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Amercian Beers: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

Updated on May 4, 2012

Since my world beer taste test over Easter I have been spending some time thinking about what could be the next series of brews that I could share with my followers. This time I thought I would have a crack at the USA beers that have started to land in Australia.

We are all used to the watery, sweet, no taste American stalwarts - Bud & Miller but who would have thought that the Yanks could produce beer that was just as good as the best from Europe and the UK! In this discovery I compare Budweiser to great beers being produced by Samuel Adams, RJ King and Sierra Nevada, all now available to taste at your local Dan Murphy's.

So grab a brew or two and take this next installment of my international beer journey, this time through the United States of America.

Budweiser USA 4.9% Alcohol

This is a great easy drinking beer to watch live sports too and you don't want to think too much about the beer or be too challenged by the taste. It's really a nothing beer and isn't complex in any way. If you were going to settle in to watch a football match or NASCAR then this beer is a perfect compliment.

It has a nice pale amber colour, but is best to drink in the bottle. It also keeps it's head but gives out no real favour.

Another think to remember is that Bud has no relationship to the famous Budvar beer from the Czech Republic, even though they share a similar name.

When I visited the States I kept away from the Lite varieties of this beer as light in Australia means mid or low strength beer, whereas in the USA this means that it is a 'diet' beer, low on carbs!

Bud sells across Australia for about $50 a carton of 24.

RJ King Wingwalker American Pale Ale USA 4.6% Alcohol

This was another Yankee beer that I was excited to try and I must say that I wasn't disappointed. This is a Belgian style wheat ale and has a very similar taste to Hoegaarden.

It's cloudy in appearance and has a sweet & sour aftertaste that bought back long nights of drinking Belgium beer! It keeps it's head well and gives off a nice cloudy appearance.

You really can taste the citrus and spice flavours in this ale. Another winner from this New York brewer.

Wingwalker Pale Ale can be bought from Dan Murphy's for around $4.90 a bottle.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale USA 5.6% Alcohol

A real tan and dirty head is presented to us in this beer. It's more of an ale than a pale ale to my taste buds. It is similar in colour and taste to a Coopers Sparkling Ale than the Pale Ale variety.

It is slightly rich in flavour, but feels a bit flat when taking a mouthful. After the initial mouthful it loses it's complexity and taste.

This is still a remarkable beer from the US, but not as unique as the RJ KIng Wingwalker variety or the normal Sierra Nevada stable of beers.

You can buy this beer from Dan Murphy's in Australia for about $4.90 a bottle.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA USA 7.2% Alcohol

This beer has a dark brown colour and promises delights that only a strong beer can deliver. After the first taste you are stopped in your tracks saying "Wow, this beer is bitter" as it hits the back of your throat with a very full flavour.

You mouth will feel full of herbs and you can really taste those whole-corn American hops. In the aftertaste you can really feel the alcohol and this is a deterrant to the whole experience.

You won't want to drink too many of these, but it is a nice brew to sip in front of the fire on a cold night with 1-2 bottles beside you.

This beer costs about $4.90 for a 355ml bottle.

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen USA 4.8% Alcohol

An American beer that looks cloudy and it's not a pale tasteless beer!? The first mouthful is all ale, similar to SA's own Coopers Pale Ale but more complex.

The label says there are flavours of ripe banana and spicy clove and you can really taste this. It's a heavy complex beer just fine for drinking in front of the fire.

Well done to this small brewer from California to create such a fine ale. This is highly recommended for fans of good ale beers.

Just a note that the beer is very cloudy due to the process of fermenting the beer in the bottle - very similar to the Coopers ale process. Available at Dan Murphy's for $4.90 a bottle.

Samuel Adams Boston Lager USA 4.9% Alcohol

The first view of this beer is that it is very rich looking dark ale beer! And it delivers - a treacle burnt caramel taste complete with nuttiness can be used to describe the taste. It really hit's your tastebuds and is delicious.

