Since I focused on Reinheitsgebot, Germany's beer purity law, in choosing my last two Brew Blog entries, I decided to kick it to the curb for this one. There's something to be said for tradition, but there's no reason to be stifled by it. With that in mind, I selected Wild Blue Blueberry Lager from Blue Dawg Brewing (owned by Anheuser-Busch) for this week's review. Hat-tip to my brother Chris for the "recommendation."
Those quotation marks are pointed, but I'm guessing you already had that figured out. The actual conversation regarding Wild Blue went something more along the lines of:
"Dude, I just tried the worst beer I've ever had."
"Really? I'm so gonna review it for Brew Blog."
Was it as bad as my brother indicated? Well, yes and no. It was truly terrible, but I'm not really sure I'd classify it as beer, no matter what the bottle may say. Wild Blue drinks like, and I'm guessing is marketed to drinkers of, malt liquor. In and of itself, this is not a bad thing. Unfortunately, Wild Blue tastes like really bad malt liquor.
When poured, the disconcertingly purple-amber "beer" displays sprightly carbonation, yet very little head. What there is dissipates quickly, leaving only a sudsy-looking skim on the surface. For a "beer" with such little head, though, it leaves a surprising amount of lacing on the glass as you drink it. The carbonation is as short-lived as the head, leaving behind an unpleasantly flat beverage in much less time than it will take you to slog through this one.
The aroma offers a disconcerting blend of Kool-Aid and blueberry yogurt, with a stridently artificial character and an odd tang that in no way approximates the fruity kick of actual blueberries. It is slightly metallic, and has no beery smell. No yeast, no floral hops notes, just fake fruit and wet steel.
As you can no doubt guess, Wild Blue is cloyingly sweet up front, with no hint of balancing hops bitterness, and no actual blueberry flavor discernable. It tastes a bit like grape soda, or perhaps someone's ill-advised stab at sparkling Manischewitz, of the concord grape persuasion.
The finish is blessedly brief, although you do finally get a little bit of yeast if you really concentrate. Unfortunately, it's accompanied by an aftertaste that I can only describe as being akin to the milk left over after a bowl of Fruity Pebbles. While that's called "a little something extra" when describing breakfast cereals, it's a sentence that should never be involved in describing beer.
I feel a little bit bad about the foregone-conclusion nature of this one, but I really was hoping to be surprised. I went in with an open mind, but Wild Blue slammed it shut at the first sip. It took a lot of mental effort to wedge it open enough to give the drank its thorough analysis. I did it so you don't have to. You're welcome.