Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bud Tasting Lunch

Budweiser sent me their new 'Project 12' beers to try, and I decided that I wanted to do something a little more fun than just sitting on my couch drinking beer in front of the TV. So I gathered a few friends from my office, and hosted a small "tasting lunch" on a slow day. We just brought whatever we had for lunch into a conference room, shared small samples of each brew and discussed what we thought.

'Project 12' is Budweiser's new innovation arm that dabbles into the craft brew arena and gave us Black Crown. As VP Brian Perkins told PRNewser, "Budweiser brewmasters are the professional athletes of brewing. We threw them the ball and let them show off a bit." This year in their second endeavor, the result is three new beers, identified by the ZIP code where they were brewed. All of the beers were immediately identifiable as Budweiser, made with their proprietary yeast cultures descended right from the culture originally used by Adolphus Busch in 1876 (yeah, I also recently went on a Budweiser brewery tour...), but packed in new flavor.

Batch 94534 from Fairfield, CA is a North Pacific Style Lager that Budweiser describes as a "bold, hoppy lager brewed with a unique blend of North Pacific hop varieties, including Cascade and Palisade, that offers a distinct taste of the American Northwest." We all pretty much agreed that we aren't wild about beers described as hoppy, hoptacular or hoppilicous. The 94534 profile was fairly mild in comparison to craft beers that scream hops, but we were more excited about trying their maltier counterparts.

We saved Batch 23185 from Williamsburg, VA, the Vanilla Bourbon Cask, for last since we expected the "light amber lager aged on a bed of bourbon barrel staves and vanilla beans" to be the tastiest. 23185 did appeal to our sweeter, girly side, but Batch 43229 out of Columbus, OH proved to be our favorite. The Beechwood Bock is "brewed with chocolate and caramel malts for a rich auburn appearance and finished on Beechwood chips for a crisp, clean taste." There it is again, that signature crisp, clean Budweiser finish that is much lighter than most caramely craft beers. This is one we could drink all evening without having to "switch to something not-so-heavy" (how many times have we said/heard that).

As you might see in the pictures, our resident Nicaraguan co-worker also brought some rum for us to try as well. It ended up being a really fun lunch, something a little different to break up the day.

The three new 'Project 12' beers are available as part of a sampler pack in stores now.

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