Sunday, January 11, 2009

Blue Dawg Wild Blue

I have no idea where or when I picked up this beer, but I know that I got it at some point from a friend. I think it was the one who moved to San Diego four months ago because he gave me a few beers that were lingering in his fridge before the move. Anyway, when I was trying to figure out what to have tonight, I found the Blue Dawg Wild Blue blueberry lager in the back of the fridge and decided to give it a go.

It is allegedly brewed by the Blue Dawg Brewery out of Baldwinsville, New York. I say "allegedly" because the Blue Dawg Brewery is a special group within Anheuser-Busch. It may be brewed in Baldwinsville, but it's still a product of the big three. I wonder why A-B needs to hide behind an obscure brewery to produce a decent beer; my guess is that the beer snobs would never go for a Budweiser Blue Lager because they hate the big three, and the economy/regular beer drinkers would get Bud, Busch, or Natty Light instead. Coors takes a similar line with Blue Moon, and I'm sure Miller has a similar situation with some craft beer, although none come to mind at the moment.

After digging a little, I found some information about this particular beer. It was first brewed in 2005 and released to a few cities in Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin, after which it was further test-marketed in St. Louis in December 2007; it was nationally released last year. A-B decided that it was good enough to put in the Fruit Beer category at the 2006 North American Beer Awards. It was a smart decision too, winning the gold that year. (Wild Blue product info)

Here come the stats:

Blue Dawg Wild Blue
BREWERY: Blue Dawg Brewey, Baldwinsville, NY, USA; Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, MO, USA
STYLE: "Fruit-infused lager"
ABV: 8%
MALTS: 2- and 6-row barley
HOPS: "Aroma hops" from the Willamette Valley, "German hops" from the Hallertau region of Bavaria
FOODS TO PAIR WITH: "pork rib roast with fig and pistachio stuffing ... pork tenderloin with apricot mustard ... fruit salad with ginger syrup ... mixed-green salad with dried fruit"
AWARDS: 2006 NABF Gold Medal (Fruit Beer)

The bulk of this information came from the Wild Blue product info page. I will try to get some info from the brewery, but a lot will probably be proprietary, and besides, who at big three breweries ever listen to a little ol' blogger like me?

This beer caught my eye with its reddish-purplish color and light purple head, but now that I know it's by A-B, I'm sure that was an intentional gimmick; the color probably comes from the blueberry syrup that they added to the beer. The head itself was very bubbly but thin, and it didn't last long. It had the pleasant aroma of blueberries with subtle hoppiness. However, the beer itself was a little too carbonated and tasted too much like alcohol, although the blueberry flavor was the dominant one. The alcohol of this beer definitely settled towards the bottom, though, especially as the beer went flat (and it went flat quickly). The aftertaste was sugary and fruity, once again with the blueberry in the lead.

This beer was a little too sugary for my taste, seeming to be a step or two above Smirnoff Ice, mostly because the sugar didn't leave that weird residue in my mouth this time around. This is a beer for people who don't like the taste of beer, similar to lambic beers but produced like a macrobrew. If you want a fruit beer, you could try this one, but I'd stick to the real fruit beers like Lindemans.



Anonymous said...

I just bought this, today, looking for a different beer. I was aiming for a milk stout (I live within an hour of the Left Hand Brewery, which produces the best milk stout out there, IMHO). I saw Wild Blue and thought "heck, a blueberry beer might not be so bad" -- I loved it! Of course I like the more "fruity" beers -- I am a big fan of Woodchuck (especially their Amber variety), and this ranks up there with those.

Good review. Looks like all of the big three have their own "micro-brew" attempts.

scott said...

Like Suzie I believe you have to think of this as more of a cider or fruit wine. There's a mild malt/hop back note and some carbonation, but this reminds me more of local fruit wines (Arkansas) than beer. It is enjoyable in that way. I usually like IPA and bock, but I could see this as a fun summer libation.

Anonymous said...

I saw this in an Alaska liquor store and found it funny that I had just thought how cool it would be for ALASKA to micro a blueberry beer. Blueberries grow like weeds here. I didn't buy it but was intrigued. A few days later my husband bought a six-pack and I will have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, it does remind me of a fruity wine, but it is an excellent fruity beer, BIG THREE produced or not! I like various beers and lean heavier towards porters, but Wild Blue is delicious, refreshing. It is a nice change and I wish it huge success!!

JJ Taylor said...

As a Guinness and Red Stripe lover, this is my new favorite summer beer. I love it. I don't even need food.

I'm a little disappointed it's a big 3 - just b/c I want so desperately to support a smaller company. But I will still drink it, while looking for others to ring my beer bell.

MIKEJ said...

Wild Blue is a different kind of beer for a different kind of beer drinker. It has a bold fruity flavor going down, but it also has a definite beer styling to it .To find out this brew comes from Anheiser-Busch is both surprising and not. This is a company both known for it's longevity and innovation. For some folks to say it is hidden behind a label is ignorant Many breweries have done the like. But this "BLUEBERRY LAGER" is absolutely one of the finest creations to ever emerge from any company in years. The subtle hops aroma is mildly clouded by the blueberry scent.The pale purple head is reminiscent of another popular beer by the same company, "Bud Light". The strength of this brew is a little more than to be expected, but not too much as to say too much. Clean, sweet, and refreshing. This beer is a perfect balance of form and function.

STLATTY said...

I've been enjoying Wild Blue for a couple years now, especially in the summer, but I was just severely disappointed to find the only store I know that stocks it isn't carrying it anymore, and I have no idea where I can buy it now - and I live in A-B's back yard, St. Louis. What a shame.

Anonymous said...

To STLATTY: I just picked up a 6 pack from Sams Club in South St Louis County for a mere $4.99. I am not usually a beer drinker (prefer wine, whisky and women), but this is a unique blend, kinda like the latest margarita/beers (aka Lim-a-Rita and Straw-ber-ita)!!!

Grethel Rickman said...

I actually bought this in a build your own six pack option from Publix supermarket in Asheville, NC. I thought I'd give it a shot because I don't like the beers that most typical beer drinkers do. I usually prefer something that looks more like extremely dark coffee. This actually was pretty good and light. It wasn't something heavy. Most beers I drink are heavy. I found it refreshing and tasty. I'd get it again which surprises me because I usually buy from local breweries. It's not Budd; that's for sure. Quite frankly most of the stuff that A-Bush makes is garbage to me. This is one that is not. Shalom!