Showing posts with label USA-Missouri. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USA-Missouri. Show all posts

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Shock Top Belgian White (2014 re-review)


3.3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (1123) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 5, 2014
I poured a 16oz can into a weizen glass. It was canned on 5/1/14 and cost only $1 ($0.06 per ounce).

Appearance: Hazy, translucent shade of light orange/maize. Visible carbonation. Pours to a large, white, frothy head which mostly dissipates and leaves little lacing on the glass.

Smell: A generic macro beer aroma with hints of orange and spice. Not something I’d usually identify with a witbier smell.

Taste: Shock Top Belgian White is probably the best beer made by Anheuser-Busch, and that’s really say something. Though, as true to the style goes – it has quite a ways to go to be a good example. I can see what it’s meant to do – be light enough tasting so as not to scare away the macro lager drinker, but unique enough to find interesting. In that aspect it works. Of course, holding it to the same standards as craft beer it is only alright at best (but again, that’s impressive considering the brewer).

There’s a general wheat flavor up front coupled with a light orange sherbet taste. A touch of coriander gives it a little zing or zip or zestiness, though this is in no way a spicy palette per se. I notice a slight tang or astringency on the finish, and just like the nose, there’s a nondescript “macro” quality to the palette as a whole here. Personally, I find it tolerable and I can appreciate it for what it is. Though I can understand snobs who hate it as well as newbies who love it. To me it’s just okay.

Drinkability: If you’re going to drink Shock Top Belgian White, the best way to enjoy it is as a summer seasonal (even though it’s available year-round). It has a refreshing quality to be sure, and it leaves a clean aftertaste, which is more than can be said for most macro beers. The mouthfeel is light with consistent carbonation and a smooth finish. It doesn’t seem to take full advantage of its 5.2% ABV body, as it drinks like something even lighter. I’m sure the average macro drinker would have no problem sessioning it in the summer, though. 
Grade: 6/10
NOTE: Read my 2009 text review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2009/07/michelob-shock-top-belgian-white-chadz.html

Watch my 2009 video review here:

Watch Jay and I review Shock Top vs Blue Moon in a blind tasting:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Rolling Rock Extra Pale (2014 re-review)


2.4
   AROMA 3/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 10/20
Chad9976 (1060) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 24, 2014
I poured a 25oz can into a boot stein. It was canned on 12/23/13 and cost $1.49 ($0.06 per ounce).

Appearance: Lives up to its name as it is definitely quite pale. Yellow/white gold hue, crystal clear body with plenty of carbonation visible. Pours to a small, bright white, soapy head which fizzles away and leaves little to no lacing.

Smell: Generic, uninspired, corny macro lager. Green bottles tend to be very skunky.

Taste: Rolling Rock Extra Pale has always been one of those macro beers with niche appeal. Probably because of the distinctive green bottles. It’s not quite a major macro brew, but it’s not considered among the lowest rung of economy lagers. Haven’t tasted it, it probably should be. There’s not a lot to like here. In fact, the beer tastes rather fake. It has a distinct corn presence from the use of actual corn as an adjunct, though I’m betting corn syrup is used to sweeten it as well. It imparts a slightly dirty/metallic character with an abrasive tang throughout. It’s like an "ice" brew without the ice.

Drinkability: This beer walks a fine line between being a straight macro lager and a light one. At only 4.5% ABV it’s not surprising that there isn’t much taste or body here, though it’s nowhere near being sessionable. The mouthfeel is thin and tepid with a watery texture. Somehow the carbonation still manages to get stuck in my throat. Though it finishes clean (thankfully), I would not describe Rolling Rock Extra Pale as a refreshing beer. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Budweiser Black Crown


3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1060) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 23, 2014
I poured a 16oz can into a lager glass. It was canned on 10/27/13 and cost $1.90 ($0.12 per ounce).

Appearance: Pretty copper/orange hue. Crystal clear with constant carbonation visible. Pours to an average sized, white, frothy head which retains and laces fairly well.

Smell: Faint hint of sweet malt, but otherwise totally generic macro lager aroma. No obvious adjunct distractions, though.

Taste: Budweiser has finally decided to make a "serious" lager with their new Black Crown brew. The recipe seems to be rather simple: one malt and four hops, yet the hops are not that prominent. What you really get is a stronger American version of an Oktoberfest as it has the usual flavors of toffee and caramel. There’s some diacetyl here as well, imparting a movie popcorn butter-flavoring. This is definitely a much better beer than regular Budweiser, but still has a way to go to be truly crafty.

Up front there’s a distinct sweetness of caramel, toffee and butterscotch (though that’s probably diacetyl). It fades quickly and morphs into a general lager flavor with some faint dryness from the hops. It’s not especially bitter or hoppy despite the marketing hyperbole. Though the palette here is much cleaner and more authentic than your average fizzy yellow beer. The beechwood finishing really doesn’t do much, except maybe impart some vanilla to accentuate the malt base. In the end, Budweiser Black Crown is a decent amber ale and a macro lager that’s more than just tolerable.

