Lately it feels like you must do three things if you want to have a beer website, blog, or any online source of beer information.
1) You must love beer.
2) You must be somewhat knowledgeable about beer.
3) You must write a piece on Budweiser American Ale.
Just about every website that I read has written something about this new beer, partly because Budweiser sent out a beautiful promotional gift to most of the better beer writers in America. (I say most because mine must have gotten lost in the mail.) I guess it is hard not to generate this kind of buzz since it is the first time in the long storied history of Anheuser-Busch that they are putting the words "ale" and "Budweiser" together on a label. It is a signal that sales of Bud are flat and that they are jumping into the craft beer movement. Originally I was not going to post anything about this beer but after a call from Blogger that told me the American Committee of Beer Bloggers would revoke my beer blog if I did not, I figured it was best to throw something up. (I'm joking. I think.)
American Ale poured a clear, dark red color with a off white foam head that was the width of my thumb. The aroma gave off Cascade hops (if you couldn't smell it they make sure you know by printing it prominently on the label) and a little bit of malt. The body was a lighter style ale, but with some interesting things going on. The Pacific Northwest malt (thanks label) is prevalent up front but stays with the beer throughout. There is also a nice hop profile but tails off quickly until it pops back up in the finish. The finish is nothing to write home about but does the job. The beer left a small amount of hanging lace on the glass. The beer's body is what I found most interesting. Most of the ales that I enjoy are very well balanced, but this usually means a lot of malt up front and a lot of hops later with some intermingling going on in the body. This beer seems to give and take as it progresses on the palate without either the malts or hops being dominant on either end.
With all of this being said, this is not a bad beer. It is nothing special but I like it. I think that A-B making a decent product is hard to swallow for a lot of people and that this beer might not get it's fair due. A quick check of the reviews on this beer at Beer Advocate and i can find the quote "Well done AB, this proves that big brewers can make good beers." Really? It's that big of a shock that A-B knows how to make great beers? Look, A-B is filthy rich. They employ the best money can buy in everything. Marketing, Advertising, Human Resources and all the way down the line to brewers. They make less flavorful beer because it is profitable, not because they don't know how to do it. The only thing I am still curious about is exactly who the target market is for this product. I highly doubt that they will convert a large number of craft beer drinkers into fans (although I bet a few will). I think that Bud's regular drinkers might be tempted to try it, but I am not sure enough will. Only time (and sales reports) will tell.