Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Monday, June 2, 2008

What’s brewing at AB?

By Kurt Epps

Shocked, I tell you. Shocked.


On Memorial Day weekend, I took my youngest son (15) down to Salisbury, MD to wrestle in the NHSCA Duals, and we got a nice, cheap room at the Super 8. (I got the senior citizen discount rate.) But the digs had a TV, a microwave and a big fridge (and an indoor toilet for those of you who look down on Super 8's). So the lad and I went out for some goodies to tide us over for three days.


Just down the road was a place called Tiger Mart which was a gas station linked to a combination of a MacDonald's (except down there they're called Hardee's), a WaWa and a liquor store. Actually a beer store, since "liquor stores" in Maryland don't even carry beer, as we found out. Here in Jersey, that would require three different visits to three different places, but Maryland's system worked for me.


As usual, I scanned the beer coolers to see if there was anything remotely palatable for relaxing after the grueling tournament schedule. After the canoe beers section, I saw Blue Moon's Honeymoon (reviewed below last month), so I figured I had a least one safe choice. Then I saw a beer called Shock Top. The logo had a picture of a guy who looked like his father, in a drunken spree, had made love to an equally soused cockatiel. But the words "Belgian White" jumped out at me. I tried like heck to see who brewed it, but, interestingly, that info wasn't prominent. I committed to the buy, and then I saw another sixer called Wild Blue. Brewed someplace in NY, it said, and I was up for some beer-experimentation, so I got both—plus the Honeymoon as a fall-back.


The Shock Top was unexpectedly good. Refreshing, yellow-gold with a fluffy head, this beer had some graceful orange and spice notes. True, I was drinking it out of the Super 8's bathroom plastic glass, but it still held up nicely. So nicely, I decided to see if I could find the brewer.


AB. (Anheuser-Busch)


Damn. After my nice experience with their Bareknuckle Stout, it was time for me to be re-impressed with what's happening at the palace of the King of Beers. I drank three and brought the rest home to share with friends.


I didn't try the Wild Blue at all in MD, but when I got home, it was time to see what this NY Brewery had going for it.


Lots, apparently, even before I discovered that the NY brewery was AB—again. But the Wild Blue Blue me away. Reminiscent of Lindemann's fruit lambics, but with a fuller body and sweeter taste, this Wild Blue is a summertime winner for sure, though not for everybody. Very likely, lambic "pureeists" will sneer, which is their right. But I thoroughly enjoyed it, though I wouldn't give up Sea Dog Blueberry Wheat, either. Some might try to categorize this beer as an "alco-pop," but if they do, beware that its alco is 8% and it provides quite a "pop." Be prepared for its grapey color, as well as its pink head.


Something's going on at AB, though. And, so far, I'm liking it.

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