ST. LOUIS - Call it a friendly competition, one best argued over a bottle or pint. Its name is "Project 12." Twelve Anheuser-Busch brewmasters at Budweiser€™s 12 geographically dispersed breweries worked together to create their own "tribute" beers to fit the Budweiser brand€™s reputation for quality and consistency.
The assignment pays homage to Budweiser€™s "clean and crisp" taste by using the proprietary yeast directly descended from the original Budweiser yeast culture used by Adolphus Busch in 1876 and still used by Budweiser today.
Through internal tasting and analysis, the 12 small-batch beers €" each a lager using all-natural ingredients €" were pared to six to take part in a summer-long, nationwide sampling effort. Consumer feedback will help Budweiser narrow the six beers to three for inclusion in a limited-edition sampler pack, available for purchase this fall.
"We asked our Budweiser brewmasters to each submit a beer idea in styles that consumers have shown interest in," said Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser, in a press release. "From those 12 ideas, we narrowed it to the six best. Our brewmasters have been working in small teams this spring and early summer to perfect these six and now it€™s time for consumers to let us know what they think."
To launch the six sampler beers, private events with brewmasters are scheduled to take place in August in all 12 A-B brewery cities: St. Louis; Merrimack, N.H.; Baldwinsville, N.Y.; Newark, N.J.; Williamsburg, Va.; Cartersville, Ga.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Columbus; Houston; Fort Collins, Colo.; Fairfield, Calif.; and Los Angeles.
Each small batch Budweiser is distinguished by the ZIP code where the beer is brewed. The six beers being sampled this summer are Budweiser Small Batch 91406 (Los Angeles); Budweiser Small Batch 63118 (St. Louis); Budweiser Small Batch 43229 (Ohio); Budweiser Small Batch 23185 (Virginia); Budweiser Small Batch 13027 (New York); and Budweiser Small Batch 80524 (Colorado).
"The key to this project was the common yeast €" which is a very important and often under-appreciated contributor to the flavor and aroma of beer," said Jane Killebrew-Galeski, director of brewing, quality and innovation for Anheuser-Busch. "We are proud of all these beers €" the variety and the quality €" but we want consumer feedback. So, we€™re looking forward to what we hear when we sample this summer. Our objective is to allow our brewmasters to show some creativity, but the beers must fit the hallmarks the Budweiser brand is respected for, such as quality and consistency, and have a very crisp and clean taste."