Friday, May 9, 2008

Something new under the sun

Thanks to James Arndorfer, the tireless soul of Miller Brewing's Brew Blog, I have this to show you:

Amazing, ain't it? "Budweiser American Ale." The cognitive dissonance is almost deafening.

I'll save your eyes: the main text says: “Budweiser American Ale defines a new style of ale – The American Ale – created by Anheuser-Busch brewmasters to deliver robust ale taste that’s full-bodied, but not too heavy nor too bitter.” The side text says "Carefully brewed with barley from America's heartland and Cascade hops from the Pacific Northwest, this rich, amber-colored ale has robust flavor, and a distinctive, hoppy finish."

Wow. Maybe. We'll find out if it's really "Wow" in October.

34 comments:

Brooks said...

Did we mention it's American?

Lew Bryson said...

Whoa! Damn, Brooks, glad you pointed that out, I'd pretty near missed it!

Heh.

fixedgear said...

No delicious rice or corn?

Lew Bryson said...

Apparently not. If it is an all-malt, Cascade-hopped American pale ale...will anyone give it an honest shot? Will you?

Bill said...

I'll give it an honest shot. I like the original Michelob and one of their new iterations, and liked the vanilla-bourbon brew they did this winter. The Bare Knuckle stout is a decent attempt.

Ad-wise, I like that they've embraced Bud as an American lager recently, unlike Miller Lite's "true pilsener."

Stephen Beaumont said...

I think it's almost more likely it will receive skewed assessments along the lines of "It's pretty good...for an A-B beer." Remember the Miller Reserve line, which was almost universally greeted with reviews saying it was a good effort "for a macro"? A number of laudatory comments I heard a couple of GABFs ago about the Michelob Hefeweizen were styled along the same lines.

However good (or not) the Bud American Ale might be, I hope that it's judged purely on its own merits, neither downgraded nor elevated because it happens to hail from the brewkettles of Anheuser-Busch. I don't give beer extra points because it comes from a really small, one-person brewery, so I see no reason that A-B should get extra credit simply because they're used to cranking out millions of hectolitres of Bud and Bud Light.

Stan Hieronymus said...

The use of Cascade should give the conspiracy theorists new fodder.

Anonymous said...

why not give it a shot sam adams gets a pass on everything .i find none of there beers bad but none outstanding . brooklyn beer is the only company i find that does many styles that excells

Lew Bryson said...

Blind tasting. Get some pales, line 'em up, get someone to blind 'em for you, and give it a run.

Lew Bryson said...

And I actually liked the Miller Reserve Amber; good beer for the price at that time.

Mr. Thursday said...

I'd give it a fair shot. If the Foodery will carry it, I'll try a bottle or two. Even if it's good, though, I don't think I'd ever make a habit of A-B (or Miller or Coors). I'm big into supporting the local brewery, but if it's worth it, I'll drink it from time to time.

Rick Lyke said...

Is it just me, or is the eagle looking at "ALE" with a slight bit of disbelief?

sam k said...

"brooklyn beer is the only company i find that does many styles that excells."

Hey anonymous, you mustn't drink much, or at least experiment with many breweries

Beerman said...

Let me be the first (on this comments page anyhow) to take A-B to task for claiming this beer "creates" and "defines" "a new style of ale" ... which they then go on to describe as being amber-colored, Cascade-hopped, and "robust ... full-bodied but not too heavy," which I'll take to actually mean medium-bodied.

So ... A-B has learned how to brew an American Amber Ale?

Look -- this is good for them and us. We always bitch about macro rice-lagers, so I won't be a hypocrite and now jump on A-B for trying out more of a "microbrew" style.

But come on. They didn't have to claim to invent the damn style. I think it's the glaring and reckless disconnect between marketing and product that we hate about A-B and their ilk as much as anything else.

Andy Crouch said...

Good point by Rick. Apparently, the bird didn't get the memo. I look forward to it and second Lew's suggestion of a blind tasting to weed out the inevitable prejudices.

Lew Bryson said...

For quite a while A-B claimed to have "coined" Budweiser. They may have been the first to put the name on a beer and trademark it -- which they apparently were -- but anyone who speaks German knows that anything or anyone from Budweis...is a Budweiser.

Marketing. I hope to get some numbers on this beer -- and a sample -- pretty soon. A guy I know at A-B contacted me about this; there are other writers in St. Louis this weekend at the St. Louis beer festival who are sampling some, so it looks like some of us won't have to wait till October after all. Blind tasting, here we come.

Anonymous said...

Who cares? How is this different from Elk Creek that came out in the 90's? Not like this is the first time AB has done this. What, we are suppose to be impressed because it says Budweiser on the label? I'm about as impressed as I was when Bud Dry came out.

Anonymous said...

The term "American ale" is nothing new. Who here remembers Rhino Chasers American Ale, or Geary's American Ale? Created by AB? Pleeeese.

Anonymous said...

I wish AB would release their Mission Accomplished Barleywine. They made a limited run for a show on the Food Network called Dinner Impossible for a British chef called Robert Irvine. When will AB give us that!!

Lew Bryson said...

Anonymous, please...I've been trying to forget Rhino Chasers for years, and here you had to bring it up!

I'm not 'impressed' that there's "Budweiser" on the label, but I am intrigued: this is the first time they've put their Budweiser brand on an ale in modern memory.

