I spent a large part of my Fourth of July day hanging out in a terrific dive on the beach in Santa Monica. The place had no liquor. It was strictly a beer only proposition. All day long shirtless roller bladers and bikini’d sun worshipers filled the place around me.
It was the perfect time to try a new brew. A brew proclaimed by its brewers to be one of the finest beers in the world. Some of you in select locations, major cities, etc. may have begun to see the billboards and print ads- and I’m sure that television spots are sure to follow. Because of this rollout, I heard myself utter, “Let me try the Anheuser World Select, please.”
World Select is the newest brew from Anheuser Busch, touted as “a classic, pilsner-style beer with a taste that features a distinctive hop note and full malt flavor.” The brew masters tapped to craft this beer hail from these 10 countries – Ireland, Spain, Italy, Korea, Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, UK and the United States. More info is available in this thread in the Brian’s Belly Bar and this news item in the Belly News.
But back to the beach. I hoped this was about to be a special moment. When the bottle arrived I immediately thought this would be a hearty drink. The green bottle is unique and sturdy, painted with gold leaf lettering. It also weighs more that most bottles I’ve held. Therefore I figured the beer held inside would be sturdy as well.
I must admit though, since this was a product of Adolphus Busch IV or whatever number they’re up to, I was afraid World Select might taste a little like a Budweiser.
I tried the wine taster’s technique of drawing air across the liquid as it rests on your tongue. It helps to broaden the flavor pallet of the drink, allowing the taster to experience the full rush of goodness. Well, the beer was cold, thankfully since it was hotter than a MF’er this 4th of July. And it wasn’t unpleasant. It did smack of being somewhat lighter than a Bud but ten times better than a Bud Light. In the background of this ultra-dry brew was a bitterness that reminded me of Bud Ice. It had a faint malt aroma and taste, albeit slight. The alcohol by volume comes in at 5%.
The bottle and packaging are designed to look like an import, hoping to attract a discriminating crowd- perhaps even to steal drinkers from other imported pilsners without hurting A-B’s own sales. But in fact, World Select is a domestic beer, imported all the way from Anheuser-Busch’s New York brewery. It may surprise you to learn that the green glass is a step down from the amber/brown glass of its older brother Budweiser. It allows more light to get at the beer which can change its composition- so the darker the bottle the better. Case in point, the word “skunked” is always instantly synonymous with Heineken and even several other green-bottled beers. And yes, clear bottles are the worst thing for beer.
So this is basically what we have in World Select. It is the All-Star Team of the Budweiser league. I didn’t love it, but I certainly didn’t hate it. Regular Budweiser drinkers may consider this a black-tie beer for special occasions, but ultimately this might be a beer that you will just have to try for yourself.
When the bartender came around for my next order, I heard myself utter, “Yeah, give me a Michelob Light.” [Editor’s Note: Mich Light? California is changing you man- leave before you’re washing down fish tacos with Michelob Ultra in West Hollywood.] Like I said, I didn’t love it. And it was going to be a long day at the beach.