Bud Light Golden Wheat. Or, as it’s known to some of my friends, “the beer Josh once compared to a fascist plot.”
If you’re not familiar with the beer, I’ll get the vitals out of the way. Bud Light Golden Wheat is, like American Ale or Shock Top, an attempt by Anheuser-Busch to weasel their way into break into the craft beer market. It’s not a surprising move, considering the only real growth in the beer world is in the world of craft brewers. As Michael Agnew wrote earlier this month, there’s no question that big brewers have the resources and ability to produce high quality beer. The question is whether they’ll commit to it full-bore or try to inject some “craft”-iness into macro lagers.
A-B describes the beer as a “Premium light, unfiltered wheat beer with citrus and a hint of coriander and the superior drinkability of Bud Light.” It clocks in at a slight 4.1% ABV, and 118 calories for those of you watching your figures. The Golden Wheat label boast that the beer is “brewed with wheat malt, coriander and citrus peels”, as well as the worrisome suggestion that the beer “tastes great ice cold.” It’s also worth noting that, in the store or at the bar, the Golden Wheat is only a touch more expensive than Bud Light, and way cheaper than Allagash, Sam Adams or even Coors’ Blue Moon.
An inexpensive wheat beer that tastes great almost frozen and has the drinkablity of Bud Light? Sign me up, right?
Despite my grousing above, the beer looks very good upon first pour. A slightly cloudy and gold brew, the Golden Wheat pours with a fluffy white head a few fingers thick and looks just like a wheat beer should. This definitely doesn’t look as translucent or over-carbonated as the Bud Light brand might make you think. Good on ya, Budweiser.
The praise of the pour is the last kind thing I have to say about the Bud Light Golden Wheat.
Let’s start with the nose. There isn’t one. The Bud Light Golden Wheat doesn’t smell like coriander, doesn’t smell like orange, doesn’t smell like wheat. It doesn’t smell like anything. If I was blindfolded and you put the bottle in front of my nose, I’d assume it was empty.
The beer tastes like (and I didn’t think I’d ever say this) a step down from Bud Light. Imagine the taste of a shot glass of Blue Moon dropped into a Bud Light and you wouldn’t be far off. There’s a bit of wheat and spice to a beer that otherwise tastes like Budweiser. Finishes way sweet, sticky and fizzy like soda pop. However you look at this, this is either the ugly stepchild of the Bud Light line or a half-hearted and failed attempt at a wheat beer.
So, the slightly over-the-top statement that I’ve made to friends and starts this review. The fact is, this beer tastes deliberately bad. The first time I ordered it, I presumed (perhaps under the influence of a few other beverages) that the guys at A-B brewed another terrible beer on purpose. It’s insidiously genius, in the way supervillains are often evil geniuses. If a light beer drinker were to venture into the world of better beer, where else would they start than a Bud Light Golden Wheat? One nauseating pint later, I wouldn’t blame them for being scared off wheat beers in general. Budweiser might have stumbled upon the best way in the world to keep macro drinkers drinking macro beers – convince them that craft beers are even worse. Evil. Genius.
Don’t buy this beer. If you want a Bud Light, just buy a Bud Light. If you want a wheat beer, buy Allagash, or Shock Top, or Gumballhead, or Oberon, or any other wheat beer.