Beer review: Budweiser Black Crown

From the February 21, 2013 edition

About the brewery:

Clydesdales. Spuds MacKenzie. You guys know the largest brewing company in the world, and you’ve probably had their beers.

Known for iconic ad campaigns — especially during the Super Bowl — Budweiser caught some flak for their “Coronation” commercials introducing the new Black Crown beer during Beyoncé Bowl.

Besides being aesthetically bland — pretty people in black clothes — the commercial also failed to explain what the hell Black Crown is. Well, Black Crown is the result of a nationwide contest where 12 brewmasters made 12 different beers in the style of the original Budweiser recipe — specifically with the original yeast culture used by Adolphus Busch — and the public voted. The winner was the Black Crown recipe, hence the “Coronation” commercial.

About the beer:

Black Crown is distinctly a Budweiser product, which I guess is an achievement (if only because that was a requirement for the contest). As far as a tasty beer goes … nope.

Look, I’m not a craft beer snob. I enjoy a Bud heavy every now and again — although I’m more of a Schlitz man when it comes to American lagers. But Black Crown is terrible for a couple reasons.

First, the slogan, “Here’s to taste. Here’s to our kind of beer,” is a sad attempt to pretend Black Crown is a boldly-flavored product similar to craft beers. Since Budweiser and the macro breweries continue to lose market share to microbreweries, Black Crown is blatantly designed to entice (naïve) craft drinkers.

Those used to the flavors and complexities of craft brews will be sorely disappointed. The bland golden amber has absolutely no hops present and the malt flavor is just odd. The 6-percent ABV is another example of how out of touch Budweiser is — people must drink craft beer because it has more alcohol. Ugh.

What’s most perplexing is that Black Crown isn’t all that different from a Budweiser — a watery brew meant for the masses — except that any of that beer’s appeal is completely absent. The crisp drinkability of a Budweiser is replaced by an unsavory caramel sweetness and overbearing breadiness. If this is Budweiser’s idea of “taste,” it’s time for the King of Beers to abdicate the throne.

Photo by Tim Johnson