TMS Beer Project: Hamm's

July 27, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Wolter

Even the can screams 'DRINK ME, IF ONLY TO NOT LOOK AT ME!'With the name Saloon included in our moniker, one could surmise that we here at TMS like to drinky drinky. One that would make such an assumption would be correct, thereby throwing out the whole, 'when you assume you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me' bullshit. We also like to plagiarize each other. In the same vein as the Wrigleyville Bar Project, we are proud to bring you another installment of the TMS Beer Project. The premise is simple: we review beers. Each rating will feature a variety of scores from 1-10 and comments from the bartender. This is a public service damn it. We don't want you to be the sucker who pays $15 for a six pack of some overrated Belgian cat piss. Now, we all drink massive amounts of beer so we know what we speak of. Each of us seem to have a favorite style of beer though. Will we be reviewing macrobrews like Bud and Coors? Oh you bet your Aunt Susie's ass we will. For purposes of this science experiment, and it is in the name of science, those will be the "control" group. Use them as a base line for when we review lesser known imports and microbrews. Without further ado, I bring you our next beer:


I think Hamm’s deserves a bit of a preamble. This venerable beer (first brewed in 1865, no doubt to celebrate the end of the bloody American Civil War) is in the same family of Cheap American Lager as the more commonly consumed PBR and Old Style, but of late has failed to be fully retrofitted into either the Hipster Community (like the former) or the Chad Community (the latter). Of especial note is the incredibly awesome vintage commercial featuring the Hamm’s Bear, that can be found on youtube:

Apparently, Hamm’s had a heavy sponsorship of Chicago baseball in the 50s and 60s, but as I have only been on this earth for 33 years, and in Chicago for 5, I do not see much evidence of this once mighty footprint.

Brewery: Miller. Which means it now joins High Life as The Only Two Miller Products I Don’t Hate. Seriously, if you’re ever in the Buena Park region and want 3 cans of Miller Lite that my dad left last time he came to town, let me know. The process that made it a Miller product is fairly tortuous: according to Wikipedia, the Minnesota-based Hamm’s family sold the brewery in 1968 to the Hueblein Brewing Company, then a long chain of mergers and purchases pushed its ownership through Olympia (“It’s the Water!”), Pabst (“It’s the Aluminum!”), Stroh’s (“It’s…affordable…”), and finally Miller (“It’s crap!”), which is actually owned by some South Africans now, apparently.

Type: American Pisswater Lager (If you know me, you know I don’t mean that in a bad way)

Receptacle: 12 ounce can. I’m sure you can get it in a bottle as well, but cheap beer belongs in cans, dammit.

Bring this guy back, dammit!Drinkability (1 being Jim Jones' kool-aid, 10 being the nectar of the gods): Ease of drinkability is at least an 8. If you can’t drink this, you are either the lightest lightweight in the history of lightweights or a pretentious ass that only drinks skunky hippie microbrews. However, if drinkability = flavor in your mind, knock this down to about a 5. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s moving into “making love in a canoe” territory.

Heartiness (1 being fresh mountain spring water, 10 being a pureed British steak infected with mad cow disease): 3. Hamm’s is, after all “From the Land of Sky Blue Waters.”

Intoxication (1 being your friend's weird pentecostal grandmother high on Jesus, 10 being Boris Yeltsin on a week long bender in the Crimea): 3. Maybe 4 on an empty stomach. An ABV of 4.73% pretty much means you need to really pound the everloving hell out of these to get too embarrassingly drunk. I downed about 5 of these with a burger and tater tots, and a shot of tequila, and I was fine. And I'm not a remorseless boozing maching like Dave "White Chili" Thomas.

Celebrities You May See Drinking This Brew: Well, I had it at the Holiday Club, so maybe Vince Vaughn. That and old Midwestern guys like Dennis Franz and Dennis Farina. Hell, any ex Chicago cop named Dennis that became an actor.

Affordability ($ being chiclets in Tijuana, $$$$ being diamond encrusted braised lamb shank from a trendy cafe on the Champs d'Elysee): ¢. This is about as cheap as you can get without choosing “American” Beer at Delilah’s on Punk Rock Night.

Overall: 8. But I love cheap, pisswater lager. My tastes in beer are pretty much either “High End Import” or “Under $5 a six pack.” The middle-of-the-road is for dead possums with yellow stripes on their backs. So, buyer beware!