What a discovery! I don't know why, but coming across strange, regional cheap beers with limited distribution always makes me giddy.
Kum & Go is a chain of Midwestern Convenience stores based out of West Des Moines, Iowa. Perhaps in an attempt to take on 7-Elevens new proprietary beers, Game Day, Kum & Go now has beer in their long standing store brand, Hiland. The beers slogan is "Midwestern Beer made by a Midwestern Brewery." It comes in Light (4%), Lager (5%), Ice (6.2%) and Reserve Malt Liquor (a whopping 10%). Until this past year, the Ice and the Reserve would not have even been able to have been sold in Iowa. The beer is available at Kum & Go stores in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri. It is brewed by the Minhas Craft Brewery out of Monroe, Wisconsin.
The Light, Lager and Ice come only in 12-packs of 12 oz. cans. Priced at the local Kum & Go for $6.99. The Reserve comes only in 24 oz. cans and is priced at $1.59.
Hiland Light - 4% ABV. Pours golden in color with a quickly dissipating head. Aroma of dry corn with hints of both sweet and green apple. Taste is fairly bland but not directly off-putting, a bit of corn, but the sweet and sour in the aroma do not show up in the flavor. I would drink this over Bud Light and it is much cheaper.
Hiland Lager - 5% ABV. Pours the same as the Light, but perhaps just a touch darker golden. The aroma is also similar to the Light but with just a touch of lager "funk." The taste is slightly sweet, a bit metallic, like dry corn in a metal bucket, and a touch of sour. This is middle of the road cheap beer. It is nowhere near as good as the Pabst owned labels, the Hamm's line or similar cheap beers. But it is nowhere near as bad as many of the discount beers of this type. It is middle of the road cheap beer.
Hiland Ice - 6.2% ABV. Pours just as the lager. Smells like a freshly cut fall apple. The taste is cloying, sweet and tart like an apple. This is a bad, high alcohol beer. I fear the Reserve at this point.
Hiland Reserve Malt Liquor - 10% ABV. Pours a slightly darker golden than the Ice. Smells like Canadian whiskey with Squirt or sour mix. Wow, can't believe how much this smells like a whiskey cocktail. Horribly, terribly, cloyingly, chokingly sweet and alcohol laden. I have had some cheap malt liquors in the 10-12% alcohol range that are actually worse, but this is also truly bad and nearly undrinkable.
The Light and Lager are fine for what they are, cheap, store-brand beers. But the higher alcohol Ice and Reserve are just lousy and not worth any price, no matter how low it might be.