Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shock Top Belgian White (2009 original review)

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - MAR 28, 2010
A lot of beer geeks jokingly wish there was a beer suitable for breakfast but are thankful no such beer exists since drinking beer with breakfast is something only a raging alcoholic would do, right? While I have never even remotely considered drinking that early in the day, if I had to pair a beer with breakfast I think Michelob’s Shock Top Belgian White would be an ideal match.

This is a beer that tastes almost exactly like so many of the frozen morning drinks from concentrate made by huge processed foods conglomerates. Whether that’s a compliment or a detriment is up to you, though. Yes, this beer is very drinkable and sweet, but it’s also a total gimmick.


I’m quite certain you could pour a bottle of Shock Top and give it to an unsuspecting person and tell them it’s a breakfast beverage and they’d likely believe you based on the look and smell alone. It’s an unfiltered wheat beer so it’s a light shade of orange or a dark shade of gold. It’s also extremely hazy, although no sediment is noticeable (neither is carbonation). It forms a very small white head which quickly fizzles away and leaves no lacing on the glass.

The aroma is very sweet and citrusy like some kind of just-add-water tropical fruit juice. In fact, it’s almost a bit sour in the nose like orange juice (or drink) that has started to go bad.


I once said if I wanted a beer that tasted like wine I’d just skip the middle man and buy wine. I never thought I’d have to say the same thing about a beer that was like a breakfast drink. Shock Top is indeed very sweet, almost to the point of being sugary, so it’s a perfect juice substitute. There’s a citrus taste to the palate, which isn’t surprising since the label clearly indicates it’s made with orange, lemon and lime peels. But the body itself is thin and watery so as to make the overall flavor extremely mild. I do detect just the slightest bit of spice due to the coriander, but I really had to look for it. Otherwise, the beer is pleasantly sweet and perhaps even a bit refreshing.

Unfortunately, Shock Top never truly satisfies since it’s so obviously a gimmick. There is absolutely nothing in the palate to indicate this is a beer. There is no hop bitterness and the sweetness doesn’t seem to be derived from the malts, but tastes like a powdered drink mix (probably from an abundance of yeast). As much as I appreciate a sweet taste, I still want my beer to have the basic properties of a beer.


A beer like this is truly difficult to critique since it never truly satisfies the palate, but its drinkability factor is through the roof. As unbeer-like as Shock Top is, it’s actually a characteristic that could work in its favor.. I even had to make an effort not to chug it even though it didn’t impress me much as far as taste. It did leave a slightly dry, powdery aftertaste but it was as mild as the flavor.


I am astonished that the label for this brew indicates it has a potency of 5.2% ABV. Considering its mild flavor and smooth finish I would have estimated it as an even lighter brew. With its thin, watery body and mildly sweet taste, Shock Top is a perfect party beverage.


I’m really having a dilemma trying to finalize my opinion on Michelob’s Shock Top Belgian White. On one hand it’s fairly tasty and a ridiculously easy beer to drink, but on the other hand it’s obviously a gimmick and never truly satisfies. There are certainly a lot worse beers out there that are much more inherently offensive so I can’t quite consider this one among them. But just because it’s drinkable doesn’t make it of high quality, either.

Grade: 5/10

NOTE: Read and watch my 2014 re-review here:

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