It's Macrobrew night!
Recently it seems that the largest American breweries have become somewhat concerned with losing market share to the smaller craft brewers. They're right to be worried. The average microbrew is so much tastier than the bulk of the beer that's sold only by marketing that they're having trouble keeping up with commercials alone. Consequently, we've seen the emergence of products like Blue Moon, which is put out by Coors. It's marketed like a craft brew that just happens to be in pretty much every grocery store's beer selection (in states where this is how it works). Quite honestly, Blue Moon is a pretty respectable beer. It doesn't hold up to the best whites from Belgium, or Allagash's that I reviewed here, but really, I can't complain. While I'm not going to give it a full review, it's about a
and a half
Anyway, onto the matter at hand. Last time I was at Beers of the World, I picked up a few pseudo-craft beers that are being put out by the major US breweries to see how they stack up. There might even be some real bargains in this genre. The first one I'm going to review is the Winterfest Ale from Coors. I paid $1.55 for a 12 oz bottle. I'm not sure of the 6 pack price, but this is cheaper than any other craft brew beer at BotW, so it's definitely inexpensive beer.
The beer pours a pleasantly non-urine-colored golden red, and it has a decent head on it. Taking a whiff, it unfortunately doesn't smell like much. I was ready for disappointment, but on taking a sip, it's much better than my nose lead me to believe. It's not a particularly deep beer, but it's got a decent malt. It doesn't have much in the way of hops, but the malt lingers longer and more pleasantly than I expected. I'm going to give this beer
. It's nothing exceptional, but for this price, you can do a lot worse. If this was what was being served at a college party, I'd be pretty stoked. Overall, I'd have to say it was a pretty good effort from Coors.
Second is Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale from Anheuser Busch. This beer also cost me $1.55 for a 12 oz. This one in particular caught my eye thanks to Magic Hat's Jinx, where the bourbon aging really added to the beer. I doubt this one will fare as well, but I'm curious how it will compare.
It pours an almost identical color. It might be just a hair lighter. It smells a fair bit different, and a fair bit more. I smell the wood, and the malt much more. On tasting it, though, an entirely new flavor comes through, and comes through strongly. The second thing on the label that I forgot to mention is that apparently this was aged with vanilla beans as well. I had no idea what that would mean, but now I know. I get a beer that, well, tastes very strongly of vanilla. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. It's unlike any beer I've ever had. On the traditional side, I'd say the malt is a little bit more flavorful than the Coors offering, but I can't decide if the vanilla flavor is a bonus or a detriment. I finished it, though. I'm going to award this beer a tentative
and a half
, which would be its rating if you like vanilla. Anheuser Busch has succeeded in doing something unique, I suppose. If you don't like vanilla, though, stay away.
For my final beer, I got a bottle of JW Dundee's Porter. Technically, this is brewed by the High Falls Brewery in my homeland. However, according to RDH, High Falls was recently bought by Anheuser Busch, so I'm considering them for this. High Falls is mostly known for their cheap plonk beer Genny and Genny Lite (They're essentially Bud and Bud Lite), and JW Dundee's Honey Brown, but their line has been expanding since the buy out. I guess that's where the porter comes in. It's a little more expensive, though. I paid a whopping one dollar and fifty NINE cents for a 12 oz of this beer, so I'm expecting a super premium brew.
The beer pours a nice porter color, dark brown, but not too dark, and with a good head. It smells, well, quite good. I smell wood, smoke, hops, coffee, and a little bit of the nuttiness, all the typical flavors of a good porter. It tastes pretty good, too. It's not quite as deep or rich as the Rogue or the Stone, but it's got a nice flavor to it. Everything I smelled comes through in the flavor nicely. Nothing dominates disproportionately. It lingers pretty well, too. I'm going to award this beer
. This may not be the best porter I've ever had, but damn if it isn't one of the best values in beer. If you gave this to me blind and then told me it was from Anheuser Busch, I'd probably fall out of my chair. Nicely done, and I recommend this beer to any dark beer lover who's looking to drink well on the cheap.
Also, thumbs up on the new image sizes? I was thinking that 640x480 was a little too large.
Last edited by MrWookie; 11-12-2008 at 09:04 PM.