Saturday, May 2, 2009

Could that Belgian influence actually help Anheuser-Busch?

As anyone who hasn't been living under a rock knows, Anheuser-Busch was bought out by Belgium's InBev.

It's always disturbing to hear about a radically profitable American company being bought out by some oddly-named bunch from Belgium, but that's what happened and I suppose all we can do is make the best of it.

Of course, I vowed to refuse to buy anything from the company again once news of the merger was announced. My wife, however, took no such vow and she brought home a Michelob Spring/Summer Sampler Pack the other day.

Now, I do hate the new, bastardized Anheuser-Busch, but Marci did bring home my favorite kind of beer -- cold and within reach. So I decided to give these things a whirl and see if the Belgians have ruined a company that was once both American and great.

The sampler pack has four types of wheat beer in it and here's what I thought of each of them:

* Hop Hound Amber Wheat -- this one wasn't bad at all. It's a pleasing amber color and is amazingly devoid of both complexity and after taste. This is a very straight-forward, light beer that is just made for guzzling. I liked it.

However, I didn't taste much in the way of hops. There's plenty of malt in this, but it's hard to tell if the "hops" flavor is provided by actual hops or just a lot of carbonation. Further, the beer loses a point or two for being rather bland overall. A "craft beer" is supposed to be distinct, but this stuff tastes like one of several wheat beers I've had over the years.

This one isn't bad, but it isn't great, either. Regardless, it's a pleasant beer that suggests that some of that Belgian influence might not be such a bad thing. It's a couple of notches above the domestic beers I generally drink, so I may purchase some more of this in the future.

* Michelob Honey Wheat -- This one was a disappointment. Think of any thin, generic American beer you've ever had, stir in some honey and you've got this stuff. One criticism I've always had about American beers is that they just taste too thin and lack character. This is the same as most of those cheap domestic beers I've had, with the exception of a bit of honey thrown in for good measure.

Where's the sharp tang that is associated with wheat beers? It's simply not here. There's too much honey thrown in here, too. It's not bad, but I'll never bother with buying more of this stuff.

* Shock Top Belgian White -- This one was so bad I actually got angry. That cloudy, gold color looks great, but this beer tastes like someone let a cheap sucker dissolve in it. InBev? What the hell is that? Short for "Belgians Like to Throw Weird Crap InBeverages?" The weird crap in this beer is orange, lemon and lime peel and coriander. That's right. It's full of citrus and cilantro. Who the hell wants that?

Do you find the folks at Guiness dumping fruit in their beer? What would Jack Daniels taste like if the folks around there thought, "Hey, let's dissolve a bunch of pears in our whiskey. That would be fun!" You just don't go around throwing components of a fruit salad and/or salsa in beer, for God's sake. It's just plain wrong and unnatural and that's doubly true when the weird crap overpowers the flavor of the beer.

This beer tastes like an experiment gone wrong. Blasted Belgians and their fruity damned beer. Could this sampler pack get any worse?

* Michelob Dunkel Weisse -- Yes, this sample pack can get worse. A lot worse, in fact. Give me back that Shock Top trash so I can wash the taste of this swill out of my mouth. Yes, it's that bad.

Now, it looked promising when I poured it in my glass in that it's nice and dark. Dark beers tend to be great, right? This stuff is far from great. The "weird crap" of choice this time around is cloves and banana. But mostly cloves. Go over to your spice rack and stuff your mouth full of cloves. Enjoy that taste? Do you, bucky? If you do, you'll love this stuff.

Honestly, cloves are about all you can taste in this beer. It is the definition of horrible. Shock Top may have tasted like a failed experiment, but this trash tastes like a dirty trick. About 20 years ago, I had a few bucks in my pocket and wanted some beer. The only thing I could afford was Hamm's. For years, I've said that was the worst beer I've tasted. You've been replaced, Hamm's. Michelob Dunkel Weisse now holds the crown. Sorry, Hamm's.

This beer made me hate what's become of Anheuser-Busch and question how the hell InBev got to be such a huge company. I can just imagine someone sitting around and trying to figure out how to "improve" the classic Budweiser formula by infusing it with such great tastes as strawberries and garlic; mango, kiwi and cat urine; fried squash and wet dog; or pearl onion, mushroom, apple and Wintergreen Skoal spit. God help us.


I've got a bad feeling about this...

6 comments: said...

Anheuser-Busch was as American as hot dogs, baseball and apple pie.

Not any more.

I wonder what's next?


Eat Well. Live Well.

Da Old Man said...

Remember a few years ago, I forgot what company it was, had a commercial with "Man Rules?" One biggie was don't fruit the beer.

Those wacky Belgians never knew that, I guess.

Denford said...

Well, there goes the neighbourhood!! Perhaps not. But, Hawg, I am sure you know that, universally, American beer is considered weak.

When I was an illegal immigrant in UK many years ago, British drinkers used to laugh at such American beers as Bud and Coors because they considered them not "manly enough".

Germans, on the other hand, are considered the best brewers of beer in the world and right next door to us here in Zimbabwe, we have Windhoek Lager, made in Namibia by puritans who stick to the German like a religion. That beer is considered the best in Africa!!

Belgians are basically dissident Germans (which is why Hitler was after them, I suppose), so I should think they also use the German method.

But having grown up with Bud and Coors, I just wonder if your tastebuds are not prejudiced against the Deutsch-type beer?!

Still, Hawg? The Beer Connoisseur? I would never have thought. You sound so knowledgeable!! A Man of many talents indeed.

Harrison said...

Belgians make some great beer. Cat urine is not a flavor I'd like.

Sandy said... sure can't hurt,cause it's lousy beer. I'm surprised how many say they actually like it. I consider it without much merit as far as taste go. Sadly, a few years back I developed an allergy to beer and so never drink it anymore; but when I did enjoy a good Ale...Bud wasn't it.

Still, I don't know they get by with the commercials, saying it's America's Beer, it's NOT. They sold out.

Enjoyed touring the brewery in St. Louis a few years back. Some neat history there. Shame to see what has been a family owned, American owned company sell out.


Mr. New Dilemma said...

What was wrong with regular ole' Michelob? It was a good Tuesday beer.