Finished Business

When it comes to the Bass Ale being produced by AB InBev there is little need to break out an old school British bubble mug (the kind you might see in a pub in England, back in their heyday) for this unreasonable facsimile produced at the Budweiser plant in Baldwinsville, New York. You might as well just slip on a foam cozi  for the bottle, pry it off and start drinking, a beer with some flavor yes, but when it comes to representing The World’s First Pale Ale, it is characterless garbage.bass-usa
I will not go into the politics of so-called free market capitalism, but it is suffice to say that Anheuser-Busch InBev has the economic muscle to turn one of this world’s great historic, iconic brands into simply another product in their vast portfolio.
So much for Burton On Trent, England. Now that is just a marketing ploy on the label.
This was made even clearer to me, when I learned from a Beer Merchants email that Pabst Blue Ribbon is held in higher regard in the UK because it is actually still made in the USA. A bit of a reverse take here, where supposedly American beer like Budweiser is being palmed off in Britain as genuine, while it is actually produced in AB InBev plants in the United Kingdom.
There is no need to go into what happened to Beck’s, where Bremen, Germany now works in marketing, as geographical mythology.
I suspect that AB InBev’s acquisition of the Goose Island Beer Company while wind up in the same basket, where their core brands are farmed out to the Budweiser plants, leaving the fancier (as in expensive) productions to the craft brewers in Chicago.
Just because a beer has flavor does not mean it has character. Beck’s drinkers accustomed to the original work were unpleasantly shocked when the made in USA version came into being. But, as is usually the case when big money is involved, few seemed to notice, and even fewer seemed to care.
So far those just beginning to explore the world of beer, I would suggest checking out what I would call beers of character. Here are just a few:
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barley-Wine Style Ale
Fuller’s 1845 Celebration Ale
Schneider&Sohn Aventinus
Rodenbach Grand Cru
Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter
Anchor Liberty Ale
As they say in Zen: You are on your own with everything.


Unfinished Business

I should have covered this a year ago, but unforeseen circumstances (I will spare you the details) prevented me from  sampling Budweiser Black Crown Lager until yesterday.
Now I had to share some grief with the so-called craft beer community a few years ago, when my honest reaction to the ill-fated Budweiser American Ale was that it was a respectable brew. Funny how all this became a problem for those who could not fathom the idea that a mega-brewery could entertain the thought of making a beer  based upon taste. But this was before the Goose Island Beer Co. became a wholly owned subsidiary of AB InBev and the faux craft beers of Blue Moon and Shock Top have advertisements on baseball fields.
There are some funny notions about what beer actually is. Leave it to the idiocy of craft beer associations to decide who is crafty and who is not. As the late movie director John Cassavetes once said: “First we got to play games, then we got to keep score.”
Artisan Brewing is a much better term, but I sense that seems too sophisticated, in an ever expanding market where breweries attempt to distinguish themselves from each other. Meanwhile, the people who are not into studying beer, buy their beer oblivious to who owns it or which millionaire it makes happy.
Once upon a time, in a brew galaxy not far away, good beer was found only on draft or in glass bottles. But this was before the craft can revolution (a term that makes me laugh to this day). Funny how the price of the beer remains the same as its bottled brethren, despite the reduced shipping weight. You might ask a craft can enthusiast if they know the difference between a Ball or Rexam can?
Then there is the marketing business about alcohol which can best be described  as a get more bang for your bucks, which is what AB InBev emphasizes with Budweiser Black Crown 6.0% ALC./VOL. on the neck of the bottle. The same more hootch approach used by Budweiser Platinum and Beck’s Sapphire. But the term Black Crown is a curious term for a golden amber lager.
Which brings me to the actual sampling. I found this to be remarkably drinkable beer. The caramel malts provide plenty of support for a base that is pleasure to drink. Enough said.