So this is the third review I’ve written for the site. Both of the previous beers have gotten “A” grades from me, and I stand by them. I do worry, though, that new readers (hey, it’s not like we have any longtime readers) might take me for a pushover. Besides, if you think I got it wrong, that’s what the comment section is for. Plus, if you’re an official Hoperative (which means you’ve sent us an e-mail asking us to be one), you can write your own review and send it to us. We’ll put it up. You didn’t know that because I just made it up, but Carla agrees so we’re good.
Today I’m reviewing Budweiser American Ale in a review category we’re calling “Yeah, We Tried It.” That should be a tip-off that the fine folks (and I mean that sincerely) in St. Louis (or Leuven, Belgium, for that matter) probably shouldn’t be expecting an ‘A.’ And I’m sure they’re in the process of alerting the media right now as a result.
It’s obvious to anyone who has two brain cells to rub together that this was Anheuser-Busch’s (now A-B InBev) attempt to blunt the craft beer movement. Logically this has a couple of problems. First, I don’t think anyone who’s really into craft beer has been waiting around hoping against hope that they could buy once again buy something with Budweiser on the label. Secondly, while it may not be to my personal preference, a lot of people really seem to like plain old Budweiser. They sell enough of it, after all, and have for a very long time. That counts for something. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, and all that.
What I really don’t get, though, is why they went with an ale instead of a lager. Lagers are their heritage. It’s in their DNA, for crying out loud. I know the motto of the flagship brand is “America’s Great Lager” which doesn’t leave a lot of room for another one (“America’s Other Great Lager” probably wouldn’t cut it), but c’mon, just do an Amber Lager and call it ‘Budweiser Amber’ and stick it in the fancy bottle. Better yet, do a Pilsner and be done with it. Heck, as light and carbonated as regular Budweiser is, I’d really be kind of jazzed to see how they’d do a Pilsner. A Budweiser beer using their traditional brewing style with an actual malt and hops flavor, that’s something I could get behind.
Alas, they decided to do an ale instead. So with no further ado, I’ll talk about the beer they did make instead of the one they should have made:
It’s a gorgeous amber color with a lot of carbonation. The head doesn’t hang around. It smells like caramel malt. It tastes like caramel malt. There are no other discernible flavors. Apparently no hops were harmed in the making of this beer. OK, intellectually I know the hops have to be there, but to me the malt overwhelms them. The malt flavor dissipates quickly at the end, and I’m assuming that’s the effect of the hops. It’s a one-note beer. It’s certainly not unpleasant. If you like really malty beers, you might like this more than I do.
If offered this beer and a regular Bud, I’d check to see if they had caffeine-free diet Coke before making up my mind. If the Coke wasn’t an option, I’d might pick the regular Bud. It knows what it’s trying to be.
Snarkiness aside, I really was hoping for better.
Budweiser American Ale: C+