Drinkability: There’s a definite difference to the mouthfeel and drinking process of this beer compared to others of the genre. The delivery is a little thicker, calmer and noticeably smoother overall. I might even call it refreshing for a moment there. Still, I’m not sure why Budweiser Black Crown needs to be 6% ABV, as it drinks and feels like something a tad more sessionable. At least there’s no alcohol presence. 
Grade: 6/10

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat


3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (1059) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 18, 2014
I poured a 16oz can into a weizen glass. It was canned on 11/9/13 and cost $1.90 ($0.12 per ounce).

Appearance: Dirty blonde body. Translucent with plenty of visible carbonation. Pours to a large, white, foamy head which slowly dissipates and doesn’t lace the glass.

Smell: Nearly identical to most children’s green apple-flavored candy. No authentic beer aroma.

Taste: Beers like Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat are difficult to honestly judge. While I enjoyed the taste I experienced in this beer, it seemed quite obviously artificial to me. In fact, this doesn’t even really drink like a beer and is probably better considered as a flavored malt beverage (aka "alcopop"). Despite that, I have to say I liked the taste and drinkability, though I feel a little ashamed to admit that.

Just like the nose, the taste of the beer is quite similar to that of candy (especially Now & Laters). It’s a sweet flavor of green apple and sugar, though it is not rich or cloying. The label indicates that the beer is supposed to be "Belgian-style" and is brewed with cider, spices and a bunch of flavors added. There is no other information beyond that. I’m inclined to believe the cider and spices are used sparingly and all that "natural flavors" are in abundance. Since it tastes like candy, the palette is appealing. But as a true beer enthusiast I want something much more authentic and complex.

Drinkability: If ever there were a beer meant to be drinkable, this is it. The mouthfeel is akin to juice in that it’s a little thicker and more tepid than your average lager. Though it does have a bit of a watery texture to it and the finish is almost completely clean. Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat is refreshing though, I have to admit it. It seems a little too heavy at 5.2% ABV, since the body is so light. I’m sure many mainstream drinkers would have no trouble sessioning this, especially in the summer. 
Grade: 6/10

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Bud Light (2014 re-review)


2.4
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 10/20
Chad9976 (1057) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 15, 2014
I poured a 25oz can into a large mug. It had a "born on" date of 1/6/14 and cost $1.64 ($0.07 per ounce).

Appearance: Typical pee-yellow hue. Completely transparent with little carbonation visible. Initially pours to a large, bright white, soapy head, but it dissipates completely and cleanly.

Smell: Not as offensive as some other macro adjunct lagers since it uses rice instead of corn. Still contains a starchy, slightly dirty aroma.

Taste: A lot of my craft beer brethren cannot stomach a single swig of Bud Light and others of the general style anymore. I’ve built up a tolerance to beers like this by reviewing them occasionally. And while I would most certainly not consider this beer to be good, it’s not as offensive and repulsive as its reputation makes it out to be. Not that there’s anything to like here, though. The palette is mild to bland with a distinct adjunct flavor which seems to taint it. Thankfully, it’s lacking in overt brewing flaws like acetaldehyde and DMS - or at least they’re not quite as prominent here as in others of the ilk.

The taste is slightly sweet at the beginning. Nothing in the way of true, genuine malt character, though. It’s the taste of fizzy yellow beer - I don’t know how else to describe it. On the finish there’s some harshness in the form of astringency and a bit of a metallic taste or tang. Most macro brews like this tend to have that character as well, though it’s less intense here. Despite its inoffensive nature, I just can’t find anything to enjoy about Bud Light.

Drinkability: I don’t care what the adverts say, Bud Light is not the epitome of drinkability. The mouthfeel is thin and watery and surprisingly tepid. This makes it easy to gulp the beer down rapidly, but at no point is this a genuinely refreshing palette. It does finish clean, so at least there’s no lingering off flavors. Even though it’s a featherweight of a brew at only 4.2% ABV, I’m surprised it’s not even lighter. I’m sure this is sessionable to plenty of people, but I would never recommend trying. 
Grade: 2/10


NOTE: Read and watch my 2008 review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2008/12/bud-light-chadz-beer-reviews.html

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bud Light Platinum (2014 re-review)


2.5
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
Chad9976 (1056) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 7, 2013
UPDATED: FEB 11, 2014 (NOTE: This is my 2013 text review. I didn't re-write it because my opinion is still basically the same): I’m often amazed by how some low ABV beers can have so much flavor. Well, the complete opposite is true of Bud Light Platinum. Seriously, how can a beer of 6% ABV have next to no genuine flavor? In a weird way it’s actually a feat or achievement in brewing. But at the end of the day it’s still a bad beer.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a shaker glass.

Appearance: Pale, straw, golden hue. Crystal clear with plenty of carbonation visible. A vigorous pour produces a two-finger, bright white, foamy head which evaporates rather quickly (but not completely). Leaves no lacing on the glass.

Smell: Pretty much the same as every macro adjunct lager, though noticeably sweeter and actually a bit cleaner. Nothing repulsive to the nose.

