Sunday, February 24, 2013

Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager

As a rule, I don’t care for fruity beers – which is what makes this seasonal all the more interesting. Even though it’s flavored, post-brewing and post-filtration, with Louisiana strawberry juice, there’s enough malt and wheat to keep it from veering into soda pop.

In the glass, Abita Strawberry is the color of straw (how about that?) with a tight, white head that lingers. You can smell the berry, but again, it’s surprising - to me, at least - that the fruit doesn’t dominate. The malt and grain have enough savory notes pushing back against the sweet that they find some kind of balance.

I hesitate to give this a full-on recommendation. If it wasn’t for the strawberry juice, the remaining beer would be a bit thin … but is that like saying a tuna sandwich would be dry without the mayo? I’ll just say it’s the first fruit beer I’ve had that I might buy again. 4.2% ALC

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Beer Spotlight: Two Quickies

My tastebuds are still kinda fried from a cold a couple weeks ago, so here's a couple quick reviews.

Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve: First brewed in Oregon in the 1850's, but now owned by Miller (technically SABMiller - which also owns Fosters and Grolsch). Very bland, would rather drink a MGD and save $2-$3 a sixer.

Howl Black as Night Lager: This one's from Vermont's Magic Hat - a coffee, roasty lager with a bit of bitter hops spicing up the mix. Probably not a summer beer, but I've got the heater on here in Florida and it fits.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sunday Beer Spotlight: Budweiser Black Crown

Last year, Anheuser-Busch InBev asked its regional brewmasters to come up with some new Budweiser beers. Three ended up in the variety pack I reviewed here. A fourth is now Budweiser Black Crown, the big brewer’s attempt to … I don’t know. Despite the promotional push, nothing about Black Crown is distinctive or special to merit its existence.

Like all the Bud “microbrews,” brewers were told to use the standard Bud yeast strain, so for better or worse, that’s a flavor quality they all share. The aroma in the glass is boozy with a banana essence really coming through. The head is just like a Bud, tightly bubbled and quickly gone. Color is a deeper yellow that Budweiser, moving toward copper.

Carbonation is light, so it goes down easily -- sweet, malty, corny with no notable hops. Black Crown is basically a more expensive Bud with a roastier malt and, at 6%, a higher alcohol content. (Regular Bud is 5%.) If you want a Bud that’s sweeter, a little buzzier, and higher in price -- there’s this. Otherwise, I’m not sure who wants it.