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Monday, May 22, 2006

May 2006 - Blind Taste Test



After spending months improving our beer tasting skills, it was time for a challenge. The Memphis Beer Club has tasted over 50 beers over the last six months with most of them being something new. So the challenge was to try 7 mass produced domestic beers and see if any one could identify them in a blind taste test. All of them were produced by Miller except Natural Light or brewed by Miller for PBR.

These are in no particular order but the first beer was Pabst Blue Ribbon. PBR beer was originally called "Select," but people started asking for that "Blue Ribbon" beer in 1882 when we started tying silk ribbons to the bottles. We officially added the words "Blue Ribbon" to the bottle in 1895. Pabst was the first brewery to put beer in cans way back in 1935. This was Blue Ribbon beer but it was called "Export" when sold in the can. Our first cans had a picture of a can opener on the side with instructions on how to open the can of beer, with the can opener.

During World War II, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans were painted olive drab at the factory for military use. All of the canned beer was for the military. Pabst Blue Ribbon beer was not sold to civilians in cans during the war because of tin rationing.

Today, this classic American brew has been adopted by a whole new generation of PBR drinkers. Currently, PBR is one of the fastest growing domestic beer brands. PBR's growth trends are the most encouraging in almost 25 years. They have launched a new marketing campaign featured at www.pabstblueribbon.com. When you're this good, quality always comes through-PBR ME ASAP!

The next beer is known as "The Beast", Milwaukee’s Best. In 1855, George Schweickhart purchased the beginnings of a brewery in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, after both of its founders died of cholera and named it the Menomonee Brewing Co. In 1874, Schweickhart sold the brewery to C. Schuckerman who later sold to Adam Gettelman, who was married to Schweickhart's daughter. The brewery became the A. Gettelman Brewing Co. in 1887. After prohibition, the brewery continued until it was purchased by Miller in 1971. Well-known brands included Milwaukee's Best, Milwaukee Lager, $1000 Natural Process (named after Gettelman's cash offer to anyone who could prove his beer had ingredients other than malt and hops), Rathskeller Brew, 5 O'Clock, and University Club.

Miller Brewing is trying hard to shake this beer's nickname as "The Beast." Named for its originator, Jacob Best, Milwaukee's Best took a Bronze Medal in 2005 in the American-Style Lager category at the Great American Beer Festival. It has an alcohol content of 4.5%. Classic slogans that represent this beer are "Unleash the Beast" and "Classic Taste at its Best". A popular beer in the economy beer segment. It is known for having beer flavor for an affordable price. It is sometimes referred to as "Red Beast" due to the red color of its can.

The only beer from Anheuser-Busch, the world's third largest brewing company in volume after InBev and SABMiller, was Natural Light. The company brews over 65 different beers and malt liquors. Anheuser-Busch's best known beers include brands such as Budweiser, the Busch and Michelob families, and Natural Light. The company also produces a number of smaller-volume and specialty beers, nonalcoholic brews, malt liquors (King Cobra and the Hurricane family), and flavored malt beverages (e.g. the Bacardi family and Tequiza). "A-B", as the company is often called, owns 12 U.S. breweries.

Natural Ice, popularly known as "Natty Ice", is an ice beer introduced nationally in 1996 (though released to select markets in 1995) when the practice of "icing" beer was adopted to increase alcohol content. Due to its relatively low price and high availability, it is popular at both high school and college parties in the United States. A light version, Natural Light ("Natty Light"), debuted in 1977 .

Miller Brewing is a large American beermaker based in Milwaukee. It was founded in 1855 by Frederick Miller when he purchased the small Plank-Road Brewery. The brewery's location in the Miller Valley provided easy access to raw materials produced on nearby farms. It also has a brewery in St. Clair Township, Butler County, Ohio. It was acquired by South African Breweries from Philip Morris (now Altria) on May 30, 2002, to form SABMiller for $3.6 billion worth of stock and $2 billion in debt, with Philip Morris retaining a 36% share, with voting rights of 24.99%.

