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Oct 3, 2008 07:46 PM

New Budweiser American Ale

Has anyone tried the Budweiser American Ale? Inasmuch as generally avoid Budweiser, I decided to give it a go (thank God for retailers where you can buy one bottle at a time). Budweiser is trying to be something that it is not. I fear that my knowledge of beer nomenclature is not up to describing the tastes, etc. I simply did not like it. Perhaps I can explain like this: it's like hoping for Bruce Springsteen and getting Justin Guarini.

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  1. I've tried the beer twice and thought they did a fine job. It's not over the top, nor is it meant to be. It's a great value at a couple bucks less than the typical craft brew for a six-pack. This is not the beer I would seek out, but I could certainly drink it and enjoy it if offered.

    (Disclaimer: I first tried this beer on a paid trip to the AB St Louis brewery.)

    1. Maybe its a new spin after InBev's acquisition, or they're exploring new markets to tap.

      What I never understood was why Czech Budweiser in middle Europe tasted good in comparison to the American variant.

      11 Replies
      1. re: girobike

        Inbev hasn't acquired AB yet, and American Ale was in the works before Inbev made their offer. Certainly the large brewers are looking for ways to tap into the craft market.

        1. re: Jim Dorsch

          Thanks for the info Jim. I'm hoping that InBev/AB doesn't put more craft breweries down though.

          1. re: girobike

            Certainly they'll want to compete, as they should, but I don't think the big breweries want to crush craft breweries (even if they could, and they can't). Small brewers put a great face on the industry, for example in the eyes of legislators, and they stir much interest in consumers. Also, they're very important to wholesalers, who might have AB as a cornerstone, but make many incremental dollars on high-margin craft beers.

              1. re: Jim Dorsch

                "big breweries [don't] want to crush craft breweries (even if they could, and they can't). "

                Right. It was an accident when they put over 90% of the small breweries out of business before.

                1. re: FrankJBN

                  Yeah. Come to Austin and I'll show you the building where Celis used to be brewed, before Miller bought it and shut it down.

                  1. re: Bat Guano

                    The Celis situation appeared to be the mishandling of an investment, as opposed to purposefully putting a competing brewery out of business. MBCo also bought into Shipyard and later sold its stake back to Alan Pugsley and Fred Forsley. And MBCo bought Leinenkugel's, which has worked out well for them.

                    1. re: Jim Dorsch

                      "Mishandling of an investment"??? WTF does that mean? Bottom line is, they shut down one of the truly great breweries in the US, and that's unforgivable.

          2. re: girobike

            That would be because Budvar (THE original Budweiser made by the Budvar brewery) isn't Budweiser (AB stole the name).

            1. re: bkhuna

              Actually, American Bud was made before Budweiser Budvar.

              1. re: Jim Dorsch

                My memory must be failing.... I had Budvar when I was in Czechoslovakia and I swear I was told that AB stole their name. Must be a matter of pride.

                Thanks for setting me straight.

                I tried Bud. American Ale and my reaction was that someone had watered down some Sam Adam's. The Bud looks nice and has a nice head, but it's a little light in body.

          3. I went through a six pack of this beer last week and found it to be a pretty good beer, and considerably better than I expected. Very drinkable, very nice aroma, and a really fine balance (which is lacking in so many beers these days in the recent trend for making everything "extreme"). I think A-B has a winner with this one, provided they don't dumb it down any more. It compares favorably to the current product that claims to be Bass Ale, and by virtue of it's association to the "Bud" family of products will probably win over at least some Joe Sixpack customers, many of whom I think will try the product based on the "Bud" association.
            I love small brewery beers and a cartload of hops as much as anyone does, but a high hopping rate and/or a small "craft" brewery doesn't automatically guarantee a beer better or higher quality. Indeed, lately, it pains me to see the reality that more and more, the opposite has been true.
            Jim is right...A-B won't kill the micro industry with this or any product and the micros certainly to not threaten A-B. After all, A-B mainly concentrates on making the type of beer that the overwhelming majority of beer drinkers like. But the micro industry's successes have definitely gotten A-B's attention as evidenced by this product (and the Michelob specialty products, some of which are also quite good). The micro industry will shake _itself_ out, just as it has been doing. The quality products and the truly committed brewers will survive. The speculative investors and amateur wannabes turned microbrewers, and other 'dabblers' in the beer business expecting to make a fast buck (many of which are making far worse beer than the big brewers they like to vilify) will dissapear on their own. It IS a shame though that with the increased competition for shelf space these days, some of the good micros won't make it either.

            6 Replies
            1. re: The Professor

              Hi Professor,

              Thanks for the education. We're in Munich at the moment and its Oktoberfest time, so I have a lot of reason to reflect on the state of beer. I didn't realize that speculators and amateur wannabees can actually make it that far!

              Although the Oktoberfest is basically a big-company game (they supply the beer for the tents with their branding), many of the independent brewers are selling their products on the shelf of specialty stores (e.g. organic ones) at the moment.

              An example of this is Neumarkter Lammsbraeu (see and photo), which donates a percentage of the profits to the farmers to keep their supply of malt and hops organically certified.

              You can click on the USA graphic on the right of the webpage for an English version.

              Their products are excellent. Not just good - excellent. You can taste the purity of their Pilsner so crisply that words cannot describe the feeling. Same goes for their Weissbier.

              Happy to keep the discussion going, its a pleasure.

