Saturday, May 23, 2009

American Land

Anheuser-Busch has actually been doing some decent things lately with the newly refurbished Michelob Craft line (their Porter and DunkelWeisse are both very nice and the Irish Red and Pale Ale aren't half bad either), and although the Budweiser American Ale is not a part of the Michelob family, I figured I'd give it a second shot in hopes that it was more in line with the Michelob offerings and I just had an off bottle the first and only other time I've sampled it.

The pour looks decent enough with a lighter, slightly watery amber colored liquid topped by a quick to dissolve bubbly off-white head that leaves tiny spots of residue on the glass.

The aroma is very sweet. To the point that it's somewhat intrusive. Strike that, it's definitely intrusive and overpowers any other faint charateristics, which in this case are a hint touch of grassy hops and maybe a bit of earthy malt. Flavor gets a little better by building on the aromatic traits, but not by much. There's more of a toasted malt flavor here which is nice enough, and the sweetness is tames a bit and is balanced better, but it is still too overpowering.

By toning down the sweetness, jacking up the hop presence even just a touch, and taking the mouthfeel from watery to something with just a bit more heft, this could be a much nicer beer that still plays to the masses (which is the obvious attempt here) but can also appeal to the more hard core beer lover. Anheuser-Busch really crapped the bed here. This isn't awful but they just miss the mark in so many places. If it were me, I'd have modeled this one after beers like Fat Tire from New Belgium or Red Tail Ale from Mendocino. Neither one of those hits you with a ton of flavor, but they work nonetheless and a brand like the Fat Tire has achieved a ridiculous cult following by working simple flavor into a balanced beer. Sorry, A-B, but you need to go back to the drawing board with this one.