“Typical” American lager is not something I drink often anymore. Even at the ball park, you can usually get something a little more interesting than Bud, Miller or Coors, and I’ll usually search out something with more flavor. But, as a brewer, I appreciate the technical expertise that goes into making such a consistent beer without any big flavors to distract the consumer from any flaws that may be present. And, as my father’s son, a cold, cheap can of beer every once in a while is the epitome of refreshment.
A couple weeks ago, Ancillary Adams and his lovely fiance hosted a game night that also featured a blind tasting of what he calls “old man beers”. We received 8 samples of beer in clear plastic glasses and no way of knowing what we were tasting. I scored them on a rough 50 point scale, and here are the results, from worst to best.
8. O’Doul’s. Tasted like bad cardboard – 28.
7. Milwaukee’s Best Premium. Corn Tang – just not good – 28.
6. Miller High Life. Corn, and nothing else other than a sweet aftertaste – 34
5. Pabst Blue Ribbon. Chemical flavor, harsh – 34
4. Flying Dog Tire Biter Ale. An obvious “ringer”, this ale is a decent beer, but stood out as too big and citrusy for a tasting of American lagers – 38
3. Coors Original. Clean, basic, balanced flavor, with a touch of green apple (acetaldehyde) – 38
2. Boulevard Pilsner. Malty aroma, clean fermentation, touch of hop bitterness – 38
1. Schlitz. Some maltiness, but mostly just perfectly balanced – 42
Notice that we didn’t have any Anheuser-Busch products – as a native St. Louisan, it’s quite possible that I would have headed for the mountains of Busch beer, if offered the opportunity. The tasting showed a lot of variation in the brands, and I was genuinely impressed with the subtle grace of Schlitz and Boulevard Pilsner.