It’s true that there is a huge difference between craft beer fans and multinational corporation beer fans.
The craft beer fans enjoy being able to write a letter to the owners and getting a reply back. They also like the ability to take a brewery tour or meet the owners face-to-face. However, it’s hard to muster warm and fuzzy feelings about a multinational corporation that uses stylized robots and football fans to sell their products.
According to TODAY, Project 12 represents an attempt by the brewing giant (Budweiser) to inject a little humanity into their brand. They are attempting to do this by telling a story about Budweiser’s regional breweries and the people who work there.
Project 12 started with a dozen beers, each dreamed up at Budweiser’s 12 regional breweries by that facility’s brewmaster. These 12 beers, each named after the zip code of their origin, were voted on by the public. The three winning brews have just been released in the Project 12 limited edition 12 pack.
The label of each beer proudly displays the signature of the brewmaster who led its creation.
Budweiser has tried their best to push craft beers off the shelf and confuse consumers by creating their own craft beer lookalike brands. They have also purchased beloved craft breweries like Goose Island outright and replaced the folks who built the place with their own mass-market veterans.
To see if the Project 12 beers are any good, let’s start at the beginning with a standard Bud, the inspiration for the beers in the Project 12 variety pack. Keep in mind that all of the Project 12 beers share the same yeast strain and many of the same production techniques as the King of Beers. The Bud smells nice, with a sweet hint of malts on the nose. The flavor follows, with a light and sweet thread of grain followed by a dry, clean finish.
Now, let’s move on to Project 12.
Batch No. 63118
This is a 6.0 percent ABV Pilsner brewed with Hallertau and Tettnang hops. It was created by St. Louis brewmaster Jim Bicklein with a little help from Katie Rippel from Bud’s Fort Collins, Colo. facility.
63118 pours a deep golden yellow, and has a bit more hop aroma on the nose than a typical Bud (which has none). The beer tastes much like a regular Bud, but with just a touch more hop bitterness and a little creamier.
63118 is based on the Budweiser of the 19th century, and one wonders why they abandoned that recipe – unlike the Bud of today, this beer has some presence and flavor.
Batch No. 91406
This 6.0 percent ABV lager is brewed with two-row and caramel malts and aged on beechwood chips, just like the regular Bud. This beer was created by Bryan Sullivan, the brewmaster of Anheuser-Busch’s Los Angeles facility.
It pours a golden amber, with just a hint of red creeping into the color. 91406 smells like a standard Bud, but with amplified malt sweetness. This carries through to the flavor, which offers a simple blurb of sweet grain flavor, followed by a dry finish with just the slightest hint of cinnamon and orange peel in the finish.
Batch No. 23185
A 5.5 percent ABV lager created by brewmaster Daniel Westmoreland in Williamsburg, Va. This beer is aged two weeks on Bourbon barrel staves and vanilla beans, but you wouldn’t know it if someone didn’t tell you. Instead, you might guess that this beer has spent time aging with roasted corn, as 23185 has a mild vegetative vibe and a tiny touch of smokiness about it, but it’s almost imperceptible if you don’t sample it back-to-back with a regular Budweiser.
Diehard Budweiser fans probably aren’t looking for variety when it comes to beer, so these Project 12 beers may not do so good on the market.
These beers are likely a way to promote the enduring success of the Budweiser brand while showing that they’re not afraid to try new things.