Taste: When I first saw the marketing for Bud Light Platinum I didn’t understand how a 6% ABV beer could honestly be called "light." Then I took my first swig and I understood. It definitely lives up to its name in that it has essentially the same flavor as regular Bud Light (as in next to none). A bit cleaner and milder tasting than some of the higher gravity malt liquors (because that’s really the style this beer belongs to).

There’s a slightly sharp, metallic flavor through the middle and a hint of lemon at the apex. The finish is awful, though, as a wave of astringency, boiled corn, tinfoil and a mélange of off-flavors come whooshing in to kill what is otherwise a fairly tolerable palate. If you subtract these flavors, intensify the lemony/citrusy character with real hop presence you would have a drinkable beer. But this is the way it’s supposed to taste and I can’t say I’m surprised. It’s a struggle to finish even a single serving. I don’t think this product will last very long.

Drinkability: Though the taste and body are light, the overt lack of refreshment makes it counter-productive. Between the repulsive taste and the overly fizzy mouthfeel, Bud Light Platinum is the most difficult to drink light beer ever. I have to admit I’m impressed by how well the brewers were able to hide the 6% ABV, as there is no raw alcohol presence at all. However, I cannot attest to how fast the booze catches up with you because I’ve been unable to drink more than 8oz at a time. 
Grade: 2/10
Read my 2013 original review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2013/02/bud-light-platinum.html

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Natty Daddy

2.6
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 11/20
Chad9976 (1055) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 5, 2014
I poured a 25oz can into a large mug. It was canned on 12/2/13 and cost $0.97 ($0.04 per ounce).

Appearance: Bright yellow hue, crystal clear with plenty of effervescence visible. Pours to a small, white, soapy head which quickly fizzles away and leaves no lacing.

Smell: Virtually odorless. Faint aroma of generic adjunct lager, but nothing repulsive.

Taste: Malt liquors are a fickle bunch. Drank cold out of the fridge they tend to be bland and inoffensive, but once they warm their ugly side comes out. Which is the true character of the beer? Since most people who drink beers like Natty Daddy aren’t sipping on them like a barleywine, I’m going to opt for the cold flavor profile.

Not that is much of a profile anyway. This brew is bland and virtually flavorless. It does have the generic and familiar adjunct macro lager character to it in that it’s light-tasting with no discernible malt character and absolutely nothing in the way of hops. Some corn flavor is noticeable, along with some metallic-like flavor on the finish, though this is par for the course. Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be any of the usual suspects like acetaldehyde or DMS. Not even the alcohol is noticeable. This is actually not that bad of a beer, but simply being bland is not attribute.

Drinkability: I was a little nervous going into Natty Daddy as the 8% ABV on the label is usually an indicator of something foul. Yet, this beer drinks and feels as light as any regular macro lager. The mouthfeel is thin and crisp and finishes almost completely clean. There is no warmth from the booze at all. I wouldn’t call it refreshing, but I have to admit it’s quite drinkable for what it is. 
Grade: 3/10

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Budweiser (2014 re-review)

2.7
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 11/20
Chad9976 (1053) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 1, 2014
I poured a 25oz can into a shaker glass. It was canned on 28 December 2013 and cost $1.64 ($0.07 per ounce).

Appearance: Pretty shade of white gold, crystal clear with fine carbonation visible. Initially pours to a large, bright white, soapy head which mostly fizzles away and leaves little lacing on the glass.

Smell: Practically odorless. Only faint hint of malt and some acetaldehyde.

Taste: There’s no beer that epitomizes the American adjunct macro lager more than Budweiser. The self-proclaimed "King of Beers" is merely the king of sales. Of course, popularity does not necessarily equal quality and this beer is proof of that. Frankly, it seems more bland than repulsive to me, but then again it’s extreme lack of genuine quality is what’s repulsive.

Drank cold the palette is virtually neutral tasting. A hint of pale malt character plus some starch character from the rice adjunct. If it warms to anything beyond fridge temp it begins to emit a distinct tanginess. Slightly metallic in nature as well as mealy green apple (a surefire indicator of acetaldehyde). For the most part, it’s ignorable, but that doesn’t change the fact there just isn’t anything in the genuine palette to enjoy. I’m offended by its inoffensiveness.

Drinkability: If there’s anything a beer like Budweiser ought to be good for, it’s drinkability. And indeed this beer excels in that area. The mouthfeel is thin with a consistent crispness that crackles across the tongue as it goes down. Sometime the carbonation gets stuck in the throat, but it’s always quaffable. It finishes mostly clean with just a slightly starchy aftertaste. For 5% ABV it definitely should have a lot more flavor than it does. It’s hard to believe the "light" version of this is even more popular. 
Grade: 3/10

NOTE: Read and watch my 2009 original review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2009/01/budweiser-chadz-beer-reviews.html 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Boulevard Sixth Glass (2013 re-review)

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (956) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 26, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a Trappist chalice. It had a best by date of 11/9/14. Thanks to Don for the bottle!

