So what exactly is “Project 12?” No, it’s not New York’s Mayor Bloomberg trying to ban 12 ounce beers.
It all started when Budweiser had the brewmasters at all 12 of their breweries in the United States to come up with a special recipe – as long as they all used Bud’s proprietary yeast. All 12 were entered, and judged down to six within the company’s hierarchy, then down to three by way of public tastings over the summer. The three which made their way to the winners circle are Batch No. 63118 (St. Louis, MO) – a deep gold lager, Batch No. 23185 (Williamsburg, VA) – a light bourbon barrel aged amber lager, and finally Batch No. 91406 (Los Angeles, CA) – a Deep Amber lager.
I decided to bring a six pack to our weekly beer/barbeque gathering, and everyone present gave kudos to Budweiser on this release. We enjoyed all three brews. Most agreed that these three brews keep the Budweiser heritage but are a nice segue back into full body/flavor brews. A good beer is a lot better than the gadget bottles or cans currently offered by other “domestic” breweries. My friends also noted that these are great “transition brews” and look forward to future efforts in this direction.
Batch 63118 is a 6.0% ABV deep gold pilsner lager that uses the same German hop varieties as used in their 19th century recipe. The beer pours a dark golden yellow, with a quickly dissipating head. The aroma is somewhat sweet and malty. The hops are faint, and nearly indistinct. The taste is malty, almost herbal with a crisp bitterness that is slightly bread and malty with the slight sweetness of honey, very balanced with just a light bit of slight grassy bitterness working well together. The mouthfeel is well carbonated and nicely tingly. I like this one overall, it has just a touch more character than most American Pilsners I come across. 3/5
Batch 23185 is a 5.5% ABV light amber lager that is aged on bourbon staves (that’s pieces of bourbon barrels for you neophytes) and also employs vanilla beans in the brewing process. Color is amber and a light burnt orange in color. The head is white to light off-white and not very abundant. The nose is almost undetectable, just a light maltiness and slightly woody. The taste is lightly malty, with traces of caramel, vanilla and bourbon and a light astringency. While I was hoping for more “UMPH” in the flavors, I totally understand that the target audience of this beer are your average “Joe SixPack” and such overt flavors may overwhelm the newly initiated craft beer enthusiast. 3.5/5
Batch 91406 is a 6.0% ABV deep amber lager that pours amber and dark copper in color. The head of off-white foam was moderate. The nose is lightly malty, a touch sweet, with a light hoppiness. The taste follows the aromas, light malt, light crisp and bitter hops. Starts just like a regular Budweiser, but progresses into a caramel flavor quite rapidly. More subtle caramel notes are present throughout and end the drink in a crisp finish (did i mention that crisp carbonation a few times?) The overall flavor is slightly on the sweet side with a nice tingly carbonation. 4/5