By William Brand
Friday, March 30th, 2007 at 9:53 pm in Uncategorized.
As I’ve mentioned before, I subscribe to an unusual email newsletter. It’s paid for by Miller Brewing, done by a Milwaukee ad agency. They stalk other big brewers filings and make them public.
Anheuser-Busch Wild Blue. Mostly, I don’t give a damn, you’ve seen one standard lager, well, you know. But last week they came up with some GREAT NEWS. Anheuser-Busch (their obvious nemesis) has “filed a certificate of label approval application with the Treasure Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for WILD BLUE!”
The caps are mine.
Miller Brew Blog, goes on to say it’s an 8 percent lager and AB say it’s made by the “Beechwood Brewing Group.”
What Miller doesn’t know is this is a serious beer, made by A-B’s craft brewing section. I got to try it two years ago at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver and again last year at an A-B-arranged cheese and beer tasting in San Francisco.
I know all the criticism about alco-pops, the sugary, fruit-laden, malternatives. I’m sorry, Wild Blue’s none of that. Here’s an excerpt from my report on that beer and cheese event in September, 2006.
“Blue Dawg Wild Blue***+ and Wensleydale Cranberry****. Cheese comes from an artisian English cheesemaker with origins dating back to Cistercian monks who came to England with William the Conquerer. Blue Dawg is an Anheuser-Busch label; the beer’s made at an A-B brewery in Baldwinsville, NY. It’s being test marketed in Ohio and Michigan.
The beer rating websites hate this beer, but I think part of that’s because it’s A-B and brewed with rice and part because many American beer raters think fruit beers are effeminate. They should try a true, workingman’s Belgian lambic.
Wild Blue’s made with a blend of barley malts and a percentage of rice. Hops are Hallertau and Tettnang. Last year, the company said whole blueberries were added to the mash. Not sure if that’s still true. This is a big beer, 8 percent and it’s true blue. Indeed.
The cheese by itself is fabulous. Crumbly and buttery with a sweetness from the cranberries, offset by an underlying acidity.
The beer is a shock. Yes, there’s sweetness and a definite fruit flavor. But after an initial sweet hit, there’s a surprising dryness that lasts into a long finish. Reisch said they used rice to gain dryness. Without the rice, the beer would be way too sweet, he said.
Together the cheese and beer are spectacular. The taste of the two mingle and explode in the mouth.
Here’s a cheer for Wild Blue. Now, if they’d just skip the rice and use a wild yeast for a secondary foundation to create a bit of sourness to balance the berries…