The fact remains though that I drink almost exclusively beer that would fall into the category of 'craft' simply because it is what I like to drink as a rule. The big three breweries in the US simply do not make or distribute the kinds of beer I like. There is no Anheuser-Busch Best Bitter, or Miller Mild, or even a Coors Session IPA. One thing though struck me recently as I sat in a dive bar drinking, nay thoroughly enjoying, a Goose Island IPA that there are some beers which get the boot end of opprobrium that I just don't see very often on draught.
The missing beer that immediately caught my attention in its absence was Budweiser. Not Bud Light, which is fairly ubiquitous in the bars I generally like (the divey types), nor any of its lime/strawberry/flavour of the month variants, but classic Budweiser. I simply cannot think of a bar in the Charlottesville area that I go to semi-regularly that has it on tap. Neither could I remember the last time I drank it, other than as a kid being allowed to stay up late and watch the Superbowl in the mid-80s (the reason for my vague liking of the Chicago Bears).
Anyway, this has been pottering around in my head a bit of late, so I decided to buy a single can of classic Budweiser, try and remove my blinkers and actually evaluate the beer as a beer rather than a monolithic straw man for the little guys to denounce as the source of all zythophilic evil. So here goes...
- Sight - pale golden yellow, with a half inch of loose white foam that disappears quicker than collaborators after the fall of Communism
- Smell - Not much at all, kind of a grainy character, like Carr's Water Biscuits, with just the merest hint of grassy hops, like your neighbour is mowing his lawn, and your nearest neighbour is a couple of miles down the road (maybe that's a Uist reference)
- Taste - Again mostly a cereal thing going on, with a touch of malty sweetness and just enough of a clean hop bite to give the beer balance.
- Sweet - 2/5
- Taste - 1.5/5
- Notes - Clean, very clean. Medium-light bodied. Fizzy. Clearly a superbly constructed beer, nothing is out of kilter but also nothing stands out, which makes it kind of bland. It's not offensive at all, but neither is it interesting.
I had no problem finishing off the contents of the 25oz can (that's 0.75l/1.3 imperial pints) but at the same time my empty glass wasn't demanding that it be refilled. It really was a once in a while kind of thing, nothing to turn your nose up at and alright in a pinch, kind of like the occasional Staropramen in Prague. I'm glad I tried it, and maybe I'll see if I can find single bottles/cans of standard Miller and Coors to see what they are like as well. One thing that definitely sprung to mind was how much I wish craft breweries could get the process side of brewing down to such a fine art as Anheuser-Busch and produce stuff that is solidly consistent as well as flavourful.