I’m reminded of
the British surrender at Yorktown during the revolutionary war. The outcome
was not as expected, and the British, flabbergasted by the situation, had a
band play “The World Turned Upside Down” during the proceedings. The world
had turned upside down it seemed, and the seemingly impossible had become
Now, the question you’re asking yourself as you read is likely why this
scene comes to mind. It is the very thought of Anheuser-Busch, makers of
Budweiser and Michelob, some of the country’s biggest selling beers, seems
to be entering the world of craft beer brewing?
No. It makes sense that they’d do so eventually, and really, they’ve made
forays into craft beer in the past. Most of the major brews have for that
matter. After all, this is really the only expanding sector of the beer
market. They surely don’t want to miss out on that.
Is it because the beer is bowling me over with flavor and character?
Decidedly not. Though I did very much enjoy
Spice Ale , the pale ale really isn’t doing much for me. Let’s see why.
Michelob Pale Ale pours to an amber orange color with a light creamy
head formation and a slightly hoppy nose. A thick layer of Brussels lace
forms on the sides of my glass as the liquid descends.
Sipping, I get a little body, a touch of caramel malt and some biscuity malt
too. The hops are subtle at first, emerging into the finish, where they
linger on the tongue with a grassy, slightly minty buzz.
Sure, this beer has more malt and more hops than any other Budweiser brew
I’ve ever tasted. But it is still flawed as a pale ale, and doesn’t excite
me enough to give it high marks hedonistically, either.
For one thing, it needs more malt. It’s a bit too much on the thin side for
a good pale ale in my opinion. But the hop profile here is all wrong, too.
Pale ales are an English style. The best ones are hopped with English
styles, like Fuggles or Goldings, or maybe American hops like Cascades or
Anheuser Busch is using all German and Czech hops here: Hallertaus, Saaz,
and Tettnangs. They even dry hop with Saaz. These hops are fine for a lager,
but they don’t work in a pale ale, at least not here. I suspect that AB is
so much sunk in the lager culture, though, that they think this is just
fine. The palate is too clean too. I want a bit of fruit in a beer like
Be all this as it may, the reason I’m a bit steamed tonight is that this
beer took a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival this year
in the Classic English-Style Pale Ale category. That’s a real
shocker, because Michelob Pale Ale doesn’t taste anything like a classic
English pale ale to me.
Of course, AB and the other large brewers (Miller, Coors) are GABF sponsors,
so they have to be thrown a bone or two. But this is ridiculous.
If you’re looking for a real pale ale that’s widely available, do yourself a
favor and stick to
Sierra Nevada , or grab something from your local microbrewery
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.