21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon: A One Sip Wonder.

I found out something new on Saturday night.  I found out that 1) it is possible to judge a beer with only a single sip, and 2) some beers are so bad that they are not only judgable with one sip, but really don’t deserve the one sip they get.  Unfortunately that is the case with 21st Amendment’s Hell or High Watermelon.  Perhaps they should have just stopped the name at Hell.

I really wasn’t expecting this beer to rock my world, just the opposite really, I picked it up on a lark and figured it might be a fun little brew to have for warmer days.  Well, warmer days finally arrived, so I thought I would crack into it and see what it was about.  It is a wheat beer that is flavored with watermelon to give it a fun little flavor for lawn mowing etc. and at 4.9% it is a great little session brew to play with.

Well that is what I went in thinking.  When I poured it and took the fist sip, I literally almost vomited.  It is perhaps the grossest beer I have ever had the displeasure of crossing my lips.  Now I immediately thought it might be skunked, but it really shouldn’t have been.  I did buy it about six weeks ago, but it has been sitting in my fridge the whole time, and it was in a can!  That kinda prevents skunking as long as it doesn’t get super hot.  So I’m pretty sure it wasn’t turned.

This stuff started out like a lager then turned vile.  It tasted like a lager that had been paired with a piece of rotten watermelon rind. Imagine a Budweiser with a rotten watermelon rind in the glass and let it sit in the sun for a day or two, then can the stuff.  This is what this tasted like to me.  I literally could not take another sip.  I really couldn’t get it to the sink fast enough.

So how about you?  Have you ever had a beer that was so bad you couldn’t take a second drink?  As usual, let us know in the comments.


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42 Comments on “21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon: A One Sip Wonder.”

  1. Rob Crozier
    May 18, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    I’ve never had a beer that bad. I guess there’s some beers that should never have been made. I did recently try their Live Free or Die IPA – its was pretty good and I know you guys have raved about Monks Blood – so give 21st Amendment a slap on the wrist and a time out for brewing such a stinker.

    • Don
      May 18, 2010 at 10:46 am #

      I agree completely Rob, I may even send them to their room with a peanut butter sandwich for dinner. It was gross, and you are right, I really like their Brew Free or Die IPA and the Monks Blood is amazing. Funny thing is I had my last Monks Blood after I poured this one out because I had to have something good to get the bad flavor out of my mind and palate!

  2. May 18, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    Wow, that was not my impression at all the time I tried this beer. To me it basically tasted as you might expect a watermelon beer to taste. Maybe there was something wrong with your sample? I have also noticed sometimes that I get greater inconsistencies from canned (craft) beers as opposed to bottles… as in, there’s an occasional unpleasantness I can pick up from time to time.

    • Don
      May 18, 2010 at 10:49 am #

      Maybe you are right Brad, because if You had had this beer I’m pretty sure you would have agreed. It was absolutely disgusting. Either that or our palates are different and you are like some thrill seeking adventure drinker. 😉

  3. May 18, 2010 at 10:49 am #

    Never did this with a beer, but I’ve definitely done it with wines that I refuse to even COOK with. Like this Ed Hardy wine…was only able to make a sweet, sticky reduction with it that I used to top ice cream: http://bit.ly/bpaxUC

    • Don
      May 18, 2010 at 10:54 am #

      Well at least I’m in good company. I could not compel myself to take that second sip, and I did “lubricate my kitchen sink drain pipe” with it.

    • May 19, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

      I cannot believe you bought that Ed Hardy wine. But then again — you told yourself so!

      I’m getting sick of seeing Ed Hardy’s played out art on everything under the sun: perfume, hair dryers, luggage, clothing, and now light beer and wine.

      • Katie Pizzuto
        May 19, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

        It really is insane….he’s plastered everywhere. And I can’t believe I bought it either, but it just goes to show you that even the strongest and nerdiest of beer/wine drinkers get sucked in at some point or another by a label. If nothing else, it’s made a great rolling pin.

  4. May 18, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    I really like Hell or High Watermelon. It tastes to me exactly like you had hoped it would: A nice, light beer with a hint of fruit to have on a warm day, in your backyard or at the beach. I could see how others wouldn’t be so thrilled with it–the watermelon is a strong taste–but not so much so that they would maybe vomit. Maybe it was a bad batch? Well, either way, I hope your next sip is more pleasant 🙂

    • Don
      May 18, 2010 at 11:16 am #

      Charlotte, one of two things is at play here. Either 1) I got a bad can of the stuff, or 2) I just hate it. I’m not sure which. I am sure of one thing however, I’m not gonna spend another $1.89 to find out.

    • Don
      May 18, 2010 at 11:17 am #

      And BTW, welcome to the Blog. Hope you come back and comment often. 🙂

  5. May 18, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    Funny post Don! I’ve not had this, but thought it was pretty widely acclaimed. We don’t get any 21st Amendment around here. I would avoid it though. Fruit beers of this nature aren’t my thing, and watermelon in general I avoid (besides Watermellon Jolly Ranchers).

    I had this beer over the weekend and just about lost my dinner upon first sip. It tastes like baking soda, sweet and low, lemons, cheap pilsner, grain, and dirt.


