Tea Bags and Jolly Ranchers: Things People Put in Crappy Beer To Make It Taste Better

Drink Lists Tea

A new company (Hop Theory) has created a craft beer “tea bag” that you steep in macro lagers to help “improve that boring light beer.” The “beer enhancing sachets” are packed with orange peel, coriander seeds, cascade hops and natural flavors. Put the bag in the bottom of your pint glass, pour a macro light beer into the glass, and in three minutes, you have something that presumably tastes like a craft beer. One bag transforms four beers, according to Hop Theory.

We’ve reached out to Hop Theory to see if we can get a couple of bags to review, in the meantime, I started thinking about other things people put in crappy beers to make them taste better. Here’s what I came up with. Let me know if I’m missing something.

Jolly Ranchers

So my wife and I are standing in the kitchen drinking cans of 21st Amendment’s Hell or High Watermelon, a wheat beer with the exact right amount of watermelon, and my wife asks, “what would happen if you put a Jolly Rancher in a regular beer?” Some homebrewers actually use this hard candy in the brewing process. If you add a piece of candy to a lager on a hot summer day, some of that candy flavor will come through…but it will still suck compared to that 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon.

Jameson and Baileys

The concept here is simple: Drop a shot glass with Jameson and Baileys into half a pint of Guinness, then drink it as fast as you can. That’s the “Car Bomb,” and it isn’t exactly a “flavor enhancer.” It’s more of a “get drunk faster” enhancer. According to my own personal studies, the Car Bomb is the gateway drink to Fun, with a capital “F.” Needless to say, I would never try this with a painstakingly crafted dry stout like Cigar City’s Patio Tools. Never.

An Orange Slice

I get it. A bit of sweet citrus squeezed into that Blue Moon feels like you’re squeezing summer into a glass, but the oils break down the head super fast. More importantly, the majority of wheat beers are already flavored with all of the fruit and spices you need. That’s like sprinkling brown sugar on barbecue sauce, after you cover your ribs with the stuff. Are our taste buds so wrecked that we can’t enjoy subtlety anymore?

A Lime Wedge

Have you ever had a Corona without a lime? It’s horrible. I’m not sure when people started squeezing a wedge of lime into Corona bottles (there are a number of different theories circulating, ranging from disease control to a bartender trying to start a trend) but the trend seems to have spread to include all Mexican lagers. Hell, even Bud Light has a pre-squeezed Bud Light Lime.


This is actually a thing in some parts of the world. I had a buddy in college from Trinidad and Tobago who couldn’t stomach a Bud Light without sprinkling a little sugar into the glass. He was the only one of us who bothered pouring the Bud Light into a glass, so we thought he was classy and left him alone. Then I found evidence of people rimming their pint glasses with caramel, sugar and cinnamon during pumpkin ale season. Crazy.

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