              1. re: girobike

                You'll find on the website that Lammsbrau has begun importing to the U.S. market. Hell of an economy to try to make that work. I wish them luck. They're importing the heavy reusable bottles, 50 use variety. The Germans have got the glass handling side of the beverage business completely figured out. Very green. Hopefully the U.S. market will see the efficiencies and adopt similar practices.

                Lammsbrau farmers are organized as a cooperative for sharing knowledge. Lammsbrau is somewhat unique in that they produce their own malt. Their most distinctive products are any of the dunkels. These are real dunkels made with real oxidized dark malt (not toasted), and I don't think there are many like them anywhere. Donating profits for certification? Maybe. But they do buy the hops and barley on contract from over 100 farmers, help finance, and pay guaranteed prices. The in effect help insulate farmers from the many risks associated with farming. It's a great partnership.

              2. re: The Professor

                Amateur wannabes are the people who started today's microbreweries.

                1. re: LStaff

                  That's true to some degree. And some of the microbrew beer they've produced is very good too. An equal amount is pretty dreadful.
                  But just like the homebrew world those "amateur wannabes turned commercial brewers" came from, there's a _lot_ of really bad product out there too. Since individual tastes vary, at least there's still something for everyone.
                  My rant was really more about trying to be more objective about the new wave of "craft " styled products the big brewers are putting out. Sometimes the big brewers do get it right.
                  Some folks dismiss their products for no other reason than that they come from a large company.
                  The micro movement is a great thing and as an avid homebrewer (for 37 years) I admire the pluck of those who took the dangerous plunge into the commercial jungle...but there's sure a lot of drek being sold in the guise of "craft ". If a big brewer "gets it right" and successfully creates a bolder product than their normal, typical American Lager , I give them kudos as well.

                  1. re: The Professor

                    There's less bad craft beer out there since the shakeout of the '90s.

                    The big brewers are certainly capable of brewing great beer. I think their primary problem is being willing to pull the trigger and make a really distinctive beer. But they're getting better.

                    1. re: The Professor

                      I think the world you are describing is about 10+ years too late. There certainly were a lot of dabblers back then who were only in it for a buck, and they definitely produced a lot of drek. But the weeding out has mostly happened by this point and the vast majority of beers that I see on the shelves is quite trustworthy- and your average craft beer consumer is much more savvy these days. Plus, the so called 'extreme' beer that gets the 'press' is still a comparitively small slice of the pie, barrel for barrel, and it most likely will always be that way.

                      As to the Bud American Ale, I am leaning towards that if it doesn't fit that niche for me of being a quality budget beer (i.e. around $20/case or less) then I don't see myself choosing it over the competition.

                2. I am still annoyed I was suckered into trying this. I had a nice 6 pack of German beer in my hand and out the corner of my eye saw the Bud American Ale. Not really remembering much about the reports I'd read (other than no-one thought it was really bad) I swapped out the beer and gave it a go.

                  Anyone want three bottles of this for free? I managed one and a half bottles before I moved onto something else in the fridge on Friday. Saturday I tried again, but two mouthfuls in I gave up. Not my kind of beer at all, wish a few more American brewers would copy some English ales a little more. I would love a few more alternatives to Tetleys / Speckled Hen or even to Boddington's instead of this Pale Ale style of beers people seem to like over here.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: rob133

                    Interesting observations. It would indeed be nice if there were more attempts at British style ales here. The oddly (and almost humorously) ironic thing though is that there would be a vocal faction of the "all malt, no adjunct" crowd which would ultimately reject them, since most British beers are made with a fair amount of sugars other than that from the malt. Doesn't automatically make them bad beers (not to me anyway); if it tastes good it tastes good.
                    I like all of the Brit examples you cited and I am fairly certain they all contain a good percentage of invert or other sugars/syrups.
                    Maybe someone here can verify.

                    1. re: The Professor

                      St George in Hampton, VA and Arcadian in Battle Creek, MI come to mind.

                      1. re: The Professor

                        I finally got around to trying this stuff. Not bad at all. I liked the low carbonation so I didn't get filled up with gas, and the aroma was pleasant. I also really appreciated the nice balance in hops; can't stand the overly-hopped stuff. What I didn't like was the odd fruity finish. And for $6.80 a six pack, I'll just spend the extra dollar and get Red Hook. I won't write the stuff off, but I'm still looking for a decent, cheap, English bitter-style beer.

                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                          Sounds like you had the mostly same impressions as I did...except I liked that slightly fruity finish, which is authentic to many British beers.
                          No matter how you slice it, A-B came up with something decent here. It'll be interesting to see how well it sells (I have yet to see it on draft anywhere).

                          1. re: The Professor

                            I thought this was a fairly good beer, certainly the best brew AB has on offer. For the price and ease of availability I think they did a fine job.

                            It would have been interesting to serve it to a room full of beer snobs without telling them who makes it. I bet it would get better ratings than if they knew it was an AB product.

                            1. re: Whisper

                              When I throw a party, I always decant my Carlo Rossi Chardonnay out of the trademark jug and into a nice crystal decanter. Guests just love the stuff, so there's a lot to be said about brand identification.

                              1. re: Whisper

                                Well, I had one back to back with a Terrapin American Pale and the turtle won!

                                I do know that Michealob bottles a whole series of "craft-ish" style beers. I wonder how the Bud American stands up to the Michealob Pale?

                                1. re: crewsweeper

                                  My recollection is that Mich pale has more of a gold color, so it less toasty than BAA, and that the bitterness stands out a bit more. But I haven't had it often.