Anheuser Busch Brewing Co.
Available: All States
Michelob Celebrate is a seasonal lager brewed with the finest two-row, Caramel, Carapils malts, and imported hops. It is hand-crafted in small batches by Anheuser-Busch Brewmasters using old-world techniques such as wood-aging on toasted bourbon barrel oak staves with real ground vanilla beans.
Alcohol (vol.): 10%
Color: Dark, rich
Malts used: Caramel, Carapils
Hops used: Imported
Since childhood, I've loved cream soda: the more intense the vanilla, the better. Sophisticated packaging makes this look like the ultimate adult cream soda. So do the visuals: bright orange with a rocky tan top. The nose of vanilla and the first kiss are sensual and surprising. Alas, there's more to a relationship that the first date, and on subsequent sips, I felt like my mate had on just a little too much perfume. It was fun to experience such an idiosyncratic flavor.
By now, beer-lovers realize that the big brewers have the technical skills to make any speciality that they think worth trying. Nonetheless, it is hard to avoid a gulp of astonishment at the elegant bottle, and luxuriant brand-name. Not a gulping beer, though. A sippin’ beer? The color of polished chestnut; the aroma and flavor of butter icing on a coffee-and-walnut cake; the texture of fudge. Bland, very sweet, cloying. Serve in a brandy snifter, with a cube of ice, I would say. Yes, like a Bailey’s. Why such a small quantity? Because it has 10 per cent alcohol by volume, but feels more like a sweet kiss than a punch.
Could we label a beer packing 10% alcohol by volume and a distinct smack of bourbon introductory? Celebrate, and a similar 6% seasonal that followed, may well familiarize more Americans to wood-influenced beer than hundreds of small-batch brewers have in 10 years. A double blast of vanilla (from freshly milled vanilla beans) plus bourbon-barrel staves added during maturation, dominates from the nose to a sweet finish. Bourbon almost as prominent, more as it warms. An uncomplicated introduction.