Concerning 1933 Repeal

The stubby bottle release of Budweiser 1933 Repeal Reserve Amber Lager comes with a bit of confusion. No, this is not the Bud made available in March 22, 1933, when President FDR signed the Cullen-Harrison Act that authorized the sale of 3.2% beer in the United States. Rather, this 1933 Repeal is a re-creation of a pre-prohibition recipe created by Adolphus Busch, before his death in 1913.

amber pre pro

For those who have been conditioned to think that the name Budweiser is an evil word and nothing produced by them is worth considering: Think again. Perhaps the historical significance of this beer would be easier to understand, if you looked at Maureen Ogle’s book, Ambitious Brew: the story of American beer. This Reserve Amber Lager captures the American imagination with a substantially malty, delicious beer.

stubbyThe marketing war over what is craft, and what is not, continues unabated. But, as always, it is the recipe that captures the conscience of the Beer Doctor. I pity the folks who are so caught up in their neoliberal vision of business righteousness, that they can not see that the owners of the brewing industry, whether it is Ken Grossman, Jim Koch, Larry Bell, Dick Yuengling, or Carlos Brito, all share one thing in common. Their job is still sell more of their beers.
It is almost somewhat ridiculous to blame  the brewing industry troubles on Anheuser-Busch InBev alone. Their world famous Budweiser has seen a 5% drop in US sales. In fact, despite massive spending on professional sports advertising, both Bud and Bud Light have seen a decline in demand that continues. Does that mean the introduction of 1933 Repeal will turn this corporate sized ship around? Probably not.
The marketing of this new brand has not reached Bud fans very much. In conversations at grocery stores and beer caves, I asked folks who buy Bud on a regular basis if they had heard anything about this new beer? The vast majority did not, even when I pointed out it had been advertised during the World Series. The blank looks I received from shop owners for my inquiries, was similar to when I asked, for months, whether anyone had Leinenkugel’s 150th Anniversary Lager. It seems that a macro specialty beer is a mysterious production, that sometimes even the sales rep knows very little about.
I began to wonder what demographic is 1933 aimed at? The loyal Bud drinker, the kind who drink their Bud with ice, will probably resist the robust flavor found here in 6.1% strength. The famous craft beer crowd who object to anyone questioning their good versus evil narrative, will not touch this beer. So who is left? Just about everyone with an open mind. All I can say is that Budweiser 1933 Repeal Reserve Lager is a great recipe. Proof that a Macro Brewery can produce a great tasting beer that everyone can enjoy.
Cheers!
The Beer Doctor

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Homeless For The Holidays

There was a time when people held on to the quaint notion that the marketing of the holidays was performed within a limited window of opportunity. Thus, you had complaints about Christmas decorations being put on display before Halloween was concluded. But in this neoliberal age of on-line smart phone shopping, that is so 20th century.
The same principle applies to the release of winter/holiday beers. It used to be the short window approach, but now, it is best to sample these beers as soon as you obtain them. In other words: the fresher the better.
This certainly applies to Great Lakes Christmas AleglcThe state of Ohio’s favorite wassail, the Christmas Ale recipe speaks for itself. Certainly the beer fans of Ohio have spoken. That is why you find stacks of this ale, often in convenience stores. The unbeatable combination of spices and honey make this a much anticipated annual treat. The fresher the better.

When it comes to American wassail, the grandfather of the style is of course, Anchor’s “Our Special Ale” 43rd edition43edThis the first Anchor Christmas Ale since the brewery was acquired by Sapporo Holdings. This is my 27th sampling of this legendary ale, where the recipe changes from year to year. Often in the last twenty years there was a touch of what has been described as a spruce essence. But this year that signature has all but disappeared, along with the associated aromatics. Instead is a deep malty presentation accentuated with unnamed spices. This produces a semi-dry dark chocolate palate that is the strongest edition to date at 6.7%. Malty from start to finish, with subtle complexity , and despite all legacy implications (or the lack thereof) this is a very enjoyable Holiday ale.

bellxmas There is that old overused saying that if it’s not broke don’t fix it! This certainly applies to Bell’s Brewery Christmas Ale. A Scotch ale, this is a classic wee heavy take on holiday festivities. To be clear, this is a beer I love to drink.

Then there is from Marshall, Michigandarkhorsexmas Dark Horse Brewing’s 4ELF ale, a winter warmer spiced ale, where cinnamon and cloves are combined with malts to create a palate that produces an impression of vanilla, swimming in a sea of dark chocolate. Despite the enthusiastic complexity, this is a surprisingly drinkable ale.

Christmas Ale party 2017 square It has been 2 years since Anheuser-Busch InBev bought the Breckenridge Brewery. Besides being banished to the Craft Brewers Association of outer darkness, the real question is: has the recipe of their Christmas Ale changed? A famous Scotch ale take for the holiday, the recipe seems unchanged and delicious. The only difference is the corporate streamlined label and packaging, which is graphically colder than their original presentation.

jubelaleThe 30th Anniversary of Deschutes Brewery Jubelale reveals that this recipe has stood the test of time. A five malt, five hop, creation that is spicy without the use of spices. Even the IBU rating of 65 is somewhat misleading. This is not some over hopped bitter bomb IPA, rather, it is a masterful example of American winter ale.

index A spiced dunkelweizen bock or as it is said on the carton: wheat bock with spices. I would not be surprised that many people in the beer world have forgotten that Samuel Adams Winter Lager has been made annually for 28 years. Not that there haven’t been a few tweaks over the years ( I still recall the first time they employed Saigon cinnamon) but this tried and true recipe I have always loved. I wish the Christmas Bock tradition would return because bock is my very favorite style of beer.
Love and peace, and that’s not so funny in these tumultuous times.
The Beer Doctor