    • Don
      May 18, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

      I like the dirt part! Jim loves his summer shandy. Maybe you would like that better. I don’t know. Glad to know I’m not the only one who has had this horrifying experience.

  6. May 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    Mmmm. @Nate gotta find out what beer that was!

    Don – I know we don’t agree on everything, nor should we, but looking back on my review of this beer I found it to be pretty good. I was afraid it would be too watermellony, but it tasted like a nice wheat beer with some watermellon. Nice. I think, as others have suggested you got a dud somehow and you can’t be blamed for sinking that. I’d give it another shot.


    • Don
      May 18, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

      I don’t know Scott, unless it came from the brewery turned I think it was the way it was supposed to be. One other thing I though might have influenced my taste was the fact that I drank it afer my pilsner throwdown, and perhaps my taster was just a little off, but I hated it. Maybe I can convince my beer guy to open one up at Brewforia so I can get a taste without shelling out the $ for another can.

  7. May 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    We don’t get any of the 21st Amendment down here, so i will have to wait until this summer to try it.

    But as to your question, the worst beer I have ever had – and could not get past about the 3rd sip – was Dave’s Cave Creek Chili Beer. Truly a wonder of horrendousness. I poured it after 3 sips, and was still burping up that damn chili pepper three days later.

    • Don
      May 18, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

      Sean, that sounds awful! I think it must have been that second and third sip that kept the gastronomic forces working on you for 3 days. One sip per day! Fortunately I stopped at one.

  8. Elena
    May 18, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    This was my favorite beer all last summer, I love it, but to answer your question I tried an Avery Fifteen last week and did not want to take a second sip. I forced my self to take that second sip but that was it.

    • Don
      May 18, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

      Well, there is no accounting for taste Elena, that is for sure, because while you loved this brew and hated Avery 15, I thought the fifteen was amazing and hated the watermelon beer! I wish it did for me what it does for you, but I can’t stand it!

      • Elena
        May 18, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

        definitely a question of taste…I just can’t get past the hay/stable/barnyard kinda thing with the 15 to enjoy it.

        • Don
          May 19, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

          I like the barnyard thing. It makes the brew “Interesting”.

      • Elena
        May 19, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

        I’ll definitely not disagree the ‘interesting’ characterization, just not my thing. My husband insists I have to expand my palette but I’m cool with what I like. There are enough choices out there.

  9. May 18, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    Watermelon lemonade: YES!
    Watermelon beer: H-E-double-hockey-sticks NO!

    Thanks for taking one for the team, Don. Some fruit beers are tolerable: Pyramid Apricot Wheat or Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. Some are downright wonderful: lambics and raspberry/blackberry stouts. Still, there are others that are an abomination, Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss and a beer made with watermelon. I would not buy this stuff on principle, and now you have reaffirmed my principles. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • Don
      May 18, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

      Well tex, I figured I love beer, I love watermelon, watermelon beer should be great! Seems to follow and logically it should be correct, but It does not. Never were two flavors meant to be kept apart. Next time I think this is a good Idea, I’ll pop the cap off of a Kona Longboard Lager and cut a slice of watermelon and go to town!

  10. May 18, 2010 at 8:35 pm #

    You got a bad batch, because I usually find this beer in late summer/early fall, and it wasn’t being served at 21A when I visited in February. I’ve had this beer from the tap at 21A and in various cans. It’s everything you hoped it would be 🙂 Keep an eye out for the fresh stuff in August

    • Don
      May 19, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

      I did not. I had it again at my beer store yesterday. It was awful. Never drinking it ever, ever, ever ever….etc. ever!

      • May 19, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

        You sure you didn’t get another bad batch? Better have a third tasting, just to make sure. 😛

        I’ve yet to have a drain pour. The most vile beer I’ve ever tasted was Sam Adams’ Triple Bock. Granted, I had it last year and I’m sure the beer is far past it’s prime, but it tasted like straight-up soy sauce.

        I think it would’ve made a great marinade, but it was the worst beer I’ve ever tried. Still, I’m actually grateful for having tasted it; now I know!

        • Don
          May 19, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

          Not gonna happen Daniel! It is the beer itself. It sucks! In my Humble Opinion. Can’t believe you have yet to have a drain pour. Ive had two now. One was a vile X-Mas Belgian that was just gross, but at least I made it about 1/2 way through that one.

  11. May 19, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    I’d have to almost agree with Don here. It’s not a drain pour for me but it’s not good either.

    • Don
      May 19, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

      I’ve just decided it sucks. I’m never going to like it, and I’m kind of like Scott with Pumpkin brews here, I think the style should work, but this one is awful.

  12. Krezner
    July 1, 2010 at 9:40 am #

    I have to agree. This might be the worst beer I’ve ever had. Not only that but it was friggin’ expensive, $11 for a fancy packaged six pack of CANS! I bought the IPA as well…eh, alright but there are much better offerings out there. Those are the only two beers from this company that I’ve tasted and based on the quality, price, and excessive and tacky packaging I don’t think I’ll be trying anything else.

    Great Blog though. Well done!

