Thursday, April 12, 2007

The bigs roll out another little batch

I got updates today from Brandweek and BeerAdvocate on the same topic:

Anheuser-Busch has a company-wide local specialty beer program, which was introduced to brew specialty beers that are uniquely tailored to regional taste preferences. The program was initially launched at Anheuser-Busch’s Merrimack, N.H., and Columbus, Ohio, breweries in March 2006 and was later extended to the company’s St. Louis brewery in September 2006. Those beers were the Burnin’ Helles Bock, Demon’s Hop Yard IPA, and Mule Kick Oatmeal Stout.

Today, Anheuser-Busch introduces Ascent 54 -- an authentic German-style dunkel weisse (dark wheat) beer available on draught in select bars and restaurants in Colorado. (Dunkels are quite the trend this year, huh?) Per the articles/press releases:

Ascent 54 is an unfiltered beer with a delicate sweetness, complex taste and a surprisingly light finish that complements its blend of specialty malts and unique spicy aromas. The beer is a deep-bronze color and has a distinctively dense and long-lasting foam head. This specialty beer was crafted by a small, hand-picked group of beer lovers from various areas of expertise at Anheuser-Busch’s Fort Collins brewery who chose the beer style, created the recipe and selected Ascent 54’s name and tap marker design.

“As members of this community for more than 20 years, we took great pride in crafting a beer specifically geared toward the discerning palate of Colorado’s adult beer lovers,” said Steve Presley, senior assistant brewmaster of Anheuser-Busch’s Fort Collins brewery. “People who thrive on trying new and different styles of beer at their favorite neighborhood pubs will enjoy discovering this one.”

For Ascent 54, the development team chose a blend of German Hallertau-Hallertau and Hallertau-Tettnang hops, which contribute to the brew’s complex taste and light finish. Also included is 50% malted wheat, combined with the finest Munich, caramel and chocolate malts, which give the beer its rich, deep-bronze color. A Bavarian weisse yeast strain was imported for use during fermentation to ensure the beer developed its expressive palate and characteristic weisse aroma.

”Ascent 54 is best served in a tall glass with a wide opening, which allows the beer’s aroma to funnel straight to the nose. The beer’s complex flavor pairs well with barbequed meats, spicy cuisine, traditional German fare, cheese and a variety of sweet desserts including apple pie, strudel, pecan pie and lemon cake.

Brewed at Anheuser-Busch’s Fort Collins, Colo., brewery, Ascent 54 contains 5.5% alcohol by volume.

Some of you who visit live in Colorado. Can you help me out? Go out, grab a glass, and let me know what you think. I'm curious as to how the mega brewers do, with their attempts at small batch, regional, specialty brews.