6% ABV on tap (not cask!)
I’d seen the interesting snowman tap popping up in a lot of bars in the city. And “normal” bars too, bars whose “best” beer is shit like Stella, so I was kinda intrigued. It was labeled simply “Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale,” no brewery mentioned, piquing my interest even more. It seemed Wallace Shawn inconceivable to me that all these bars were now serving a jen-you-wine bourbon barrel-aged beer. I did some further research. It’s a Michelob product. Ah…makes more sense. Nevertheless, I had to admire their gumption in actually attempting such a seemingly interesting beer.
The other night I yet again saw this beer on tap and finally got a chance to try it. The beer poured quite dark, could this be a legitimate boozy stout? My friend took the first sip while I paid.
“Tastes like a Heath bar.”
He nailed it. It tasted exactly like liquidized Heath bar. The funny thing is, I love Heath bar. It’s arguably the best candy bar around and it is certainly the best candy bar to be used in McFlurry/Blizzard-type candy ice cream treats. But, as the most prominent taste of a beer, it was heinous.
This beer also had very medicinal, dental, flouride-type flavors in it. Disgusting. So artificial tasting, so terrible. Absolutely zero tastes of bourbon, zero tastes of any sort of complex aging, and this is clearly not a “cask” beer no matter how you want to define cask, even by its most loose definitions.
The gall of Michelob to claim they are making something so ambitious when this is just more assembly line bullshit shrouded by a well-conceived marketing campaign. Have some courage to actually make what you are claiming or don’t attempt to make it at all. I really think beer companies should be fined for such blatant duplicity*. I would really like Michelob to prove to me that this beer was casked for even a single fucking day. I’m guessing the only bourbon involved in the creation of this beer was in the glass of the Anheuser-Busch CEO as he drank and laughed his ass off at yet another semi-successful attempt at duping the public.
If I wasn’t paying Manhattan pint prices I would have walked into the bathroom and dumped this down the urinal after just a few sips. Oddly enough, my friend loved this beer and drank pints of it all night. He did make a valid point in noting how one never sees a macro beer with such a high ABV. Having said that, my friend also wasn’t able to go out Saturday night because he had one of the most wicked hangovers of his life. Being that he didn’t even drink that heavily, all there is to blame is this terrible artificial brew and all the sugar in it which quite clearly infected his brain.
Avoid at all costs. Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale will almost certainly make my worst beers of 2009 list.
*I’m as laissez-faire as they come when it comes to government intervention. Nothing chaps my hide more than grandstanding, sanctimonious, hypocritical congressmen trying to nose their “voice” into all parts of American life (to wit: steroids in baseball, the BCS, etc.) But I would completely support them in bringing the major macro brewers in for a hearing to bust them for their egregious taste crimes against humanity.