Appearance: Opaque burnt umber/rusty orange hue. Initially pours to a huge foaming head, but eventually simmers down. Retains and laces much better than most Belgian beers of the style.

Smell: Dark fruits, dried fruits, sweet Belgian candy sugar and yeasty aromas.

Taste: I’d imagine the Belgian quadruple style is a difficult one to brew. It requires a mammoth amount of malt, and the yeast must be perfectly pampered to get the right taste. I’m impressed whenever I see an American brewery attempt a quad, and even more impressed when they get it right. Boulevard Sixth Glass is one of the best examples of an American brewery getting this old world style - not only right - but extremely well.

The quad is basically the Belgian equivalent of a barleywine, and this beer demonstrates that well. A huge complex malty component to this palette. But it’s not just a random assortment of grain, there’s a method to this madness. There’s luscious fruity flavors of red grape, plum, fig and a hint of citrus. There’s a tasty sweetness as well, with components of bubblegum and syrup, but they’re in no way cloying. At the core of the palette is rich, bready malt. The bitterness is low, but still noticeable. Alcohol also plays a prominent role and imparts a warmth at the end of each swig. It’s a little distracting, but I get used to it eventually (though it’s costing this beer a higher grade).

Drinkability: Boulevard Sixth Glass is a big beer at 10.5% ABV, but it doesn’t throw its weight around like a bull in a china shop. While there is indeed discernible heat, the beer itself doesn’t feel heavy on my system. The mouthfeel is energetic, but not spastic or abrasive like many Belgian strong ales. It’s remarkably smooth and surprisingly clean on the aftertaste. 
Grade: 9/10
NOTE: Watch my 2011 video review here:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Natural Ice

2.3
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
Chad9976 (916) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 2, 2013
I poured a 24oz can into a one liter mug. It was canned on 5/2/13 and cost $1.16 (a whopping FIVE CENTS per ounce).

Appearance: Standard fizzy yellow beer complexion. Perhaps a dark gold hue. Carbonation dies down quickly. Forms a small, bright white, soapy head which fizzles away quickly and leaves no lacing.

Smell: Surprisingly mild for the type. Doesn’t have the generic "beer smell," but the scent it does have is not exactly appealing, either.

Taste: I’ve been saying for a while now that I’ve been building up a tolerance to "economy" adjunct macro lagers. I figured Natural Ice was a good test to see just how strong my palate’s defenses against bad beer is. I’m happy to report my tongue seems to have passed the taste. I could taste this beer in all cheap glory, and while it wasn’t aggressively off-putting, there certainly weren’t any redeeming qualities.

When drank cold, right out of the fridge, the first sensation I get is that this doesn’t taste like typical fizzy yellow beer. I suppose you could consider this a malt liquor and not just an adjunct lager. There is definitely a corn-forward flavor, followed by a significant starchy taste and a metallic finish. It reminds me of sucking on a very old ice cube from the back of the freezer. After a while, the off-flavors seem to homogenize, then fade - which means this beer actually tastes a little better the more you drink it. There’s perhaps a hint of sweetness from the corn, but it’s nothing special and certainly not enough to save Natural Ice from itself. Yeah it’s a pretty bad brew, but I can handle it.

Drinkability: This isn’t the kind of beer where drinkability plays any factor in your decision to buy and consume it. Though if you choose to do so you’ll likely find it to not be much of a challenge. Sure, it’s awfully fizzy at first, and even stings the tongue with its effervescence, but then calms down to a watery tepidness. The mouthfeel is thin and crisp, though I wouldn’t consider it refreshing even when cold. At 5.9% ABV it seems to be in a weird void. What’s the point in drinking Natural Ice if your sole aim is intoxication, since you could drink something stronger and reach that goal much more quickly? It’s also too heavy to consume casually. 
Grade: 2/10

Friday, March 8, 2013

Schlafly Coffee Stout

I tend to associate coffee stouts with being big imperial brews, so when I find one in a smaller body it’s an interesting experience. Schlafly Coffee Stout is more of a standard American stout with coffee added, and is a drinker-friendly beer in many ways. It’s not as good as the imperialized brews, but for something on the smaller end it’s impressive.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (825) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 8, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Opaque black body. Forms a small, tan, soapy head which almost completely dissipates and leaves little lacing on the glass.

Smell: Medium-roast coffee aroma plus a general sweet scent.

Taste: If you want the delectable palate of a coffee stout but without the density of an imperial, then Schlafly Coffee Stout is the beer for you. Remarkably sweet all around, with an almost cola-like taste and accompanying sweetness, yet not overtly sugary or cloying. A gentle bitterness through the middle imparting some roasted malt taste and a hint of hops. The palate ends with a coffee taste that’s on the darker, more robust spectrum (though it should be since the label says it’s brewed with French roasted coffee). The coffee taste lingers for a moment or two and can actually be savored with some effort. It’s a somewhat simplistic, repetitive palate, but that’s okay because the net result is a taste I really enjoy.

