand beers . They also make Gibbons and Bartels beers. The Lion also does quite a bit of contract brewing, putting out beer under many other names such as Lemp St. Louis, McSorleys etc, etc. My point is that the Little Kings you had were probably contract work for another brewer/owner of the Little Kings name.

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