Monday, June 22, 2015

In Pursuit of Impartiality

Perhaps it is a sign of my being a craft beer dilettante but I find it near impossible to lather myself into the pre-requisite rage required when the likes of InBev, SABMiller, or MolsonCoors purchase a small brewery. Neither yet does it bother me that people get 'confused' by Blue Moon being a Coors beer rather than a 'craft' beer, perhaps I believe in caveat emptor a little too much, or I just don't think it is relevant who makes a beer as long as the consumer is enjoying it. Worse still, I think the whole 'drink local' is a crock of grade A bullshit given that most breweries source their ingredients from around the world, strip their local water of anything unique and then add chemicals to the water to ape that of somewhere else.

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.

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