The beer world is always changing, with new brands coming on the market and big breweries merging with others. But few beer icons have remained as constant as classic Budweiser lager. Original Bud and its sibling Bud Light remain the world’s best-selling beers. Those beers serve a huge market, and the Bud name is the most precious asset of Anheuser-Busch.
So when A-B puts the Budweiser name on a new product, you know that a lot of thinking and planning has gone into the process. This month, the new Budweiser American Ale arrived on the on the market, across the country and in Asheville, where it looks to compete with countless number of national brands, imports and crafts.
Launching a new brew
As the beer rolls out, emotions at Anheuser-Busch include “excitement and little bit of apprehension, because you are doing something of such significance,” said Keith Levy, vice president of brand management for the brewery. “Budweiser is a name that so many drinkers trust.”
Because of its unique place on the beer scene, many loyal Bud and Bud Light drinkers are so unlikely to switch to the ale, though some will give it a try. Bud American Ale is actually going after drinkers who like bigger flavors — more hops, more malt.
Budweiser of Asheville now has the product all over the area, said Chad Wood, of Budweiser of Asheville.
A check of various national beer Web sites shows many positive reviews for the beer.
Budweiser American Ale has been in the works for 18 months, said Eric Beck, the brewmaster who worked on this project.
“We feel like this is something that the consumer is asking for,” he said. “You have seen the shift over the past five, 10 years of people wanting different beers for different occasions.”
Creating the recipe “was quite a journey and a lot of fun,” he said.
The beer is made using only American-grown ingredients, he added.
For the moment, the beer is being produced at two locations: St. Louis and Fort Collins, Colo., but that could expand depending on demand.
The differences in lager and ale
In opening bottles of classic Budweiser and Budweiser American Ale, it is obvious that these beers are different styles. Bud and Bud Light are golden in color, lighter in flavor. Bud American Ale has a red-amber color with more aroma and bigger flavors, thanks to four varieties of hops. It’s also dry-hopped, using Cascade hops, a process that adds more flavor.
It’s not as big in hop taste as say, Highland Gaelic or Asheville Pizza and Brewing’s Shiva, but there is some very noticeable flavor in there. Budweiser American Ale has its own unique taste profile, so maybe you can’t really compare it to anything else. The only way to know is to go buy a bottle at a bar or a six-pack at the grocery store. If you’ve got gas to get there, that is.
Remembering Michael Jackson
Probably everyone reading this column knows that “our” Michael Jackson was the “bard of beer,” the world’s undisputed authority and beer journalist.
It’s been a year since he left this mortal realm, and on Tuesday night, local beer drinkers can gather at the Thirsty Monk beer bar (at the corner of Coxe and Patton avenues) to raise a toast in his honor.
Come on by 6-9 p.m. Many of the local breweries will have beers down there, including a cask from Asheville’s Highland Brewing Co.