Friday, September 25, 2009

Bud Light Golden Wheat

That, believe it or not, is a Bud Light. The head didn't last too long (though I won't swear it was the beer's fault; I may have gotten a little grease on the inside of the glass), but it's cloudy, and it definitely smells of orange and a hint of fresh grassiness.

Okay, it's a Bud Light Golden Wheat. I got some samples, and I will give it the same shot I did the Miller Lite Craft beers. Gotta admit, I'm impressed with this more than with those already, just on the look and the aroma.

Well...there's not a lot here. Light body -- though not as thin as a Bud Light -- and they certainly didn't overdo the orange like Miller did; it's there, but it's unobtrusive to the point of understatement. It's not sweet, and that's good. It's not thin, it's not cloying, it's not really flawed.

And if that sounds like I'm damning with faint praise, well, I guess I am. BLGW fails in the classic manner of light beers: there's nothing wrong with it, but there's not a lot right, either. A beer's got to be something good, it's not enough to not be something bad. BLGW succeeds in one thing: it is easy to drink. Plain boiled white rice is easy to eat, but I don't often make a meal of it. I suspect I'll be having Bud Light Golden Wheat even less often.

What about the commerical prospects? I mean, I'm hardly the target market, and most of you aren't either, most likely. I think it's going to fall between the rails. It's too cloudy and heavy (too mouthy?) for light beer drinkers. Bud Light Lime has been a big success, but it's light and clear, where this isn't. What's more, this is another summertime kind of beer. Can't see this one working in the wintertime, which means even if it is successful, it's going to cannibalize BLL. And Blue Moon drinkers will kick it aside quickly as watery next to their tipple...though there may be some siphoning off of drinkers who are looking for a Blue Moon light. If that happens, well, how long do you think it's going to take Coors to do a Blue Moon Light, maybe a Half Moon? (I actually believe Coors is smart enough to let that go, and they should; it would deflate the brand's image.) I don't see this one working.

One other thing...it bothers me that the success of Blue Moon has led wannabe competitors to just class these beers as "wheat" beers. Guys, you're working for a brewery, one with world-wide connections and a huge staff of highly-trained brewers, and I've met and talked with some of them: you know damned well that there is more than one type of wheat beer. So why do you let the marketeers be stupid about this? It's not just a wheat beer, it's a --

Oh. My. God. It just hit me. Of course. It's a witbier-inspired beer...a Belgian-inspired beer. Is it that InBud doesn't want people making the Leuven connection, doesn't want to in-their-face American customers with the Belgian-based dark overlords of Budweiser? I don't know, but it is a consideration.

Still irks me.

18 comments:

Jeff Frane said...

I'm going to run out right now and buy some!!!@

Anonymous said...

I just bought a six pack of blgw.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lew! I was intrigued, but recalling the Michelob attemps at pale ale and hefeweizen in the mid 90s, a shudder went up my spine every time I considered picking some up. Now, based on your review, I may just have to have a go at it...

Anonymous said...

(by the way, that last was from Pat Babcock of hbd.org. the blog on my Treo doesn't behave as I had expected :o)

Lunker said...

Having one of these now. A bottle of BLGW is only about 50 less calories than Sunset Wheat.

I'll take the Sunset Wheat.

Now, if I had no choice other than a macro, I'd go with this beer.

Anonymous said...

Lew,

one point; it isn't the dark lords of Leuven, it's the Brazilians running this empire. the belgians overpaid for a lot of stuff (Becks??) and when they merged the Brazil group ate up and spit out the Belgian types. you want a good return on your investment , buy imbusch, you want a good beer, buy local

Lew Bryson said...

Correct, Anony; I only said "Leuven" because that's where the headquarters are, officially. InBud is most definitely a company run by (for?) Brazilians, it is a Brazilian company in all but address, really. Brazilians are a heavy majority on the board.
But as you point out, the more important difference is that this is no longer a brewery run by brewers, as A-B, for all the geekerie loved to whip it, always was. This is a company, run by bankers. In 2009, that should give people pause.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, like there are NO other wheat beers available, so I have to buy budweiser's.

Joe said...

I was standing in a Missouri gas station in August, looking at the beer fridge, when it finally dawned on me: There must be a lot of money in wheat beers. Not counting the BMC lagers, nearly all the choices were wheat beers. Some were from locally made craft breweries, most were Blue Moon-y types, but still... Obviously there is a big market for them.

Surely these are people who thought they never used to like beer (i.e. lager) because it was too "bitter." I bet we all know a few.

Brad said...

So is this product for those who think Shock Top is too "geeky"? Whose eyes were opened by BLL?

What strikes me is that with this product, "Bud Light" is no longer a beer but a product line. BLL was one thing -- it's basically Bud Light with lime in it, I can dig that; it's a modified product like Cherry Coke or something -- but there's really no connection between Bud Light and BLGW. Name only. And "lightness" I guess.

So BL is going the way of "Budweiser," which seemed to shift from being a beer to a brand line with products like Budweiser Select and Budweiser American Ale.

I suspect ABIB isn't too worried about customers having to rearrange their notions of what "Bud Light" and "Budweiser" mean. The brands, obviously, have value, and this hopes to tap into that.

Lew Bryson said...

I remember reading recently -- but now where, dammit -- that the real value of "Budweiser" is not really in its sales, which have been dropping steadily for over 20 years, but in the brand and its image, for it is the rock on which Bud Light rests.

In short? Bingo, Brad.

Anonymous said...

I just tried one, tastes like shit

angela said...

ok...been drinking Blue Moon all fall. Tried this last week (after DVR viewing SNL w/ heavy BLGW ads) and gotta say, I love it. I'm a big fan of BLL as well...never ordered anything else all summer after I tried it. Anyway, I've bought 3 6-packs of BLGW in less than a week. Granted it's the world series but still! Great job, AB!

Anonymous said...

I live in Southern California, we dont have much of a fall, so BLGW is a good summer/fall Beer for me, I really enjoyed it, goes good with my pipe tobacco.I really enjoyed the hint of orange and spice, I would purchase it again. Nice little Beer for a novice, and the money, $11.99 a 12 pack.

Lee said...

euuuw. This is not Blue Moon, and what's with the labeling "Light Beer brewed with Coriander and Citrus Peels"? I never saw a more visual description ("Blended biennial crops of so-so and some really good grapes, in a steel barrel with actual oak barrel shavings"?). It's light, alright, but for a BM drinker it's just too, um, Belgian:). At least to a Texan... and we sometimes drink Shiner.

Lee said...

euuw. Believe it or not, I tried this on the request of my local 7-11 owner ('tell me if you like it, we're gentrifying the neighborhood'). Not Blue Moon. And what's up with the label "light beer brewed with coriander and citrus peels"? Would you buy a bottle of "so-so and pretty good biennial grapes blended with some oak shavings in a stainless steel barrel"?
Too light and, um, "Belgian" for Texan tastes even in summer... and we sometimes drink Shiner.

Anonymous said...

I saw some BLWB in my Uncles fridge and asked if I could try one, his reply was you can have all of it. I then asked if it wasn't any good? He said it taste good but gave me a bad case of diarrea. So I drank one bottle. Next day I can't stay out of the bathroom. Sorry but I'll never have another.

Crapola said...

Seriously, taste is okay but damn did it give me and my roommate the runs. BAD RUNS - not worth it