Beer Review: Bud Light Chelada — a slap in the face to the traditional blend

Every culture has its own customary mixed drink creations; the Germans are famous for combining their pure Reinheitsgebot brews with carbonated sodas or fruit preserves. In Mexico and many other Central/ South American countries, there’s a tradition of mixing light beer and Clamato. In classier circles, this drink is referred to as a Bearded Clam. Thirsty yet? Didn’t think so.

Chelada is a 4.2% ABV blend of Clamato Tomato Cocktail, made by Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages and Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light. With salt and lime added. Fishy corn tomato salt lime; now that’s what I call beer.

While out on the rounds doing my part in the Tournament of Tacos, a large quantity of Chelada was discovered at Acapulco Grocery. I’ve read reviews on this beer, which usually leave me in tears from laughing, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write one of my own. Cheers to Brian and Taylor for moral support and for shelling out the $1.99 so that I could subject myself to this deliberate gross out. As the other food site contributors assessed Acapulco’s taco offerings, I settled down with my 16-ounce can of Chelada and prepared to hold back the sickness.

Printed instructions on the can remind me not to shake this diabolical beverage, but it was too late, my hand was already trembling with fear. To start, it’s been roughly seven years since a mainstream domestic beer passed my lips. And Clamato – I’m not suggesting that it’s an inferior beverage, it’s just not how I like to run my refreshment game.

Without any kind of container to pour this Chelada into, I had to consume the foul concoction directly from its can. I used my shirt to scrub off the years of miscellaneous dirt that gathers on Chelada cans in tiny ethnic grocery stores. After a fair amount of stalling, I cracked it open and stared into the tiny hole. Dear. God. It’s pink. At this point I realized drinking from the can is probably a good thing. I definitely didn’t want to see the full appearance of this cocktail or stir up the bits of clam snot sediment that have, no doubt, settled to the bottom.

The brew, if you can call it that, had the aroma of a Bloody Mary as smelled in a seafood market. The fishy, spicy tomato essence mixes with a slight sweetness from Bud Light’s signature adjuncts.

My initial reaction to the first sip — something is very wrong here on so many levels. It’s an unhappy marriage of offensive flavors. Very much like a Bloody Mary, only dreadfully salty and a little fishy. Mouthfeel is macro domestic fizzy, tomato creamy, and watery all at the same time. I’ve never tasted clam ass, but if I ever do, I am 100% confident that it will taste like Bud Light Chelada. Pass the mouth bleach, please; my work here is done.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with mixing light beer and Clamato. It’s regional and authentic, a celebration of cultural tradition. But premixing, therein lies the beer/custom crime. The novelty is ruined, reducing the drink to a can of mass produced, crappy, fishy, tomato beer.

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