Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Schlitz Gusto (Classic 1960's Formula)

No, this is not a re-review. Schlitz "Gusto" is a new OLD version of Schlitz (as the label says - "Classic 1960's Formula"). Henry and I reviewed the regular version almost exactly a year ago and we both thought it was pretty decent for a macro adjunct lager. Now along comes this redux. Why the change? And will it be any better? Thanks to for requesting this one.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (644) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 4, 2011
I poured a 12oz bottle into a lager glass.

Appearance: Typical macro lager complexion of crystal-clear, white gold. Massive carbonation visible, but only forms a small, bright white sudsy head which retains well but doesn’t lace the glass.

Smell: What a macro adjunct lager might smell like if you had a sinus cold. Pretty much the same old notes of corn, grain and "dad’s beer" smell, but toned down compared to the big boys. Slightly sweet corn aroma, subtle grass notes as well.

Taste: While Schlitz Gusto is far from a great beer, I think it represents how inoffensive a macro brew could be if brewed properly. Unlike the "BMC" brands that are more about performance value than taste, Schlitz manages to deliver at least some flavor for a macro lager.

It begins with a slightly sweet taste akin to Corn Flakes and other cereal-like graininess. It gives way to a quick, but light kick of bitterness and finishes neutral and clean. That’s pretty much all there is to the palate: direct and simple. The flavors homogenize the more I drink on and the corn starts to sour and turn even a tad metallic-tasting. Compared to a Budweiser or an even cheaper "economy lager" it’s highly tolerable. I think just a few tweaks to the recipe could make this a genuinely tasty beer rather than something average and repetitive.

Mouthfeel: Not paper thin or watery, but on the lowest end of medium-bodied. Not fizzy, but carbonation does get stuck in the throat. Aftertaste is clean as a whistle.

Drinkability: The mild palate; wet, tepid mouthfeel, and lack of aftertaste make it extremely drinkable. Some CO2 does get stuck in the throat, but it’s not a cliché "fizzy yellow beer" per se. At 4.7% ABV Schlitz Gusto could technically be considered a sessionable lager, but it would have to be under ideal outdoor conditions. Your mouth would get tired of this quickly if you had nothing to distract you from it.

Overall, Schlitz Gusto is a decent macro lager and the first one I would reach for if I absolutely had to drink a macro lager. I think the regular Schlitz (R.I.P.) was actually a little better, but this is a worthy heir.

Grade: 5/10

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