Happy St. Patrick's Day Eve! This is a beer I've actually been wanting to review for a long time because it was something of a go-to beer for me and my friends WAY back in the day. I remember drinking Killian's and being amazed by how much more flavorful it was compared to all the fizzy yellow lagers everyone else drank. I honestly can't remember the last time I've had this beer, and with St. Patrick's Day coming up I figured it was an appropriate time to review this. Will this turn out to be just another crappy faux craft beer from the BMCs or is it as good as I remembered?
3.4AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Craft beer geeks like me tend to be snobs, but at least we admit it! When it comes to mainstream macro breweries our expectations tend to be low, although this is based on experience. But everyone once in a while one of the "Big 3" (Bud, Miller, Coors) puts out a product that is either not bad or genuinely good. George Killian’s Irish Red is a good example of this - an amber lager based on (or perhaps "inspired by") an authentic Irish Red Ale recipe. It’s something of an "authentic replica," but a drinkable one and that’s good enough for now.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tumbler.
Appearance: Crystal-clear body with a pretty shade of dark amber/copper and plenty of noticeable carbonation. Initially poured to a huge head, but eventually dissipated down to a thin coating of suds and only minute lacing.
Smell: Slight toasted malt in the nose, some Coors Light-like possible adjunct notes as well. It’s all quite muted, though.
Taste: I’m actually surprised there’s something genuine to the palate here. This beer is made by Coors after all, and is not a true craft beer. There is noticeable toasted, cereal malt sweetness in the first half. It’s reminiscent of an English pub-style ale in that it’s mild with an ever-so-slight dark fruit flavor. The second half is where the macro lager backbone makes itself known with a generic lager-like taste of corn. It’s not a particularly bitter beer, although there is slight dry bitterness on the finish and aftertaste. As it warms, the macro qualities seem to grow stronger and the genuine flavors seem to diminish. Thankfully, it’s more than tolerable the entire time.
Mouthfeel: A little thicker and less crisp than most amber lagers and actually feels very ale-like, I’m surprised.
Drinkability: Definitely a smooth beer to be sure. In fact, I was much more impressed by the drinkability than the taste. I could session this at a sports bar if there was nothing else to drink. The 4.9% ABV seems spot-on to me.
Overall, not a great beer by any means, but far from a bad one. I hate having to give an honest thumbs up to a BMC brew, but I’m not jumping for joy about it, either.