clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

OTE Beer of the Year 2019: Naturdays

Official Tagline: Yes, Really

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

As you have probably noticed if you’ve read this site for very long, we are a bunch of hardcore beer snobs. We know it’s obnoxious, but we can’t help it. One, because we’re mostly Millennials, which means we love a good pretentious beer, and two, because we’re mostly living in the Midwest, which happens to have a very wonderful brewing heritage that is alive and thriving today. We come by our beer snobbery seriously. Every Friday during football season, you get to find out “Where We Be, What We Be Drinking.” In the past week, we’ve had a chit-chat about beer takes and we made a post about Founders beer. Earlier this spring, MNW did a whole post just about his craft beer drinking life.

Our craft beer street cred is pretty well established. Which is what makes the subject of this article and the events of the last month all the more troubling.

It all started with our new Maryland writer, Brian. Bringing in another Maryland writer was probably our first mistake, we now know. In our Slack for OTE, in addition to myriad channels devoted to bringing you hard-hitting sports content, we have one about Beer ‘n’ Booze, because we are Professionals, where we post pictures of beer we are drinking and discuss notable beer-related happenings in our lives.

Then at 7:39 PM on June 9th, Maryland Brian posted the following picture and comment:

“Best microbrew I’ve ever had”

Stew, noted Beer Snob, unbelievably added the very Midwestern endorsement: “So they were handing out samples of that at HyVee a few weeks back. It was not horrible.”

Brian again: “It was better than it should be.”

Well. “Better than it should be” just so happens to be our site ethos, and so the Naturday challenge was born. At first there was some resistance: both Stew and Creighton declared they would never pay for the stuff, but would drink it if it was available to them for free. But the insidious Brian declared: “Guys, it’s like 3 bucks for six. You’re gonna have to put your principles aside I think.”

If you can’t tell where this is going by now, yes, we all would have jumped off a bridge if our friends did it. #peerpressureftw

It began innocently. We dipped our toe in by spotting Naturdays in the Wild:

“Natty Light in the Wild: An Elegy” by BRT

Creighton continued to carry on a campaign of resistance, hatching plans for mixing one into a six pack, lest someone discover twelve of them in his fridge. But, I was the first to succumb:

Thought the guy behind me in line at the grocery store was checking me out, but he wasn’t—it was the Naturdays.

We tried to carry on normally, talking about Short’s Soft Parade and other legitimate beers, but Naturdays’ siren call was simply too strong. And the next thing we knew, this was in MNW’s kitchen, as he and WhiteSpeedReceiver wrote potluck questions:

DJ succumbed next:

30-pack. Admire this commitment.

Then it was Boilerman’s turn:

And LPW’s:

He takes his with lime, because of course he does.

Things escalated quickly from that point. Stew, initially a holdout, was spotted drinking one while grilling. WSR submitted a picture of a 12-pack merrily rolling down the checkout conveyer belt with the cheerful caption “reloading!” Andrew nabbed one at the DCFC pregame bar.

We became obsessed, friends. Someone created a Naturday emoticon for the Slack channel. Research was done into Naturday gear (here you go).

And so here we are. Thanks to Maryland Brian, a group of once-proud beer connoisseurs are now reduced to unanimous, embarrassing love for the peppy pink cans of “diabetes with a slight buzz.” It is quite a moment for OTE. A proud one? Maybe not. But it’s probably the first time we’ve all agreed on something, and if that something is “Naturdays are delicious and crushable and you should pick some up for the 4th,” well, in this time of national division, maybe we should celebrate that anyway.

To encourage you to join us in our delicious shame, we have compiled a list of reviews of this bargain delicacy. Beez is in the PNW drinking beer with “mermaid boobs” instead, and MC begged off by virtue of being sick, refusing our reasonable requests that he test Naturdays’ potential medicinal qualities. (I mean, if peppermint essential oil is supposed to cure cancer or whatever the nuts on my IG feed claim every day, then is it such a stretch to imagine a world where sickness is ended by bargain summer beers?)

Read through them, head to your nearest alcohol supply center, and leave us a review of your own in the comments.

Boilerman31: When I first tried Naturdays, it was inside on a cool, rainy day. This was not the correct mindset, my friends. It was deemed to be an okay combination of mediocre light beer and strawberry lemonade flavoring. Since I had only drank two of my sixer, I still had plenty to experiment with.

The stars finally aligned yesterday. The Naturdays had been chilling in my basement fridge and had been allowed to get to a more proper temperature. With all the rain and T-ball games this week, my yard was in desperate need of a mowing. On top of that, the temps had climbed into the low-80s. Knowing I would be in need of refreshment, I grabbed a couple of Naturdays and headed outside.

Knowing the forecast in the week ahead was for more rain, this needed to be a thorough lawn care episode. I grabbed the weedwhacker and set to work. Upon completion of destroying weeds and managing not to mangle any flowers or my legs, it was time for Naturdays #1. I cracked it open and took a chug. Not a swig. Not a sip. A full blown, drink half of the can chug.

It was amazing. The strawberry lemonade masked the fact I was drinking Natty Light, a beer hadn’t really drank since my fuzzier nights at Purdue. Allowing it to get ice cold makes it incredibly smooth and given my thirst from yardwork, it was like Homer Simpson gazing upon 64 slices of American cheese. There was no bitter, there was no skunk, it finished incredibly clean, almost like drinking water. I immediately took another swig, and another, until two or three minutes later, it was gone.

