Special Fourth of July edition of Beer of the Week brought to you as always by the fine folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits in Minnetonka. We'll review a very American brew and offer up some recommendations for the perfect beer to celebrate the Independence Day weekend.
For better or worse, Budweiser has become the iconic American beer. Even though it's now owned by a global consortium of Belgians and Brazilians, the brand is quintessentially American and--like Coca Cola--it's distinctive red, white, & blue design on cans and bottles has come to represent the United States around the world. After all, when you watch a movie about the Vietnam War you won't see choppers dropping cases of Miller to the thirsty GIs.
So when red-blooded American beer drinkers hear that Budweiser has a product out designed not to taste like the mass-produced swill that we usually associate with the brand, we can't help but take notice. Wouldn't it be great if there was a version of "America's beer" that actually tasted like...beer?
You can hardly come up with a name that says U.S.A. more than Budweiser American Ale. The brown bottle is well-designed and its shape aesthetically pleasing. The label is gloriously American with a dark red background, classic Budweiser font, and an eagle. And it's got a real paper feel to it that adds up to a great package.
Beer Style: Red Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 5.1%
COLOR (0-2): Nice dark amber. 2
AROMA (0-2): Strong malt smell. 1
HEAD (0-2): Rich and full. Good lacing. 2
TASTE (0-5): More malty than hoppy. Not much depth or complexity and what flavor there is comes off uneven. 2
AFTERTASTE (0-2): Overall the follow through is faint, but there's a lingering metallic aftertaste that's not pleasing. 0
OVERALL (0-6): Great bottle and label. Beer looks delicious in the glass, which raised my hopes. But it fails to meet those expectations with its taste, especially the aftertaste. Although I was a little skeptical going in, after the pour I really wanted to like this beer. Alas, it was not to be. While it's far superior product compared to regular Bud, it's not a beer that I would recommend. 2
TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 9
On to some beers that I do recommend for drinking over the Fourth of July weekend. My favorite summer beer style for taste and refreshment is hefe weizen. If you're a fellow hefe fan and can get your hands on Two Brother's Ebel's Weiss or Widmer Brothers Hefe Weizen, you won't be disappointed. The true king of the hefe class is Paulaner and you should be able to find it almost anywhere. I've personally enjoyed it in the mountains of Bavaria and on the bank of the Huangpu River in Shanghai. It might cost a bit more ($9-$10 a six pack), but it's well worth it. Don't forget the slice of lemon.
You'll also want a good brew to go with your grilling this weekend. When it comes to beer and barbecue, you're goin' to want to get hoppy. Three local beers can help fill that bill. Brau Brothers' Sheephead Ale is a limited release that I've really been digging lately. Rush River Brewing's Unforgiven Amber Ale is not your traditional amber. It's much hoppier and goes great with grill fare. Last but certainly not least, we have Surly's Furious. Like Paulaner, you're going to have to pay more for the pleasure of enjoying Furious, but again it's well worth it. Your mouth will be in hop heaven.
Have a great Fourth.