Drinkability: What really makes this beer appreciable is the fact its palate is flavorful without needing the raw energy of a bigger beer. The mouthfeel and body are both perfectly medium - neither thick nor thin, neither short nor cloying. It goes down smooth with an aftertaste that’s quite clean. At 5.7% ABV it would be easy to throw back a few of these as dessert with any guilt.
 Grade: 8/10

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hurricane High Gravity Malt Liquor

If you’re a serious beer critic it’s hard to give any malt liquor a fair shake since you go into it with low expectations. I certainly was expecting the worst with Hurricane High Gravity Malt Liquor, but was genuinely and pleasantly surprised by how drinkable it was. Though far from a great beer, it’s definitely not an awful one.

2.9
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (818) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 21, 2013
I poured a 24oz can into a boot stein. It cost $1.57 ($0.07 per ounce).

Appearance: Beautiful dark gold/light copper hue. Crystal clear with massive carbonation visible, though it dies down rather quickly. It pours to a small, white, soapy head which mostly fizzles away but does leave some trace lacing.

Smell: While nothing about this nose is particularly pleasing, there’s nothing overtly offensive, either. It’s surprisingly neutral with a generic fizzy yellow beer scent (though some of the mainstream macros are actually worse).

Taste: While I am not a malt liquor connoisseur at all (and yes there are plenty of them out there), I’d have to rank Hurricane High Gravity Malt Liquor as one of the better examples of the style. Though obviously brewed in the traditional macro adjunct style, it’s actually less offensive than some of the world’s most popular adjunct macro lagers. Instead of tasting of metal, cardboard or creamed corn, this brew is more in the neutral range with just the slightest hint of sweetness. I’d be hard-pressed to name any specific flavors, though. What’s odd is there’s an almost peanut butter-like taste in the aftertaste, and even a dash of honey.

It’s certainly less watery tasting than the mainstream macro "light lagers," and lacks the offensive off-flavors of some of the more notorious brands. The bottom line is: there’s not much here to taste but what you get isn’t horrible.

Drinkability: Hurricane High Gravity Malt Liquor does have some body and weight to it so it doesn’t feel like beer-flavored carbonated water in the mouth. And though fizzy at first it becomes rather tepid quickly which in turn creates for a surprisingly smooth drinking experience and almost no aftertaste. I could see this being quite refreshing on a hot summer day. Lastly, I am genuinely impressed by how well its 8.1% ABV is hidden. I’ve had craft beers of the same potency that didn’t mask their alcohol as well as this one does. I was actually able to finish the entire 24oz serving no problem.
 Grade: 4/10

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Boulevard Single-Wide IPA

You don’t tend to see too many IPAs that are bottle-conditioned, especially single IPAs. Well, Boulevard has shattered that mold with their Single-Wide IPA. Though it’s made in the Midwest, it’s very much in the style of a West Coast IPA with a citrusy aroma and flavor, plus overt astringent bitterness.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (809) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 9, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Hazy peach-skinned color, though carbonation is visible. Forms a huge, Duvel-like head that’s bright white and looks like whipped marshmallow. It is slow to dissipate and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Orange candy and a light floral sweetness.

Taste: There’s no doubt that Boulevard Single-Wide IPA is brewed for hopheads. It’s pretty much all hops from beginning to end and even in the aftertaste. Much like the aroma, the taste is akin to orange candy Sweet Tarts. There’s almost a tartness to it because it’s so dry and bitter. I prefer an IPA that’s more juicy and refreshing, so the dryness here reminds me more of a saison but without any white grape character.

If you look at the brewery’s description of the beer you’ll find it rather impressive. Brewed with five types of malts and six different hops, it should be a pretty complex palate and a big one as well. Yet, the palate here is rather simple and repetitive: orange candy and a touch of light malt or honey flavor with a sharp hop bite of 57 IBUs and a lingering dry aftertaste. The bottle conditioning could have something to do with the perceived dryness and the like and I’m not sure what’s to be gained by this packaging method. That’s not to say it’s a bad beer, not at all. It’s quite satisfying and with the right food pairing it could work wonders.

Drinkability: Though the palate may be bold, the actual delivery is not. Boulevard Single-Wide IPA is well carbonated, but not overly so, which enables is fairly smooth finish and comfortable mouthfeel. The hops definitely do linger and I wouldn’t judge anyone for taking a sip of water between each swig. I am impressed there’s so much flavor out of the 5.7% ABV weight, though I would find it challenging to drink more than one at a time.
 Grade: 7/10

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bud Light Platinum (2013 original review)

I’m often amazed by how some low ABV beers can have so much flavor. Well, the complete opposite is true of Bud Light Platinum. Seriously, how can a beer of 6% ABV have next to no genuine flavor? In a weird way it’s actually a feat or achievement in brewing. But at the end of the day it’s still a bad beer.

2.3
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
Chad9976 (807) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 7, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a shaker glass.

Appearance: Pale, straw, golden hue. Crystal clear with plenty of carbonation visible. A vigorous pour produces a two-finger, bright white, foamy head which evaporates rather quickly (but not completely). Leaves no lacing on the glass.

