Last winter, Robbie, one of my Steelers bar buddies and a fellow beer enthusiast, said he picked up the Budweiser Project Twelve Second Edition twelve pack. Since we both avoid the macros, I was surprised that he 1) bought it in the first place, and 2) raved so highly about it.
Since he and I share the same taste in beer (and football teams), I had to buy a case for myself. Fast forward six months, and I’m finally getting around to it. How would these rate?
From the insert “Project Twelve was born in 2012 when we asked the 12 Budweiser Brewmasters at our 12 U.S. breweries to create a new beer worthy of the Budweiser name. Now we’ve extended the challenge to a second edition, inviting our brewmasters to use feedback from beer drinkers across the country to craft a new round of brews with distinct flavors.”
The first one I tried was the Beechwood Bock. Again from the insert “Brewed with chocolate and caramel malts for a rich auburn appearance. Finished on Beechwood chips for a crisp, clean taste.” This does pour a deep amber color with minimal carbonation and a very small head. The aroma is one of toffee and caramel, though I couldn’t detect these flavors at first. As the beer warms to room temperature, however, a nice, almost vanilla flavor comes forward.
This beer has a very heavy mouthfeel and coats the tongue and throat. There’s a slight aftertaste that isn’t quite bitter but not the most enjoyable sensation either. The Beechwood Bock seems stronger than 6% ABV; maybe it’s the heaviness of the beer. Still, a solid four out of five stars.
The second beer tried was the North Pacific Lager. From the insert “Brewed with a unique blend of North Pacific hop varieties including Cascade and Palisade, this bold hoppy lager offers a distinct taste of the American Northwest.” This pours a nice amber color with a pinkie width head and is a carbonation monster. The aroma is hoppy. The carbonation lasts throughout the glass, as does a nice white ring.
You’ll notice that the word “nice” has been used several times in the review. The North Pacific Lager is nice, but not something special. While there is a very slight hop bitterness, there’s also no piney/citrusy taste one finds in an IPA. Like the Beechwood Bock, the NPL got better as it warmed to room temperature. It also tasted better with spicy food. The NPL is sessionable at 5.5% ABV, and goes down quite smoothly. 3.5 out of five stars.
The third and final beer is the Vanilla Bourbon Cask. The insert states “Aged on a bed of bourbon barrel staves and vanilla beans, this light amber lager lets you indulge your sweet side.” This beer also pours a nice amber color with a minimal head that rapidly dissipates and carbonation that disappears halfway through the glass.
There is a very (and I mean very) feint vanilla aroma. This goes down very smoothly and has a mild vanilla aftertaste. Unlike the other two, I liked the VBC cold. This is also a 5.5% ABV beverage so is sessionable. Like the North Pacific Lager, it’s good, but nothing special. 3.5 stars.
The verdict: The Beechwood Bock is a pleasant surprise and a beer that I’d consider buying again. The North Pacific Lager and Vanilla Bourbon Cask were okay; I wouldn’t rush out to buy them, but wouldn’t turn one down if offered. Still, since I gravitate towards micros and craft breweries, it is nice to report that Anheuser Busch has one beer that I actually would purchase.