You might know there’s a football game coming up, between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. We’d mention the name of the event, but the NFL has gotten aggressive against people who link The Big Game with products that don’t advertise, even convincing the city of New Orleans to create a “clean zone” free from non-sanctioned advertising (a challenge from the ACLU mitigated the effects somewhat, allowing mom-and-pop shops near the stadium to keep their store signs up). Suffice to say it’s super. Bowl full of chips and at the ready? For additional halftime enjoyment this Sunday, consider these new beers:
Budweiser Black Crown: Following a year-long contest among 12 specialty Budweiser brews and public feedback through what Budweiser vice president Rob McCarthy calls perhaps the company’s “largest focus group,” Budweiser Black Crown debuted January 21. The label’s first ad appears during Super Bowl XLVII (yes, Black Crown is officially affiliated). The beer, crafted by Los Angeles-based Budweiser brewmaster Bryan Sullivan for the company’s “Project 12” competition, is rich, fragrant beer with a floral open and woodsy/leather finish. Though it features Budweiser’s proprietary hops, including a signature 1876 strain, the recipe’s been tweaked to incorporate two-row caramel malt and a beechwood chip finish. It is deeper in color and higher in alcohol (6% ABV) than classic Budweiser, but reflects much of the same character. “There are Budweiser drinkers who drink only Bud,” notes McCarthy. “But there are plenty of them who have a wider set of beers they drink, and this is perfectly suited to them.”
Beck’s Sapphire: A slightly higher (6% ABV) brew than your regular Beck’s, Sapphire is a golden pilsner made using German Saphir hops. The beer, billed as “remarkably smooth” by the company, follows the traditional German “purity law,” Reinheitsgebot. According to the amended law, beer can consist of only four ingredients: Water, barley, hops and yeast. Although the beer in the sleek black bottle is marketed as a premium nightlife choice (there’s a contest on the company’s website right now to win a trip to Fashion Week in New York City), it doesn’t mean you can’t class up your Sunday football party.
Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat: This Belgian-style “wit” (wheat ale) is owned by Anheuser-Busch (the same folks who make Budweiser), but this is an honest-to-goodness small-batch craft brew. The Honeycrisp Apple Wheat is a special, limited edition blend of unfiltered Shock Top Belgian Wheat and sweet cider. The blend is brewed with additional spices and finished with a Belgian candy syrup, Honeycrisp apples and other apple flavors. The result, surprisingly, is not as cloying as one might think. More like an alcoholic applesauce than either a hard cider (on the tart end) or a candy apple (on the sweet end). It will be a hit with many women popping in on the game, but guys will also find it refreshing and different.
Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Director’s Cut: Perhaps you’re more of an Oscars guy (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences doesn’t seem to go after people who mention their brand), but you’ve found yourself at a super party this Sunday. Sneak a little film crew in your brew with the Director’s Cut limited release from New England-based Harpoon. Each year, since 2003, Harpoon has released a different 100 Barrel Series beer every few month to highlight the skills of its brewers. The one-off beers (there are 46 different styles now) are available until each batch sells out. The Director’s Cut, the latest of the 100 Barrel Series, is a blend of pale ale and stout, providing just a hint of smoke on the nose. Caramel malt provides a sweet opening, while the stout adds body and a crisp, bitter finish. Ben Affleck may not receive an Oscar for “Argo,” but you can raise a Director’s Cut toast to him while your buddies cheer on their favorite team.
Thirsty for more? Check out National Spirits Examiner or NY Drinks Examiner.
Do you have a cocktail trend, new product, bar or teahouse you’d like me to review? Want to give me a heads-up on your favorite hot spot? Please email me at NYDrinksExaminer AT gmail.com. Or follow me on Twitter @roberthp.
FTC Disclaimer: The author sometimes receives product samples for review, which carry no cash value and cannot be re-sold, and sometimes attends press events such as lunches or cocktail parties, designed to promote a given product. The author is not paid by any alcohol manufacturer, retailer or distributor, or provided compensation apart from revenue from an assigning publishing company for editorial publication. Opinions are the author’s own. By the way, you should be 21 or older to read this page. Author received samples of the Budweiser Project 12 beers and Budweiser Black Crown for review. He has not, however, been invited to a single decent Super Bowl party yet.