Smell: Pretty much the same as every macro adjunct lager, though noticeably sweeter and actually a bit cleaner. Nothing repulsive to the nose.

Taste: When I first saw the marketing for Bud Light Platinum I didn’t understand how a 6% ABV beer could honestly be called "light." Then I took my first swig and I understood. It definitely lives up to its name in that it has essentially the same flavor as regular Bud Light (as in next to none). A bit cleaner and milder tasting than some of the higher gravity malt liquors (because that’s really the style this beer belongs to).

There’s a slightly sharp, metallic flavor through the middle and a hint of lemon at the apex. The finish is awful, though, as a wave of astringency, boiled corn, tinfoil and a mélange of off-flavors come whooshing in to kill what is otherwise a fairly tolerable palate. If you subtract these flavors, intensify the lemony/citrusy character with real hop presence you would have a drinkable beer. But this is the way it’s supposed to taste and I can’t say I’m surprised. It’s a struggle to finish even a single serving. I don’t think this product will last very long.

Drinkability: Though the taste and body are light, the overt lack of refreshment makes it counter-productive. Between the repulsive taste and the overly fizzy mouthfeel, Bud Light Platinum is the most difficult to drink light beer ever. I have to admit I’m impressed by how well the brewers were able to hide the 6% ABV, as there is no raw alcohol presence at all. However, I cannot attest to how fast the booze catches up with you because I’ve been unable to drink more than 8oz at a time. 
 Grade: 2/10

Read and watch my 2014 re-review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2014/02/bud-light-platinum-2014-re-review.html

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bud Light Lime-A-Rita

I’m not sure this beverage truly qualifies as a "beer." I think Bud Light Lime-A-Rita is more accurately classified as a "flavored malt beverage" like Mike’s Hard Lemonade or Smirnoff Ice (or as I like to call them - "alcopops"). I find it difficult to believe there’s malts and hops in this as it just tastes like liquid candy. In fact, it makes for an extremely challenging review. Yes this tastes good (gimmicky as hell, but good), but at the same time it’s not REALLY a beer. I’m going neutral on this one (and I’m sure I’ll still get ripped for this review).

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 11/20
Chad9976 (758) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 18, 2012
I poured an 8oz can into a snifter (because the glass is essentially the same height as the can and it makes for a better picture that way).

Appearance: By far the palest "beer" I’ve ever seen. Even whiter than a witbier with slight straw yellow hue to it. Quite hazy. Produces a minute coating of white bubbles that fizzle away like a soda and leaves no lacing.

Smell: Surprisingly mild, but discernibly sweet. Spiked lemonade is the predominate scent.

Taste: Oiy. How the hell do I review this? I used to be a fan of alcopops way back in the day, and I’ll still drink them occasionally if there’s absolutely nothing else available. And to be honest I enjoy their candy-like flavor. So, as an alcopop, Bud Light Lime-A-Rita is actually pretty good. It’s similar to Mike’s Hard Lemonade, but with a dash of lime. In fact, I’d criticize it for not having enough lime flavor (I guess "Bud Light Lemon-A-Rita" doesn’t have the same ring). It’s sweet but not cloying. There’s a nice tartness on the finish.

That being said the fact remains this just isn’t a beer. No malt character and definitely no hops. It’s overt in its chemical-forward palate. It just tastes like something made on an assembly line by robots. Even though there’s nothing really off-putting about this beverage, the fact remains that I just can’t honestly give a thumbs up to something that really isn’t even beer (so why am I reviewing it at all?). A truly honest grade for this would be either "incomplete" or "n/a".

Drinkability: Bud Light Lime-A-Rita has the carbonation and mouthfeel of an ale and has no lager qualities at all (I don’t even know what style this would be classified as - malt liquor? fruit ale? light lager?). It’s amazing that at 8% ABV it has such a light body and no alcohol presence at all. It’s refreshing even when drank indoors in the winter. But why spend top dollar for only an 8oz serving when you can get a comparable 12oz product at a better price?
 Grade: 5/10

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Michelob Ultra

I used to think those other light beers were bland, but Michelob Ultra makes them seem as robust as a Belgian beer. Not that it’s absolutely God awful, but just that the blandness is so overt it’s a bit insulting to drink.

2.6
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 11/20
Chad9976 (753) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 10, 2012
I poured a 12oz can into a lager glass (thanks to my brother-in-law for the donation).

Appearance: As "white" as a witbier. The palest straw yellow body I’ve ever seen. Crystal clear. Forms an average size, bright white, foamy head when it’s poured but it quickly evaporates and leaves no lacing on the glass.

Smell: Virtually the same as any other macro lager, but somehow even more muted. More clean than offensive.

Taste: Reviewing a beer like this, especially by the same standards you review any other beer, is a challenge. Trying to describe what Michelob Ultra actually "tastes" like it’s quite difficult. Obviously two descriptors immediately come to mind: watery and bland. Whereas other brews of the style tend to have distinctive, generic "grainy" flavors that often have off-flavors of corn and rice, this one is virtually flavorless.

