The Cheapest Beer Challenge: Amsterdam

I like beer. The simplicity of that previous statement can't be easily quantified. I like it because, as John Lennon said, "reality is for people who can't handle drugs." Personally, I believe that drugs are for people who can't handle beer.

Now, some people can't seem to stomach cheap beer, but I believe that as long as it can be legally sold in a container, it's good enough for me. There are already plenty of wine reviewers out there, but not enough beer reviewers. Well, I wouldn't call myself a beer connoisseur. I'm just a guy who's monetarily-challenged and whose life goal is to find a beer so cheap, that drinking it saves me money.

For Science
Of course, what country you're in is going to affect beer availability, so I can only vouch for one location at a time. Since I'm currently in Amsterdam, I'll vouch for the beers available here. Part of the selection process involves a very scientific process I have developed myself and which is called, "buy 5 euros of a single brand and drink it all." My review of that beer won't go into detail concerning the palette or the aroma or any of that fancy crap. Instead, I'm going to write about a beer only if I think it delivers enough bang for 5 euros.

I've already "tested" nearly every brand of beer in the Albert Heijn, the Vomar, and the Dirk van den Broek supermarket chains. Two beers stood out in the José Abreu Cheap Beer Challenge -- which has been on-going without rest for quite a prolonged period of time now -- and those two beers are: Gulpener Gladiator, and Holtland.

Gulpener Gladiator has an alcohol content of 10% and is about 2 euros a liter. It has a sugary kick and slightly bitter aftertaste. Don't expect any more details, it simply taste like something that a man should be able to handle. For 5 euros, I started the New Year's puking over a balcony. Gulpener Gladiator is what I call a "mid-range down-on-his-luck-alcoholic beer," given the sometimes prohibitive price of 2 euros a liter. I began the new year with Gladiator, and I'm inclined to say that so far it has been rewarding in that I began writing again after a half-year hiatus, but also painful in many ways, and not just for my stomach. Gulpener Gladiator giveth pleasure, it also bringeth pain.

Gulpener: creative fuel for my third novel
Holtland is "recycable"
Holtland, on the other hand, is what I describe as a "down-on-his-luck rock-bottom-alcoholic beer." It's 76 eurocents a liter, but only 4.2% alcohol. However, given that it's a third as cheap as Gulpener Gladiator, Holtland is hands-down the best way to get some much needed calories. And, given its watery taste, Holtland goes well with almost any food or item deemed safe for human mastication.

Moreover, Holtland comes in a "recycable" [sic] steel can, so you could probably get some of those 76 cents back. Also, since it's steel, the beer itself is likely to have a high iron content -- something much needed for an alcoholic.

I don't always purchase beer, but when I do, I prefer a very cheap brand. On most days, I'll have a Holtland, but on days when I'm going to a fancy bar and need to smuggle in some beer, I prefer Gulpener Gladiator.