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Aug 23, 2007 01:10 PM

Domestic beers- then and now

I'm early 40's and don't drink as much beer as I did when I was younger. I'm a martini-izer and wine-o mostly but still enjoy a beer now and again.

It seems to me that "regular" domestic beers (Bud and Coors are two that I'll drink on occasion) have a distinctly different flavor than they did when I first figured out how good beer was. I'm wondering if something dramatic has changed in their materials, production or shipping processes or if it's simply that my taste buds have changed / dulled as I've gotten older.

To me there is a muted, soapy quality to a cold Bud today that wasn't there when I was 20 years old. It used to taste crisp, clean and fresh and now it's a different experience.

Now- I actually enjoy beer now flavor-wise more than I used to simply becuase in 2007 I can get a spanking fresh IPA with tasty hops and clean taste.. but sometimes you end up with a Bud or Coors and I just feel like something's changed. Is it me, or the product? Obviously nobody at Bud or Coors would say anything's changed.. but I'm wondering if someone has some true knowledge otherwise?

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  1. Despite the BS that they have been feeding their customers (and still are at their brewery tours) over the years, Budweiser has admitted to dumbing down the recipe to "match consumer taste".

    Couldn't find the original WSJ article, but it is referenced here:
    Mr. Muhleman, who is officially Anheuser’s group vice president for brewing and technology, says the company didn’t set out to make the beers less bitter. He calls the change “creep,” the result of endlessly modifying the beer to allow for changes in ingredients, weather and consumer taste. “Through continuous feedback, listening to consumers, this is a change over 20, 30, 40 years,” says Mr. Muhleman, gesturing toward the row of Budweiser cans. “Over time, there is a drift.”

    The five Budweiser cans in front of Mr. Busch, dating from 1982, 1988, 1993, 1998 and 2003, were pulled off the production line shortly after they were brewed. They were cooled to minus-321 degrees Fahrenheit over 16 hours and stored at that temperature in a secret laboratory in the company’s headquarters.

    The sample cans demonstrate how “creep” works. The difference in taste between two beers brewed five years apart is indistinguishable. Yet, the difference between the 1982 beer and the 2003 beer is distinct. “The bones are the same. It is the same structure,” says Mr. Muhleman. Overall, however, “the beers have gotten a little less bitter.”

    1 Reply
    1. re: LStaff

      The html version of the Wall Street Journal article is here (with a link to download it, with charts and illustration, as a Word doc.)

      Note that Miller research has shown that A-B is slowly "creeping" it's beers back up...

      (But what I really want to know is, does that unit that A-B stores the "minus 321 degrees" cans of Bud in have a sign on it which read "COLDEST BEER IN TOWN"?)