In the Beer Lab
A serious study on the terribleness of On Tap Liquid Beer Enhancer
Do you want to drink craft beer but you’re concerned about people seeing you buying it? Do you only buy your groceries from gas stations? Do you wonder how you can make your Miller Lite taste even worse?
Well, fortunately for you, On Tap Liquid Beer Enhancer exists. Pegged on its site as “a revolutionary new way to enjoy beer,” On Tap is a MiO-like container designed to turn your domestic light lager (Miller Lite, Bud Light, etc.) into a beer that tastes like a craft beer.
A friend emailed me about On Tap last week with the instructions to “please destroy this.” Although I considered it after visiting the On Tap website, I also saw an opportunity to drink beer during work hours. So I ordered one each of the Pale Ale and American Ale flavors to be delivered from Centennial, Colorado.
Miller Lite with On Tap tastes like someone chewing flavored tobacco lightly spit in your beer.
After tasting them, I wish they had been lost in transit.
It was a fairly simple — and thoroughly scientific — taste test. Four glasses, three beers and two On Taps. For the domestic light beer, I chose Miller Lite because, well, I like Miller Lite the most out of that pack.
To compare how the On Taps did, I chose Fat Tire and Sierra Nevada as my craft beer stand-ins for American (amber) ales and pale ales. They’re both well-known crafts that are as close to embodying the essentials of ambers and pales as any other beer out there.
You know what isn’t close to embodying the essentials of ambers and pales? Miller Lite with mystery liquid in it.
It’s hard to overstate the inherit awfulness of On Tap, but I’ll try. American Ale has an odor that is something of a mix between vanilla, caramel and tobacco that is disturbingly close to what Camel mellow snus smells like. Which is to say, it does not smell like something you want to add to your beer.
If you do decide to squirt some into your Miller Lite, then you should probably just watch it dissolve in the beer and then pour it down the drain and think about the life choices you’re making.
If you make the wrong decision and keep the beer on your table, you’ll notice that your Miller Lite is, in fact, darker, almost as dark as the Fat Tire. Strangely, it still tastes like Miller Lite with the addition of a vanilla-caramel-flavored tobacco lightly spit in the beer. Not a heavy spit, mind you. But it will make you think, “Why does my Miller Lite have a flavor beyond bubbly water?”
Moving on, I’m pleased to tell you that On Tap’s Pale Ale is much, much worse, because it actually changes the flavor of your beer.
Let’s start with the smell. The Pale Ale “enhancer” smells like melons if you’ve only encountered melons as a flavor in Tropical Starburst. Luckily, pale ales smell exactly nothing like melons, so it’s a good start.
Although the American Ale-infused Miller Lite still mostly tastes like a Miller Lite, the Pale Ale Miller Lite is an unholy blend of the flat and empty feel of Miller Lite, coconut water and the aforementioned Tropical Starburst.
Surprisingly, the squirt of liquid carries almost none of the hoppy flavor of a pale ale, probably because that’s not how brewing works. It’s 100 percent sweetness that will remind you of a pale ale the way that a microwave burrito reminds you of steak.
On Tap is an utter failure in execution, whichever way you look at it (price, flavor or just general stupidity). Who are these mythical light beer drinkers who aren’t cool with buying craft beer but want the flavor of a craft beer?
Don’t buy On Tap. Don’t even buy at it as a joke or a gag gift. It’s not even funny.