First, because this is apparently still up for debate: Blast — the Snoop Dogg-endorsed, Colt 45-branded malt liquor currently under fire for allegedly marketing to kids — is obviously, unequivocally, beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt definitely designed to appeal to and be consumed by children. It comes in a 23.5-ounce tall boy that looks like a soda can, only bigger and more fun, with a bucking Colt 45 bronco surrounded by a colorful, vaguely psychedelic design and cute little comic-book fruit icons. It smells like bubblegum, looks like a cartoon, and tastes like a melted Otter Pop. It has been aptly described by San Francisco City Attorney and mayoral hopeful Dennis Herrera — one of several politicians currently calling on Pabst to halt production of the drink — as “fruit-flavored binge-in-a-can.” It is so overpoweringly sweet that you can’t taste the alcohol, which at 12 percent by volume — 50 percent more than that of original Colt 45 — is not insignificant. It is carbonated, ever-so-faintly malty, and just slightly thicker than water. It is god-awful. No one over the age of sixteen with functional taste buds and even a shred of dignity would drink it.
We tried two flavors: raspberry-watermelon and pomegranate-blueberry ($2.99, widely available in the East Bay). They tasted exactly the same. There were no notes, no subtle flavors, none of the delicate peatiness or burnt toffee or cherrywood that alcohol writers typically look for. (I would later find that the Blast web site contains a section of charmingly earnest “flavor profiles,” in which the pomegranate-blueberry is said to “[combine] the sweet yet smooth taste of blueberries with the tart finish of pomegranate juice to create a unique flavor that is as bright and bold as the liquid color itself,” and the raspberry-watermelon is described as “bursting with raspberry and fresh watermelon,” with a “smooth, yet noticeably fruit-spiked flavor.” So, there’s that.) Co-taster Ben described it as carbonated Jell-O, while Kasper went with the Jolly Ranchers simile. All I got was a rush of corn syrup, followed by more corn syrup, followed finally by a metallic, bitter aftertaste that made my eyes water and my mouth tingle.
It took me almost an hour and several glasses of water, but I finally finished my can and went out to a bar, the entire bottom half of my face dyed a sick Listerine blue from all the food coloring. I was so fucked up that I drank half of someone else’s rum and Coke without realizing it, and the next day I awoke with the worst headache of my entire life. Do not under any circumstances let your kids near this stuff.