Bottoms Up

Our diplomas are far from secure – pages need to be written, tests need to be taken and discrete math needs to be passed (for the love of God). Every superstitious bone in our bodies tells us to hold off on the celebration until we’ve sealed the deal. But, against all accepted wisdom, we’ve decided to tempt fate: it’s our final column baby, and we’re poppin’ the bubbly.

Rating champagne is complicated. Feeling somewhat uninformed, we resorted to the World Wide Web for assistance. Unfortunately this only made matters worse. First, we found out that none of our selection was actually champagne. As you may have heard, if it doesn’t come from the “Champagne” region of France, it isn’t champagne. Only the snobbiest of wine snobs can afford such authenticity, and with the way the economy has been acting (not to mention the five grand tuition hike), we’re no longer in this category.

The Internet continued to bombard us with confusing theories and ideas. According to Wikipedia, when dealing with champagne, the size of the bubbles is inversely proportional to the quality of the bubbly. What the Eph? How are we supposed to know what that even means? Perhaps that size matters, or something like that. Thoroughly confused, already drunk and not knowing what else to do, we decided to bring in a third party as a point of reference. We’re talking about none other than Miller High Life, the champagne of beers. This brought us on much more familiar turf, and we were feeling quite comfortable as we set the three pseudo, or “freedom,” champagnes to our old friend. Which is truly best for living the “high life”? You will soon find out.

First up was the Domaine Ste. Michelle Blanc de Blancs. With such a name you would never guess that it hails from Washington State – about as far away as you can get from France. We did not like this anti-American masquerade. We did like how DSMBdB or “Michelle” had an actual cork, which flew over 10 feet farther than the leading competitor’s. Great! Our friend’s dog, “W.F. Baby,” also seemed to enjoy gnawing on this cork more than its cork competitors. Clearly we had high hopes even though the bubbles were quite large. The initial nose is tart, with notes of grapefruit. The taste is also tart and effervescent initially, but falls flat quickly with a lingering, grassy aftertaste. The light, crisp, slightly toasted taste of Miller High Life tasted like pure gold in comparison to “Michelle.” High Life’s microscopic bubbles and superior quality convinced us that Wikipedia was right, at least this once (sorry, professor): High Life one, champagne zero.

Our next freedom-bubb, Korbel, also had a real cork, though it failed in both the distance and dog-attraction contests, so we were disappointed to have paid more for it. Pouring the Korbel into our Solo cups revealed smaller bubbles, like High Life – a definite good sign. The smell is similarly tart, but lemony. Compared to Michelle, Korbel pops like pop rocks – the bubbles are very active and the taste is much sweeter. This taste enthralls but does not punish. This party lasts all night, while “Michelle” gets busted by Security at ten (noise complaint my a—). It’s now neck and neck.

Next up was the ever-present and always faithful Andre. For this tasting we chose “Extra Dry” but, looking back on freshman year, our friend “Brut” also deserves to be mentioned. Like Korbel, Andre hails from California. It made up for its lack of cork with a very modest price tag. Andre lost considerable points by having extremely large bubbles – the largest of those we tested. The smell is very – “different,” with an unexpected harshness and notes of vanilla. The taste is initially tart, with hints of grape, but falls flat with astonishing speed. The grape taste lingers, giving it a finish more similar to cheap wine than cheap “champagne.” Andre means a lot to each of us, but didn’t stack up with the competitors in a side-by-side comparison.

After a rigorous and professional tasting, Miller High Life came out on top! It defended its title as the “champagne of beers” while its modest price tag (24 bottles cost the same as one bottle of Korbel) ensured that we’ll be living the high life – whether or not we get our diplomas.
So that’s it – we’re out. We’ve had a good time, enjoyed ourselves and picked up alcohol habits that will endure for some time – all we can hope is that you all can say that same. Cheers.

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