Really? We Could Have Called This One…

Budweiser’s new craft-style beers don’t wow beer judges

Can a megabrewer make a beer that pleases craft beer fans?

We asked a panel of home brewers and credentialed beer judges (yes, there is such a thing) to sample three new craft-style brews from Anheuser-Busch.

The beers are the latest from Budweiser’s Project 12, a competition between A-B’s 12 U.S. breweries to develop the best new recipe using the same yeast Adolphus Busch used in the first batch of Bud in 1876. Last year, the winner was Black Crown, now part of A-B’s regular lineup.

This year, three beers were selected for a 12-pack set to hit store shelves nationwide Monday. The beers are named for the ZIP codes in which the breweries are located. And no, there isn’t a 32218, the ZIP code of the A-B brewery on Jacksonville’s Northside.

Here are some of the judges’ comments.

Ed Stansel/Times-Union

Batch 94534, North Pacific Style Lager. From the Fairfield, Calif., brewery, brewed with West Coast hop varieties including Cascade and Palisade.

“Hey, a twist-off! Now we know it’s a Bud.”

“Floral notes and pine on the nose.”

“Promising aroma, but the flavor doesn’t deliver.”

“Flavor is too mild, but it’s still better than a Bud.”

 

Conclusion: OK in a pinch, and good “gateway beer” to get people interested in craft beers.

Batch 43229, Beechwood Bock. From Columbus, Ohio. Brewed with chocolate and caramel malts and finished on Beechwood chips.

“Some bock-like sweetness but no complexity.”

“Pretty thin for a bock.”

“I guess it’s as much of a bock as a Shiner Bock.”

 

Conclusion: Not bad, just not much there.

Batch 23185, Vanilla Bourbon Cask. From Williamsburg, Va., aged on bourbon barrel staves and vanilla beans.

“Where’s the bourbon?”

“Maybe they soaked some toothpicks in an airline bottle of Jim Beam.”

“Sweet butterscotch candy and a suggestion of smoke.”

“Tastes exactly like a Werther’s Original.”

Conclusion: Wouldn’t order it.

Our take: They expect beer drinkers to remember five-digit names?

 

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