Southpaw Light - Southpaw, the smallest of the beers from Plankroad Brewery, is popular in the Southeastern part of the US.
Other Plakroadbreweryy Beers
Icehouse 5.5 - Icehouse is an ice lager and was the winner of the 2003 Gold Medal for American-Style Specialty Lager at the Great American Beer Festival, and also won the American-Style Ice Lager Gold Cup of the 1996 and 1998 World Beer Cup competitions.

Red Dog - Although popular during the mid to late 1990s, Red Dog faded into near-obscurity after the turn of the century. However, since 2005 it has been making a comeback of sorts, returning to stores and customers. It is marketed to a younger, mostly male demographic, with a high percentage of African-Americans.

This beer was put on the market in 1903 and is Miller Brewing's oldest brand. Miller High Life can be considered the forerunner of the modern American lager beers. High Life is grouped under the pilsner category of beers, although it has slightly less alcohol than European pilsners. The prevailing slogan on current packaging is "The Champagne of Beers", due to its light and fizzy composition seem to suggest.


After languishing as a blue collar economy beer for decades, High Life is repositioning itself as a mainstream beer and going after a younger, more sophisticated drinker. Current marketing the beer with the tagline, "Savor The High Life". Except for a brief period in the 1990s, High Life bottles have always been quite distinctive, as they have a bright gold label and are made of a clear glass that has an oddly tapered neck. High Life has brought back its "Girl in the Moon" logo, which features by today's standards a modestly dressed young lady that by legend is company founder Frederick Miller's granddaughter. A recent surge in popularity is making the 7.5oz "pony" bottle 8 packs more and more available. High Life beat out 17 other contestants to take home the gold medal in "American-style Lagers" at the 2002 World Beer Cup.

The Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company was an American brewery based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The beer it produced, Schlitz, was often considered the archetype of working-class beers. It has one of the best-known slogans in the American brewing industry: "The beer that made Milwaukee famous".


The company was founded by Joseph Schlitz, who came to America from Mainz, Germany in 1850. The company really began to succeed after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when Schlitz donated thousands of barrels of beer to that city, which had lost most of its breweries. He quickly opened a distribution point there, beginning a national expansion.

The company flourished through the 1970s, being ranked as the No. 2 brewery in America as late as 1976. But problems with its production, specifically its attempt to cheapen the brewing process by using a high-temperature fermentation, which produced a product that the public deemed inferior led to serious financial difficulties Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. was acquired by Stroh Brewery Company of Detroit, Michigan.

The rights to the Schlitz name now belong to the Pabst Brewing Company.

This is the first beer that we made an exception to the rule that "All beer has to be finished" Steel Reserve is usually sold in 40 US fluid ounce (1.183 L). The beverage is notable for relatively high alcohol by volume -6 %. Among beer connoisseurs state the taste of Steel Reserve is less pleasant than even other low-priced beer. The manufacturer typically describes the taste as "exceptionally smooth." The chief appeal of the beverage is its attractive price point, high alcohol content, and stylish packaging. The product is mostly sold in inner city and urban neighborhoods. According to Michael Gray, the director of marketing at Origlio Beverages (the wholesale distributor of Sparks in Philadelphia, Chester, Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware counties) “If you're not hanging in the ‘hood, you probably wouldn't see it.”
Steel Reserve was created by the marketing firm McKenzie River Corporation, also responsible for St. Ides, Black Star, and Sparks. It's possible that the name "Steel Brewing Company" is simply a marketing pseudonym used by McKenzie River.Steel Reserve labels are emblazoned with a stylised "211"—the medieval symbol for steel. Brewed for at least 28 days.


Comments:
This isn't necessarily about beer, but more about your name. My name's Trafford as well... first name that is... rare as a last name, rarer still as a first. Anyhoo, came across your blog and my interest was piqued. I too love a good brew and am enjoying your blog. I have tried many of the beers you've discussed.
 
211 steel reserve is the best!
 
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