Pros: Easy to drink, high alcohol content
Cons: Nothing like beer
The clear malt beverage, Zima has been manufactured and distributed by Coors since 1992. It's acceptance amongst consumers is very puzzling when one recalls the lack of success Crystal Pepsi received when put on the market around the same time. Around the time that Coors released Zima, Miller developed a clear beer that actually tasted like beer, but potential consumers who participated in the study to determine it's success if released complained that they were not really interested in beer that tasted like beer, but did not look like it. Perhaps that is to what Zima can owe its success to. Unlike Crystal Pepsi and Miller's clear beer, no one is already accustomed to the flavor or expecting a particular taste from Zima. Zima offered both a new look and a new flavor. Im extremely surprised that this beverage is still on the market. I dont think Ive seen anyone buy it at a grocery, liquor or convenience store in about ten years.
Though considered by many as a beer, Zima cannot be considered as such when considering its taste and brewing processes. It tastes absolutely nothing like beer and can only be compared to St. Ides Special Brew series that consisted of fruit flavored malt liquors. Zima is definitely not beer in its traditional sense at all. In fact, the only thing that Zima and beer share in common is bubbles. Aside from that, Zima is just an alcoholic version of tonic water. That's probably why, in my youth, my buddies and I used to mix it with Vodka or Gin, making a concoction that rendered us extremely drunk.
Zima's brewing process is very similar to that of malt liquor. This is what gives it the high alcohol content of 4.8%. It is filtered through charcoal to remove the color and flavor and then injected with the citrus flavorings that give it the taste that can only be compared to tonic water with a twist of lime.
I suppose the citrus-like flavor makes it popular with the wine cooler crowd, but if I were forced to judge it as a beer, I would have to say it is terrible. Don't get me wrong, if it's offered as a dollar beer when I'm out at a bar, I might buy one and chug it to catch a buzz fast, but that's about all it's good for as far as Im concerned.
For those of you out there that enjoy traditional tasting European and domestic beers from Fat Tire to Bud Light, stay away from this fruity pseudo-beer. As for those of you who favor wine coolers and tropical drinks, give Zima a try. If you are looking for something thats bubbly with a high alcohol content that tastes absolutely, positively nothing like beer you will enjoy this product.
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