Hophead: Michelob's Weak Wheats

I have bought perhaps half a dozen Michelobs in my entire life. Compared to Anheuser-Busch's flagship Budweiser, Michelob is a serviceable brew. But the pricing is pushed just enough that it makes more sense to go with the much better imports or small production beers.

Michelob recently sent a bottle apiece of the four beers included in its Spring/Summer Sampler Pack: Shock Top Belgian White, Hop Hound Amber Wheat, Michelob Honey Wheat and Michelob Dunkel Weise.

Hey, at least it wasn't an Ultra, Light, and Amberbock pack. Because the box includes a "tasting session" sheet, I grabbed some office mates for a random taste test.

The Shock Top Belgian White was by far the most popular. Which is to say, it was the only one that nobody completely despised. Intern Kelly summed it up with, "it smells kind of citrusy," and "it tastes like Blue Moon." The Blue Moon comparison was spot-on. It resembles the well-known white, but with a pronounced--how shall I put it?--corporate flavor, as if a front office team set out specifically to recreate Blue Moon in some secret laboratory.

The Dunkel Weisse gathered mixed reactions. It is, according to my notes, a tolerable dark wheat beer...although it had an odd lingering aroma of stale socks. "It's all right," Wilonsky declared. Others struggled to even finish their sample shots, throwing out descriptors like "disgusting" and "undrinkable."

The Honey Wheat was even less popular. "It's still beer, but that's about all you can say," our web editor observed. "Awful," was all Girl Drink Drunk's Merritt Martin managed; "What an emasculated, puny flavor!" Wilonsky bellowed. This is a filtered, beginner's wheat.

But their full vitriol was saved for Hop Hound, which delivers considerably less than the name promises. They use three hops in the brewing process, but they hardly make an impression over the sickly maltiness. "It is not hoppy at all," Alexa said, to much head-nodding and murmuring of agreement. "Why is it named that?!" she moaned.

Summer deserves more interesting beer.

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