For what it’s worth the palate is at least clean and inoffensive. For a brief moment there’s a hint of sweetness just before the swig finishes, but that’s about it. Still, I have to rate this beer low because it seems so pointless. You’re essentially paying for carbonated alcoholic water.

Drinkability: To call Michelob Ultra "highly drinkable" would be an understatement. As watery as it tastes, it drinks about as easily as water. Not quite as highly spastic in its carbonation as other "fizzy yellow beers", it’s more tepid than it is crisp. The mouthfeel is of course thin, there is no aftertaste at all, and for a moment there it’s refreshing. At 4.2% ABV and only 95 calories, no one is going to have any problem sucking down a can (but why you would want to I can’t explain).
 Grade: 3/10

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat

I’ve never seen a "pumpkin wheat" beer before and I most certainly never expected to see a beer of this style to be made by the world’s largest brewery conglomerate. Anheuser-Busch knows what appeals to the average beer drinker, and a few sips into Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat I could tell this wasn’t brewed on a whim. It’s in the same ballpark as any other mid-grade pumpkin brew, just milder and easier drinking.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (751) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 7, 2012
I poured a 12oz twist-off bottle into a wheat beer glass.

Appearance: Dark orange/light brown hue that’s nearly opaque from all the sediment. Initially forms a large, white, foamy head which mostly dissipates but does leave some lacing on the glass.

Smell: The usual pumpkin pie beer aromas or maybe closer to a pumpkin scented candle.

Taste: The label for Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat describes it as a "Belgian style wheat ale brewed with pumpkin and spices." That’s certainly an interesting concept for a beer - a pumpkin/witbier hybrid. However, I don’t think I’m the target audience for this brew since I know what a witbier should taste like and I really don’t get any witbier or other traditional weizenbier character out of this one.

Quite mild up front with just a hint of nutmeg. Through the middle it becomes sweeter imparting some vanilla flavor. The finish ends with a quick burst of cinnamon and clove before washing away almost completely clean. These are the flavors I look for in a pumpkin beer and they do work here. That being said, it seems obvious to me that they’re purposely being restricted to make the beer more drinker-friendly. Still, there’s nothing off-putting about this palate, but it still has a ways to go to really impress me.

Drinkability: Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat has a cold, wet, slightly thin mouthfeel. It’s not highly carbonated but isn’t tepid either. The mild palate and clean finish make it a tad refreshing for a moment or two. It would probably pair well with pumpkin pie. The 5.2% ABV weight seems perfect as the brewers managed to get significant energy from a relatively light body.
 Grade: 6/10

Monday, September 12, 2011

Michelob Amber Bock


ANOTHER macro lager!? That's 4 in a row from the all viewer request month list! Anyway, this is a beer I remember drinking way back in my pre-craft beer enthusiast years and finding it rather lame at the time. Maybe I just didn't have the palate to appreciate it? Let's see how I react to it all these years later.

Thanks to http://youtube.com/Bigmoneymaker316 for requesting this one.

2.8
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
Chad9976 (643) - Albany, USA - SEP 11, 2011

I poured a 12oz bottle into a lager glass.

Appearance: Pretty dark copper/maroon hue. Very dark with little carbonation visible. Forms a large, off-white, soapy head which evaporates almost completely and leaves little lacing on the glass.

Smell: Virtually odorless. Slight hint of toasted dark malt, and a subtle adjunct smell as well. Otherwise, neutral in the nose.

Taste: It’s funny how the bottle label describes this beer as being a "bock-style" instead of a bock proper. Considering that Michelob Amber Bock is brewed by the world’s biggest maker of adjunct lagers, it really comes as no surprise to me that this beer tastes like a darker, slightly sweeter, less foul version of their flagship pale lager.

The first thing I notice is just how overtly bland and watery the palate is as soon as it hit my tongue. After a few swigs I begin to notice the slightest, most mild notes of sweet toasted caramel malt and a hint of nuttiness. But this is coming from someone who’s got a more refined palate than the average target audience member of this product. If I can barely detect, surely it’s reasonable to assume that Joe and Jane Six Pack won’t taste it at all, right? There’s a mild bitterness through the middle, but then it back to watery, flavorless lager flavor. As it warms a corny taste begins to emerge - making the palate slightly sour and astringent, but otherwise tolerable. Still, where’s the flavor?

Mouthfeel: Cool, tepid, wet with a slightly pasty/oil aftertaste similar to that find in sodas made with high fructose corn syrup.

Drinkability: The only thing Michelob Amber Bock has going for it is the raw drinkability. The flat, wet, bland body and low ABV of only 5.2% make it highly quaffable. It’s even a little refreshing while it’s in the mouth, but the overall palate is entirely too weak to be used in any kind of food pairing.

Overall, this is not a terrible beer but it has a long way to go towards becoming a genuine bock. It may help coax BMC drinkers into something a little darker, but unless you’re in that demographic there’s no reason to drink it.