    • July 1, 2010 at 10:10 am #

      The only thing I’ve had from 21st Amendment is Monks Blood, and I loved it. It’s a sweet and gutsy treat and I was shocked to find a beer with so much character in a can. I can’t speak to any other of their beers, but based on Don’s review and other stuff I’ve heard, I’m a little hesitant to spend my $$ exploring their offerings.

  13. Bill
    August 18, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    I just “tried” 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon beer last night. Our neighbor came over for hot dogs and beans and we were low on beer. He had some of this in his refrigerator and brought it over.

    Without a doubt, it is the worst beer I’ve tasted and I’m 57 years old. Even during my college fraternity days in the early 1970s I don’t think I could have convinced myself to drink this stuff (and I wasn’t very choosy back then). I’ve read some of the reviews online and most are favorable it not downright positive. I guess I don’t get it.

    Never before have I taken one sip of a beer and poured the rest of the can down the drain, but that’s exactly what I did last night. I just hope it didn’t harm the plumbing.

    • August 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

      I had this at Brewforia in Boise with Don and Rick and a homebrewing couple. Based on the bashing Don gave it here, I actually thought it was tolerable. I like watermelon rind, which helps, and I actually found it mildly pleasant. I wouldn’t ever purchase it, but it wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be.

    • Don
      August 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

      My sentiments exactly Bill. I have tried it three times now and each time I take one sip and pour the rest out or give the rest away. I can’t understand how anyone likes this beer. Gross!

  14. Bill
    August 18, 2010 at 9:49 pm #

    “…it wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be.”

    Damning with faint praise? My mother used to make watermelon rind pickle. (I grew up on a farm in Virginia where we canned, preserved, and/or pickled just about everything.) I liked watermelon rind pickle but I can’t say the same about this beer. I’ll give Don a lot of credit for trying it three times. Once was enough for me. My neighbor left the remainder of the 6-pack here (he didn’t want them). The beer will go down the drain and the empties into the recycling bin.

  15. beerilo
    August 27, 2010 at 4:55 am #

    Don you’re a punk.

    An example of a bad beer is Rheingold, Rolling Rock or PBR.

    Hell or High Watermelon is a decent wheat beer. It tastes like your average normal tasting microbrewery wheat beer.
    An example of a hideous wheat beer is the new Budweiser Golden Wheat . Truly vile
    On the other hand their new American Ale is excellent.

    The nice thing about Hell or High Watermelon is that the watermelon taste is not sweet so there’s nothing insipid about it.

    The only reason people don’t like tit is because psychologically they can’t are just not ready to like watermelon flavor and beer going together. Watermelon is considered low class. How can you be a beer snob and go for this? That’s what your mind is saying subconsciously, and the damn thing comes in a can, what an insult.
    I’ll tell you how, it tastes good.

    Look, here’s a test for you. take your favorite wheat beer and add small amounts of natural watermelon extract. Do three glasses varying the amount of extract added.

    If you don’t like it you are never going to like a watermelon beer made by anybody.

    • Don
      August 27, 2010 at 10:11 am #

      We’re gonna have to disagree on this one. Since I wrote that review I have had several other drinks of that vile concoction and all I can say is you can have it! I love watermelon. I ate half of one last night for dinner! I love beer. I think the tastes would go together brilliantly. I can’t tell you how excited I was to try this beer, and how disappointed I was on my first drink. It was like I wanted to spit it out it was that gross. I don’t have to take your watermelon extract test, because I know I would like it. This just is bad beer in my book, so there it stays.

  16. King
    August 6, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    Have to disagree with your review..had a fresh one just last night and it was pleasantly delightful. Nice balance and hints of watermelon. I went back to store today and they had sold out (clerk said they sell out every week)

  17. Roger
    May 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    Quite possibly the best beer I’ve ever had. However, I enjoy a little fruit in my beer. I very much enjoyed Pete’s Strawberry Blonde before it was discontinued. This beer is so smooth that it tastes like they melted butter into it. After the initial wheat taste you get a snap of watermelon. It has a “hot summer day” feel to it. I would probably drink it exclusively if it were available in my area. In fact I found this review in an attempt to buy it online.

    • Don
      May 18, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      It’s funny Roger, there is such a varying opinion on this beer. I did this review 2 years ago, and this beer never ceases to disappoint. I try it every time it comes out, and hate it just as much every year. But I alos know that this is one of the most popular beers that 21st amendment makes. So there is no accounting for taste. I can’t stand it, and many many people love it dearly. Kinda funny actually how varied opinions can be. Good luck in your search for it.

  18. Neil Hever
    July 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Beyond the shadow of a doubt, Hell or Highwatermelon is wretched. How many experienced beer drinkers does it take to say – “no, it was not skunked. It is just bad.” I had a taste from a flight taken right from the keg here in Allentown. At first I suspected it was skunked. I was assured it was a fresh batch. Next, I thought someone farted in my glass. Finally I asked my pal Tom who keeps a record of all the beers he has sampled (2,000 and counting) and he said it was the worst he had ever tasted. The only thing worse than it is Tiger Ale from Singapore – and that has formaldehyde in it! Neil H.

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