Look, if you’re looking for something to have at a dimly lit bar while talking about faint aromas of burn raisin and pumpkin pie, this isn’t the beer for you. However, if you’re looking for something to smash on a warm Summer’s day without judgment or care. This is the one for you.

Creighton: I tried for weeks to find these in packaging of fewer than 24 cans before giving up and just buying a case. I hate shandies, but everyone told me this was better than Leinie’s so I thought I would give it a shot. It tasted like something I would’ve had freshmen year, and much better than anything I would’ve thought possible under the Natty label. It was surprisingly drinkable, and by the 4th one I wasn’t sick of them yet. Having said that: These are shit and I’m never buying them for myself again. I still hate shandy and the only conceivable use I’d have for them would be if I was hosting a barbecue. I mean I still drank the entire case, but I’ll die before I let that stop me from complaining about something.

Maryland Brian (Patient Zero): When my Maryland Terrapin football squad is getting absolutely dismantled on a brisk autumn Saturday, I find there is no better way to temporarily stave off the torment than to reach for an ice cold Naturday. Twelve ounces of sweet, yet subtle bliss, that will have you feeling immediate nostalgia for your glorious college days. This nostalgia will quickly be supplanted by an overwhelming regret as you will likely slide into a diabetic coma after inevitably drinking too many due to their surprising drinkability. Naturday, the beer that tastes like a soda, or maybe the soda that tastes like a beer. Hey, drink too many and maybe you’ll get sick twice!

DJ: I always associate Natty Light with my cheap college drinking days. It wasn’t good then and it’s not good now, so I really need to know how they happened to make a generally cheap, shitty beer become surprisingly drinkable. It’s a solid afternoon drinker on a hot summer day.

BRT: I’m always a fan of fruity and sweet, so this was less of a hard sell for me than for some of my neighbors to the east. I’ve also never had a Natty Light, so I was coming to this with less prejudice than others. I really enjoyed this beer—it’s perfect for hot summer days, cookouts with friends, or for a reward after doing yardwork. If you’re looking for a fine beer with complexity or that will impress your friends, this is not it. But if you’re looking for a very enjoyable beer because it’s 90 degrees or you have a crowd of “not really beer people,” this is a great option.

Andrew Krasdfasd;fljski: I’m not a shandy guy. Beer and pop were created separately by God and I’m pretty sure there’s a proscription against blending the two in Leviticus somewhere. If I want to get drunk on a fruit-flavored concoction, I’ll fold a fifth of gin into some Arnold Palmer like an adult.

All that said...Natty Light makes a drinkable shandy, which is more than can be said for the rest of their offerings in a non-beer pong context. I’d never choose it in a state where I can get Short’s Soft Parade Shandy easily. But if this style is what you want and you pick Leiny over this, you’re an idiot.

LPW: As I said earlier, this stuff tastes like lightly carbonated fruit juice. You have to remember you’re drinking something alcoholic and not fruit juice and not go overboard. I don’t think I’ll ever get this again. If I want fruit tasting beers, I’ll get a lambic. (Ed. Note: Always has to be that one kid who is too cool for school.)

WhiteSpeedReceiver: It’s Heaven in a can. Even for people who don’t like strawberries.

A poem to express my love:

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?

It is the east, and Naturday is the sun.

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious IPAs,

Who is already sick and pale ale with grief,

That thou her beer art far more fair than she:

Be not her maid, since she is envious;

Her vestal livery is but sick and green

And none but fools do drink it; cast it off.

It is my strawberry lemonade beer, O, it is my love!

O, that she knew she were!

She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?

Her eye discourses; I will answer it.

I am too bold, ’tis not to me she speaks:

Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,

Having some business, do entreat her eyes

To twinkle in their spheres till they return.

What if her eyes were there, they in her head?

The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,

As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven

Would through the airy region stream so bright

That birds would sing and think it were not empty.

See, how she leans her beer upon her can!

O, that I were a glove upon that hand,

That I might touch that ice cold can!

MNW: It smells like someone put some pink and yellow Starburst in a can of Natty Lite, much like you’d dump Skittles in vodka during undergrad to no great effect.

Except this has effect! The first moment of a swig of Naturdays tastes like Andy’s Mouth Surprise, followed by the faintest aftertaste of that sweet, sweet Natty Light malt to remind you that yes, you are still making a really shitty decision. If you swallow quickly enough [stop it], you don’t even taste the shitty Natty Light malt flavor!

This is a definite summer pounder [stop ittttt], and I’d choose it over Summer Shandy if forced to pick. Allow me to explain why:

(1) It’s cheaper, and I tend to be going for quantity not quality when I’m drinking shandy-esque beers.

(2) It isn’t as sickly sweet as Summer Shandy, meaning after three or four I’m not sick to my stomach.

(2b) I have shotgunned a Summer Shandy--a bad decision, of course--but I would shotgun one of these, no problem.

(3) At 132 calories and 4.2% ABV, it is functionally the same as Summer Shandy, meaning I will drink the one that tastes better to me and not feel bad about it.

Advantage: Naturdays Strawberry Lemonade.

Rayransom: “Natty Light makes a drinkable shandy”


So there you have it. We heart Naturdays. We’re renaming our site “The Church of Naturday Saints.” Please join us.


Naturdays: The Official Verdict

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    Surprisingly delicious and crushable!
    (46 votes)
  • 45%
    Disgusting sugar water: have you all no pride?
    (39 votes)
85 votes total Vote Now

Happy 4th of July! And remember, with Naturdays or not, please be safe and responsible over the holiday.