Anheuser-Busch had a competition between all of their brewmasters at their 12 breweries around the country. It was called "Project 12." The original 12 beers were whittled down to six and consumer feedback determined the three finalists. The three winning beers will be put into a special limited-edition sampler pack that will go on sale this fall.
The three finalists were from the Anheuser-Busch breweries in Los Angeles, St. Louis and Williamsburg, Va. The beers will be named after their originating zip codes.
According to the Anheuser-Busch website, "Tens of thousands of consumers tasted and gave feedback about the Project 12 beers. This included approximately 10,000 festival- goers to the Budweiser Made in America music festival in Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend, where Budweiser’s 12 U.S. brewmasters personally sampled the beers and asked for feedback."
They also mentioned that brand ambassadors at other events asked consumers detailed questions about taste, freshness, style and flavor of the six beers. The consumers were allowed to enter feedback as well as choose their favorite and the data was collected on iPad stations at the events.
“We’ve never done anything like this before,” said Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser. “With all this feedback from consumers, I guess you can call this the largest focus group in Budweiser history, maybe even beer history. There really were no winners or losers with Project 12, but we wound up with three great beers that slightly edged out the others. It certainly wasn’t an easy choice. Best of all, we listened to what our beer drinkers told us and we let them help us make the decision about what to bring to stores.”
My question will be, what do these beer taste like? I can only go by the brewmasters descriptions since I haven't seen this beer in any local stores yet.
In Los Angeles, with help from the brewmasters from Fairfield, Ca, and Houston, Tx, they created a 6 percent ABV amber lager. This lager features caramel malt and a bigger body than your average lager. It is also a little more hop balanced, but brewmaster Bryan Sullivan insists it is still a "very clean and refreshing beer."
The beer from St. Louis is another 6 percent ABV beer that brewmaster Jim Bicklein, in collaboration with Fort Collins, Co brewmaster Katie Rippel, wanted to harken back to the roots of the original Budweiser brewery. The pilsner beer uses ingredients that would have been available to the German immigrants, like Adolphus Busch, would have used in the late 1800's. Bicklein used the same variety of Hallertau and Tettnang hops that were used in the beginning of the breweries history.
The final beer to make the cut was from Williamsburg, and Daniel Westmoreland, with help from Mike Anderson in Jacksonville, Fla. and Dan Kahn in Cartersville, Ga., went out on a different, more craft brew tangent. They created a 5.5 percent bourbon cask lager. “We took staves from fresh bourbon barrels and we aged the beer on those staves and spiced it with a hint of vanilla,” said Westmoreland, who has been a Budweiser brewmaster for more than 30 years. “It’s an all-malt brew, and it has a perfect color that is similar to the color of bourbon itself. Batch No. 23185 has a nice vanilla aroma with a little oakiness on the end – it’s a great beer.”
Don't worry, you can still have your say on the winner. Budweiser will continue to ask for your feedback. There will be a QR code on the boxes. They are also including a sheet inside that you can write your own notes about the beer on. The sheets will include tasting notes and details as well for your own in-house tasting sessions.