 Grade: 4/10

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bud Light Lime


It's been a long time since I deliberately reviewed a macro beer with a bad reputation. And since it's summer, why not put Bud Light Lime to the test to see if it will be the tasty, refreshing beverage it claims to be?


2.6
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
Chad9976 (642) - Albany, USA - JUL 27, 2011
I poured a 24oz can into a frosted mug.

Appearance: Almost fluorescent glowing bright yellow hue. Completely transparent with plenty of initial carbonation, although it does become completely tepid. Forms a huge bright white fluffy pile of suds that quickly disappear completely.

Smell: Sugary lime beverage or lime popsicle. At least it doesn’t have a nasty macro adjunct stink to it.

Taste: Although this product has been around for a while I haven’t tried it until now, and I figured it was going to be Bud Light plus a lime aftertaste, but the opposite is true. From beginning to end this beer is essentially lime soda. It’s actually quite remarkable how lime-forward the palate is and how sweet it tastes. Being able to obscure the cardboard flavor of rice and corn is quite an accomplishment. Not that the lime taste is anything organic or natural (I don’t care what the label says). This tastes like any soda made with high fructose corn syrup and lime flavoring. I bet you could give this to a child and they’d think it was a soda. Once it begins to significantly warm the core Bud Light palate begins to emerge on the second half. It’s a slightly sour taste of corn water and cardboard. It’s at least tolerable all the way through, but there’s really nothing to enjoy about this beer - that is unless you’re the world’s biggest fan of lime flavoring.

Mouthfeel: cold, thin, wet, watery, tepid.

Drinkability: This beer is a step up over regular Bud Light since it has genuine taste and remains just as drinkable with the added bonus that it’s refreshing on a hot summer’s day. At the beach, a picnic or barbeque in July with some tortilla chips this would be the average macro lager’s ideal beverage. That’s exactly how I drank it and it was quite refreshing, although I think this is due more to the fact it’s so overtly watery and sweet-tasting that it’s more like drinking a soda than a beer. At 4.2% ABV you could, in theory, pound these all day in even remotely warm weather. Outside these ideal conditions I just don’t see the point.

Overall, Bud Light Lime is a gimmicky beer that makes no apologies for what it is. It’s at least tolerable and I have had far worse brews.

Grade: 3/10

Friday, May 13, 2011

Budweiser & Clamato Chelada


No, this is NOT a re-review. I did indeed review the Bud Light & Clamato Chelada product last September and it was terrible. I said in that review I've never been able to find the Budweiser version. Well, I recently made a trek to Half Time Beverage in Poughkeepsie and not surprisingly, they had it there. If you saw my review of the Bud Light version you know that "beer" was vile - so why torture myself with the Budweiser version? A few reasons, actually:

1) It's technically a different product and I've often said EVERY beer is deserving of a review no matter what its reputation.
2) Since it's a different product and not a re-review it can count towards the worst of the year list.
3) I'm here to entertain and the Bud Light Chelada was definitely the funniest episode to date. I really wanted to be able to top that.
4) I wanted to force myself to drink the entire 24oz can to make for a somewhat lengthier, funnier review. I shot the review outside because I figured I'd be puking a lot during the review. Plus I wanted to use the boot stein so I could get the entire can all in one glass at the same time. SPOILER: I didn't get through the entire thing (not even close!)

0.5
   AROMA 1/10   APPEARANCE 1/5   TASTE 1/10   PALATE 1/5   OVERALL 1/20
Chad9976 (627) - Albany, USA - MAY 12, 2011
I didn’t think it was possible to find a beer worse than Bud Light and Clamato Chelada, but I finally found it - the Budweiser version of the same beer. I really do not understand the appeal to these drinks at all. Their entire premise is like something the drunkest, highest person in the world would come up with - take tomato juice and add clam broth to it, then infuse it with salt and lime and add Budweiser to make it alcoholic. The result is a beer that tastes like ocean water with tomato flavoring. I do realize this beer and others like it are aimed at a very specific, niche audience (mostly Hispanics), but considering how it actually tastes - who could possibly find this appealing?

I poured a 24oz can into a 1 liter boot stein.

Appearance: Hazy dark red with pinkish hue. Forms a pink, soapy head which fizzles away in seconds. Leaves large, noticeable salt granules around the glass.

Smell: Absolutely disgusting! Vomit mixed with tomato sauce while inside a fish market. The smell alone had me gagging.

Taste: The best way to describe the flavor would be the aftertaste of vomited Spaghetti-O’s chased with a glass of saltwater from the dirtiest possible fish tank. The taste here is simply vile. I’m not sure what’s worse - the bile-like flavor, the saltwater flavor or the fish feces flavor. They all combine to form one potent palate of swill to the nth power. The ironic part is if it had actually tasted like Budweiser it would be an improvement of massive exponential powers. I think this is the worst-tasting thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.

Mouthfeel: Saltwater.

Drinkability: Undrinkable.

Overall, the worst "beer" I’ve ever had in my life. Why this is still in production I have no idea, and how people can actually drink it is a mystery. Keep it away from me and no one gets hurt.

Grade: 0/10