WITH regular Budweiser proving unexpectedly drinkable and Budweiser Budvar proving a disappointment, where does that leave Bud Ice? Let’s answer that question as I turn my cynicism to this little bottle.
This one cost £1.19 pence from a shop on Brick Lane. I think it looks good. From the transparent glass to the ice shaped surface around the shoulder, this is a beer for the trendy young drinker. It’s also quite a lot different to either Budweiser or Budvar. Just have a look at the logo on the neck label.
And how different everything looks on the front label.
The big “Bud ICE” logo is slightly reflective. Everything is trimmed down from the regular Budweiser style. But it remains jolly American and unmistakable “Bud”. Look a little closer and you’ll spot some familiar sights. Near the top there’s the Anheuser-Bush logo of an eagle colliding with a large, stylised “A”.
Getting down to the details on there, the alcoholic volume is clearly labelled at 4.7%. A deliberate attempt to separate itself from the established premium beers perhaps and go head to head with the likes of Corona Extra and Sol? Perhaps. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it.
Under the big “Bud” logo we get a concise and informative sentence about what this drink is supposed to be all about. And I quote “Our exclusive ice brewing process produces a rich smooth taste that’s remarkably easy to drink”. Is this “ice brewing process” something real or just marketing speak? Whatever it is, “rich smooth taste” and “easy to drink” are two very welcome qualities. Let’s hope it pulls it off.
Under that, we get the name and address of the producer proudly displayed. “Anheuser-Busch Inc., St. Louis, Mo., U.S.A.”. Does that mean this is imported? Why else would it have that on the front label? Alas, I’ve already checked the back label, and can reveal that it’s all just marketing. I’m as disappointed as you are.
Last detail worth mention from the front is that this is a 330 millilitre bottle. That makes it the same size as Budvar. And 30 millilitres more capacious than Budweiser.
Over on the back label, and the “Born On” date makes a welcome return.
As with regular Bud, this one has its “freshest taste within 110 days”. But there’s something you should know about the paragraph underneath it. The entire “Fresh Beer Tastes Better” paragraph is exactly the same as that on the Budweiser bottle. Only the name “Budweiser” has been changed to “Bud Ice”. Whether that affects how “clean, crisp” and “refreshingly different” it purports to be, I’ll have to investigate. I’m feeling rather mislead at this point.
Elsewhere on the label, the only address we get is the one from Richmons, Surrey, England. So you’ll know who to write to, to ask them to import the genuine article instead. It includes barley malt. And gives us no clue about how many UK units of alcohol there are. Not that you need those daft symbols to tell you that more than three or four in a night is too much. I recommend everyone at some stage in their lives be a student and work such things out for themselves in the environment of halls of residence or the student union.
Back to the beer, someone’s got to “pry off” the cap of this bottle and pass judgement on the contents. Any volunteers? Oh okay. I’ll do it then.
Once in the glass, it looks more like Budweiser than Budvar. That is to say, it is an anaemic yellow. Rather disappointingly patchy head on it too.
The smell is like every other cheap lager in the world. Some generic blend of malted barley and hops. Not as rich as Budvar nor as well-rounded as Budweiser. Just a cheap lagery smell. I think I can see where this is going.
And sure enough, a couple of gulps proves this to be an undistinguished cheap lager. It tastes lagery. Not the premium continental lagery or the quality independent or craft brewer lagery. Just lagery. You get a brief taste of malted barley before you receive a lingering bitter taste.
To its credit, that lingering bitterness isn’t as strong and unpleasant as with Budvar. It is rather muted in comparison. The label describes it as “smooth” and “easy to drink”. I can’t really disagree. It’s smooth. And it’s inoffensive enough to be easy to drink. Well I had no problem throwing back each gulp of the wretched stuff. As for the taste it leaves, at least it leaves a taste at all. And it’s a taste that isn’t up there with the worst of them.
Unfortunately, Bud Ice can’t hide the fact that it’s just an ordinary cheap lager. The taste doesn’t stand out at all from all the other cheap lagers. And compared to the lagers that have rice in the ingredients list, this one reaches sub-mediocrity at best.
In summary, Bud Ice is a slightly gassy, run of the mill lager. Not as distinctive as Budvar, not as tasty as Budweiser. This is actually what I expected Budweiesr to be like. But instead, Bud Ice receives the honour of being most pointless Budweiser in the small range available in east-London off-licences. There is no rational reason for you to choose this over the alternatives.
Have you tried Bud Ice? What did you think of it?
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