Oh, and it was Elk Mountain back in the 1990s; Elk Creek is the new brewpub in upstate PA.

Steven said...

".....will anyone give it an honest shot? Will you?"

Sure, why not? And I'll stop right there with any pre-conceived notions that past A-B history may prompt in lieu of the honest shot.

And Stan -- my mind was already churning when I saw cascades were the hop of choice! ;-)

Anonymous said...

It will probably be trashed by most "open-minded/more sophistcated" tasters. The preconceived prejudices against anything made by AB will overpower the reviews. Its just like politics, even if John McCain had some good ideas no self-respecting Democrat would vote for him. Forget what they did in the past, but any good beer from AB/Miller/Coors will never get a fair judgement. And besides, you can only do a blind taste with blind people.

Bryan said...

If someone hands me one, I'll determine whether or not I like it on the merits.

If I'm honest though, I'll never buy it. There are too many local and regional breweries I'd rather give my money to.

Steven said...

"It will probably be trashed by most "open-minded/more sophisticated" tasters. The preconceived prejudices against anything made by AB will overpower the reviews."

Do you mean "sophisticated drinkers" such as those who trash Sierra Nevada or Sam Adams for similar preconceived prejudices?

Sad, but true.

Bill said...

Beerman and Anonymous,

Obviously we're guessing, but from the language they used, I think Bud is trying to brew something that will appeal to folks who drink nothing but "American lagers" and light beers. Something for folks who tried and didn't like Bass/Blue Moon/Newcastle. I'd guess a fairly dry malt backbone -- no caramel sweetness -- with Cascade hop aroma. So, not the normal American amber ale.

You could argue that it's still not a new style and point to cream ale or Ballantine or regional ales from a few generations ago. I'm just thinking that it sounds like they're doing something different from pale or amber ales to appeal to premium lager drinkers. Might be good.

roan22 said...

Its A-B's own fault that beer geeks hate on them because for years they released tasteless products and ad[verts], passing them off as premium. A-B is just now getting with the craft program, after denying its ability to be more than just a fad. They've made bonehead decisions regarding crafts. They don't have geeks respect yet..and why should they expect it? They have to earn it.

They should just focus on getting the beer right, and cut down on all the obnoxious POS, outlandish statements and ads, etc.

I am still a little pissed off about the way they did Old Dominion, as Greg Kitsock's response to a Letter to The Editor printed in the April/May 2008 Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, states [regarding Tuppers and New River]. Foolish business decision on all parts. But thats just my opinion..

Anonymous said...

Well as bad as you think you remember Rhino Chasers being, I bet their Amber Ale was a much better beer than "Budweiser Ale" ever will be. What is your problem with Rhino Chasers? They did not give you a free sample?

Lew Bryson said...

Yeah. That's it. That's what sets my whole calculus of beer taste: free samples. I'm so cheap and desperate that a $1.25 bottle of beer changes my mind.

Try this: I can't say if Rhino Chasers is better than Budweiser Ale, because I've never had the Bud Ale. You, on the other hand, feel free to say one is better than the other without tasting both. So who's the prejudiced one?

Anonymous said...

Did not say Rhino Chasers was better. I said I bet Rhino Chasher is better. And I think it would be a smart bet. Rhino Chasers was a contract brewery that produced some pretty good craft beer. They brewed an amber ale, a pale ale, a helles, a dunkel, a hefeweizen, a winter ale, and even a smoked porter. And coined the term, or at the very least used the term "American Ale" long before your AB masters ever did!! I'll always remember Rhino Chasers with fondness and respect.

Anonymous said...

Well Lew you did say that you were trying to forget Rhino Chasers. Why is that? They had some pretty good beers after all.

Lew Bryson said...

"Did not say Rhino Chasers was better. I said I bet Rhino Chasher is better."

The difference in the two phrasings is amazing, yes, you're right and I'm wrong, anyone could see that, boy, you sure got me.

We obviously have different memories of Rhino Chasers. I recall a "me-too" contract beer with gimmicky tap-handles (that had a bad tendency to break), a gimmicky hook of rhino conservation, and mediocre beers...you recall it differently. Okay. Who would have thought there would be Rhino Chasers fans -- a beer that's been gone for over ten years -- still stoked enough to find and make comments on a blog? Amazing.

But while you've making all your Internet points on the big difference between what you said and what I said you said...I never said "American ale" was a new 'style' or 'type' -- the label says that -- nor did I agree with the label that it was new. What's new, as in the post title, is "Budweiser" on an ale. That's a significant and interesting step for A-B.

Unlike this Rhino Chasers "discussion," which is hereby over.

sam k said...

Sometimes a blog takes on a life of its own, don't it??? Glad this one don't get nine!!!

TheName said...

Thought I'd belatedly point out Bob Skilnik's impressions of the beer and a video of the presentation from the St. Louis tasting. From Mr. Skilnik's YouTube post: "I think a lot of doubters will be surprised this October when this product is released. It's that good."

Love Mr. Beck's speech. I love that they brewed a beer to a name. Marketing at work: "Hey, we have a great name for a beer. Brew something for us, eh?"

pneifert said...

Will I give it a fair shot? Absolutely. On a hot day at Busch Gardens, an ice-cold Bud Select in an aluminum bottle tasted like pure heaven, so this might be even better than that.