Upstate Brew Reviews: Big Flats 1901 Beer

I’m always a fan of attractive can design. I’m also a fan of obnoxious silly can designs too, and Big Flats 1901 falls firmly in the second category.

Nothing screams refreshing like a turn-of-the-century steamboat and for only a whopping $2.99 per six-pack, or $11.99 a case, it's corny enough to draw me in.

I poured the beer into a pint glass and a half-inch of steady head quickly appeared, which left me optimistic for what was to come. After about 20 seconds, that head was gone and I was worried again.

Speaking of corn, as the goldenrod yellow color may lead you to believe, corn is the dominant note here. Not as strong as Rolling Rock, which I think tastes like creamed corn in a bottle, but it’s clear what the predominant grain here is.

But that’s not as bad of a thing as I make it out to be. Say what you want about corn-based beer--and there's a lot you can say--but they tend to lead to a quite drinkable beer that goes down easier than the price tag would indicate.

Taste-wise, it’s a bit mild and a tad under-carbonated. Most cheap beer in this price range is highly carbonated, especially Miller High Life, which advertises itself as the Champagne of Beers for more than one reason. As a side note, a corked 750ml bottle of MHL would be a great idea. Get on that Miller.

But no, as a beer called Big Flats would lead you to believe, it’s a bit, well…flat. But that makes it easier for shotgunning and despite what you might think, if you’re buying Big Flats, you’re not above that.

The can haspictures of moving water and the wheel from the flat boats that once were commonplace in the Rochester area, where this beer is likely brewed—the can says is brewed by Hop House Brews in either La Crosse, Wisconsin, or in Rochester, at the Genesee Brewing Company.

That’s all the can says. The ABV of the beer is nowhere to be found. According to the Internet, which is always a good source, it’s 4.5%, which sounds about right. Not reaching the 5.9% that Stewart’s Mountain Brew, the other main convenience store brand beer found in Upstate New York, but a fair bit more refreshing.

I’m not a light beer kind of guy, so I’m a tad disappointed by the thin mouthfeel of this beer. Coors Banquet or Extra gold (another Coors product), have a fuller sensation, which I like. It’s not Bud Light-thin, but it’s in the middle ground somewhere. If you took a pitcher of water and dropped in an ear of corn, a handful of barley and loudly talked about hops nearby, you’d eventually get Big Flats.

Overall, it’s not a bad purchase. I like it better than other light beers and for only $3 at most Walgreens locations, it’s hard to beat. It’s not spectacular, but I started this can when I began writing this review and now I’m down to the bottom third. There’s not too much flavor or too much excitement going on in this glass, but there’s no off-flavors or weird soapy taste you’ll sometimes get from drinking a canned beer.

I’ll call this a best buy purchase. It’s much, much better than other beers in this price range (Keystone, Natty Light, Milwaukee’s Best) and I might even prefer it over Bud Light, Miller Lite or Coors Light, which cost around double what you’ll pay for Big Flats.