Hayward Fourty Hands

Brewery and Country of Origin: Skol Breweries (Shaw Wallace & Company) of Wallace House, 4 Bankshall Street, Kolkata, West Bengal, 700001, India

Date Reviewed: 11-05-12

Before we begin, it's important to note that this is a beer which is made by a company which is now controlled by SAB Miller of London. Why is this important? Because it just shows that the imperialistic nature of British companies continues to span across the globe even when the European Union can't hold its own. So it's come to this. For a measly sum of less than a quarter of a billion dollars, the Brits control the Shaw Wallace brand portfolio which includes Haywards 5000. OK, enough old time revolutionary speak for now. This malt liquor from Kolkata, India is the best selling strong beer (and one of the best overall beer brands) in the domestic market, and despite the fact that the Indian brewing industry isn't nearly as developed as most European and North American sectors, it's hard to see why. This isn't just any normal pale lager. Malt liquors are stronger in alcohol, typically sold in bombers or even 40 oz bottles, and usually terrible tasting. You can run away from the poor taste in a low quality lager because it's usually not very strong. With malt liquor, it's a different story, especially when servings are much larger in volume. Either way, it appears the Indian beer market likes their strong lagers, so perhaps they did a decent job with this one. Unfortunately, when your domestic beer has a short history which isn't necessarily something anyone would be proud of, you tend to accept what you can get, and your expectations are pretty low. That said, whether you're enjoying this in the Subcontinent of Asia, or the Suburbs of Prague, Haywards is not what you should be reaching for if you want to get your buzz on.
Date Sampled: 9-18-12 At: 7 Prescott Place, Allston, Boston, MA, 02134, USA
Beer Style: Indian Malt Liquor
Alcohol by Volume: 7.00%
Serving Type: 330 ml Bottle, 16 oz Stange Glass
Rating: 2.18


This brew has a medium high level of carbonation action, giving it a quarter inch tall foam head with a moderate density and a fair amount of retention. The Haywards has a very clear appearance with a bright shine when held up to the light. This beer has an expected light amber/goldenrod color. Moderate lacing takes place on the glass.


This beer is characterised by an extremely grainy aroma. This overpowering scent leaves almost no room for any very light malty notes, and only a sliver of hoppy smells are detectable. This beer's prominent grassy aroma influences the overall flavor profile, and can be attributed to a lackluster score.


This is a fairly light bodied malt liquor with an average amount of carbonation, giving it a nice balance between being rather crisp and lighter, and solid. This beer has a relatively low weight, and a very dry, almost eye watering finish. There is a very subtle warming effect noticeable at the end as well.


Expectedly, this beer's flavor is dominated by an overwhelming grassy and grainy character, with only a small amount of very light and pale malty presence detectable. Almost no hops is apparent until the end, where this beer closes with a rather bitter and dry finish which lingers, along with a grainy, slightly undesirable aftertaste.

Our Take

As far as malt liquors go, this isn't the worst we've tried before. Unfortunately, that's not saying much, because based purely on first hand experience, malt liquors are usually pretty terrible. Though, given everything, this beer serves its purpose. This is a very easy going beer with a lighter presence, and a forgiving weight, yet at 7.00% ABV, it will get you going quicker than any light pale lager would. That said, we're not going to go out and suggest you get drunk ever, and we're certainly not going to suggest this beer as a means to do so. Beer is meant to be enjoyed, and yes, it can also make the moment more enjoyable as well, but in moderation. The modern idea of malt liquors defeats this purpose, because there is nothing in moderation about them (except for the price), and you'd have to have the taste of a pig to actually enjoy them. Sorry SigEp, that's just how it is.