Monday, October 6, 2008

Budweiser American Ale - My Verdict

I posted some time ago that I was actually looking forward to trying Budweiser American Ale, Bud's attempt to reach into the craft beer customers like me. I had read about it, and I even checked out their website. I was impressed that the site and the advertisements went into the process of making the beer and emphasized taste above everything - instead of the ad being about which good looking women will want to be with you when you drink it. (To be fair, they also tried the whole "quality" angle when advertising Bud Select, and that stuff is only slightly better than cat piss.) When they described it, it sounded like something that I would like.

I've been having a devil of a time trying to find it though. I read that it would come out at the end of September, but none of the stores around me were carrying it. I also checked out this one liquor store in Concord that has a really great selection of beers from all over the world, and the guy told me that they hadn't decided yet if they wanted to carry it or not.

So, I tried my last hope - BevMo. They had it, and I picked up a six pack for $6.99 - certainly not cheap, but not too expensive either. I figured that even if I didn't like it, I would be able to use it for my super-awesome chicken marinade, as it's the right kind of beer for that sort of a thing.

I've had a couple of them now. I had one before bed last night, and I had one with my Thai red curry chicken dinner just a couple of hours ago. What do I think? I think it's pretty darned good. Have I had better? Oh yeah, but I've certainly had worse. It's smooth, highly drinkable, and refreshing without being bland and watery. There's just enough malty sweetness to make it interesting, and the hops are somewhat citrusy (I read that somewhere before I tried it, but I agree with that assessment) and not overpronounced. It also finishes clean and doesn't have any kind of a funky aftertaste.

It was good on its own, but for me, beer is a compliment to a meal, and it passed the food pairing test with flying colors. It went down real nice, and this is the kind of ale that goes well with pretty much everything - especially pizza, I would imagine. (Hmmm...I have leftover pizza that I can have for dinner tomorrow - I'll follow my own advice.)

Will I buy it again? Well, I don't buy a lot of beer since I tend to make my own, and when I do buy something, I tend to buy German-style lagers, as I don't have the means to make those kinds of beers (yet). This isn't that far off from some of the ales that I make, so it's not too likely that I'll be picking up another six pack anytime soon. All that said, if I didn't make my own beer, then I could easily see myself picking this up. I'd probably only get it at a sale price instead of paying what I did, but I'd definitely get it again.

Also, if I'm ever in a restaurant, and they have that and all the other choices are the usual Bud/Miller/Coors offerings, then I will gladly order one. I'd also be more than happy to have a bottle or two if I was at a party or a friend's house where there were some available.

So, if you're the type who usually buys craft beers, then I'd say wait until they have this one on sale. If you're the type who drinks regular Bud (or some equivalent), and you're curious about branching out a little, then I'd say that you should definitely check this one out. It's not too drastic, but it definitely has more flavor than what you're used to drinking, and you might wind up pleasantly surprised. Personally, I hope that this will serve as a "gateway" beer for people, and craft beers will start to become the norm.

Why do I care what people are drinking? I don't on a personal level, but I if everybody's drinking the good stuff, then there will be even more of it available for me to choose from at the store, bars, and restaurants.

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