Nose: Malty, very slight hint of hops. Sour, yeasty aromas too
Mouth: Very light but not watery. Fizzy. Malty and sour. Finishes dull. Slightly hoppy after taste with citrus and slight pine flavors. A tad earthy.
The King of Beers. Budweiser. An American institution. You know, for quite a few years, they sold more Bud here in North America than any other beer anywhere else? This is a global juggernaut. You can find Budweiser everywhere. Just like the Miller Lite. It’s also consistent too. A Bud here is the same as a Bud anywhere else. Given all that, this is a king. It’s the pinnacle of mass produced. You can’t get this big being bold. You have to appeal to as many people as possible. You also have to be able to deliver a product so consistent it’s spot on every time you pop a top or tap a keg. Budweiser does it. Even if it isn’t your thing, it’s somebody’s thing ’cause they sure do sell alot of it!
But it sucks, right? Well…no. Get your nose out of the air and pay attention here. See, Budweiser has been being brewed since 1876. You don’t brew beer for a hundred and fifty years making crap. It’s not everybody’s thing but it’s not offensive either. Lots of people complain about the 30% rice content and say it’s not real beer because of that. Some even say there is corn in it but there isn’t. There’s no point to that and I’ll get to why in a minute here. But hey, we use other grains like rye, oats, wheat and even sorghum to make beer and those aren’t the traditional barley but we consider those beer. Why? ‘Cause of the label? That’s dumb.
See, the thing about rice is it’s bland (corn isn’t and it has a distinct flavor). It doesn’t add much flavor to anything at all. It’s also mostly sugars. Wait a minute here! What are you saying? Well, genius, you know where alcohol comes from, right? Alcohol is produced as a byproduct of yeast eating stuff. Know what it eats? Sugar.
OK, so what?
Well, this is what. If you want a beer that isn’t necessarily a light beer but isn’t a killer on the waistline for the majority of people, you need to cut carbs. I mean, that’s a huge selling point right there. Try our beer! It ain’t gonna make ya fat! WOOHOO! Sugar’s a carb though, right? Yes, it is. But, we aren’t the only organisms that live on sugar, right? Yeast is a living organism that LOVES sugar!
So, I want a beer that tastes like a beer, that many people are going to like because it’s a beer that isn’t going to make me fat and won’t make me suck my face inside out with a pucker factor. That’s a marketing pro’s dream right there! Practically sells itself!
How we gonna do it though? We can’t do the light beer thing, comes out all wrong and honestly can be kinda sketchy.
So here’s how. You take a grain that is loaded with sugar…like rice. It also needs to have a benign flavor so it doesn’t overshadow the good stuff like barley…like rice. It also needs to be cheap and easy to get…like rice. Hey! I know! Let’s use rice! What’s that gonna get us? Well, hey, to cut carbs, you have to convert carbs. We malt and roast barley because it breaks down the starches in to various sugars…for the yeast to eat and ferment the mash there by making a preserved liquid we call beer. We don’t want all those carbs though. So we have to convert them…to alcohol. We let the yeast do that. Barley isn’t super rich in sugar like rice is. So, we add rice to the mix because it cuts the carbs and raises the alcohol content without affecting flavor too much. We can get rid of the extra alcohol we don’t want by heating the end product slightly to evaporate what we don’t want. It’ll also stop fermentation thereby making the product in the bottle less likely to go skunky.
So yeah, rice may make it seem cheap but it’s actually ingenious to help control product quality. Whether you like it or not, Budweiser is a quality product and scores extremely high marks because it is so repeatable.
That’s why they use rice. It’s an inexpensive way to get the quality controlled product they want to market at a price people want to pay.
Now, as a beer, different story. This isn’t bad. It’s called a pale lager but honestly, it’s a Boehemian brew, just like pilsner and from an area of Boehemia (Czech Republic) not 100 kilometers south of Pilsn. It’s a town called Budweis. Like Pilsners, beers brewed from traditions originating in this area are called Budweisers. WHOA! MIND = BLOWN!
Hold on to your hats now! Guess where Adolphus Busch, the guy behind Budweiser, was from? BUDWEIS!
Guess what they brew in Budweis? A pale lager similar to a pilsner that is light in body and flavor.
So wait a minute! What are you saying? Budweiser is…actually…*GASP* A REAL BEER?!??!?!?!?!
THERE IS NO GOD!
Seriously folks, I’m not making this up. As a beer, Bud falls a bit short compared to it’s smaller competitors out there. It’s a little weak in the flavor department and is dominated by malts. It could do with just a smidgen of, I dunno, a Simcoe variety to give it a bit of zing in the after taste and not be reminiscent of a faint aroma…like a high school locker room a week before classes start. Like you know there was a sweaty gym sock in there somewhere at sometime but it’s not there anymore. Not to say that this smells like a sweaty gym sock. Just that you know this is a beer because there’s a faint hint there. If they just turned the volume knob up a couple notches this would be pretty good.
As it is now, I can take it or leave it. My biggest problem with it is that it’s like drinking a Coke. You know what it is, you know what it tastes like and it’s familiar enough. You have to try very hard though to find something to differentiate it from other colas. Same thing goes for Budweiser. This is a gettin’ drunk brew. It’s hard to sit down and enjoy this ’cause you’ll go through it very quickly trying to find enough of something in the flavor profile to pick out distinctively.
So as a pale lager, it gets low marks. I’ve had better. As a beer overall, it gains some traction for quality control, consistency and the life of the product. AB InBev is VERY good at making this brew. I’d imagine that the brewmasters can do it in their sleep and have every grain of barley and rice accounted for in the recipe. So kudos to them for that effort, it shows. I’ll even give it a tick for being appealing and unoffensive to a large number of people. So is this bad? No. Is there better out there? Oh, yes, lots of stuff is better. That’s subjective though. ‘Cause I know some people who are light beer aficionados and would swear that all the stuff I think is better is actually worse.
So is this for you? I dunno. Crack one open and decide for yourself. Just don’t let the beer snobs sway your opinion before you give it a fair chance.
I’ll say this though, out of all the macro brews out there, I think I’m a bigger fan of Miller Lite than Budweiser.