It is really smooth - something that you would definately enjoy drinking on a cold night. It keeps it's head well and is very satisfying in its over taste and smell.

This is another real gun beer from this Boston brewer - so much better than the other US commercial beers by a country mile. $4.90 a bottle at Dan Murphy's.

RJ King Wingwalker American Belgian Style Wheat Ale USA 4.6% Alcohol

A beautiful dark amber greets you in this flavoursome beer. It has a strong burnt caramel flavour that hits you right in the middle of the forehead!

It's flavour is strong with a medium bodied effect. If all of the Pale Ale's in Australia tasted like this one then I would be a very big fan.

This New York brewer is on to a winner with complex beers that could rival some of the brewery's in the UK. A definate must buy.

$4.90 for a 355ml bottle at Dan Murphy's.

That's All Folks!

Well, that's it for today.

I have really enjoyed trying some of the best and worst that America has to offer to the beer world and I hope I have inspired some of you to give these beers a try.

If you have other local brews that you think I should source please feel free to comment and give me some advice!

Thanks for stopping by. Cheers Michael

The only way to drink Bud - in a NASCAR stubbie holder!
The only way to drink Bud - in a NASCAR stubbie holder!


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    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      We have a really nice honey mead from the Barossa Valley Beth. When you enter the cellar door you can really smell the mead and you just got to buy a bottle. It's really nice on a cold, wet and windy winters day. Agree about getting away from the national brands - local and boutique beers are a lot more gutsy and tasty! Cheers Michael

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 5 years ago from Tennesee

      Charmike4, I've found over time that often the "store brands" are a lot tastier and less wimpy than the national brands. But then again I love me mead :)

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Thanks jpcmc for allowing me to 'refresh' you! Reading about beer always makes me thirsty, maybe now is the time to try some new beers! Thanks for stopping by. Cheers Michael

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      this is my first time to read about beers and this is really fascinating. My knowledge of beer is quite straightforward and fundamental - remove cap and drink. This is a refreshing way to look at beer. Thanks for the info. :)

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Thanks chef-de-jour. I think that some winter beers might be in order (it's starting to get cold & wet in Australia - 17 degrees C today!), so I think some from the UK might be in order! Cheers Michael

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 5 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      Good show Mike. I have tried some American beers in the past but oh dear talk about falling flat! The beerthat made Milwaukee famous made me a tad ......! There seems to be a revival of good taste and honest brewing and you've done a great job as Aussie beer ambassador.

      Next country will be?

      Good health.

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Ain't that too true rjsadowski! I'm not sure about the US version, but the Bud we get in Australia is 4.9% alcohol and as it tastes like lolly water it goes down way to easy. Cheers Michael

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      I think Samuel Adams might become one of my favs as well Theeyeballkids - I really enjoyed it's colour, taste and aroma. Thanks for commenting. Cheers Michael

    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 5 years ago

      I appreciate your candid opinion. Most American beer is made for college students who wan't to get wasted on a Friday night, but we can do much better if we try.

    • Theeyeballkid profile image

      Theeyeballkid 5 years ago

      GReat hub (and im sure a lot of fun doing the groundwork)!

      I couldnt agree more with you about Budweiser, its a very ordinary beer. I haven't tried all of these but Sam Adams is one of my faves.

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      I've had a few in one of your English pubs one night and I agree JBastow. Must be something to do with having it on the taps instead of out of a bottle! Not my favourite beer of all time I must say, but OK if you don't want to think too hard about it!

    • JBastow profile image

      JBastow 5 years ago from Gateshead United Kingdom

      I've only ever tried Budweiser and I always wake up with the worst hangovers ever /:

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Thanks for the heads up on the new Sierra Nevada, I'll try to source a bottle here in South Australia. If you like their range you have got to try Coopers Pale Ale, Sparking Ale, Dark Ale and Stout. I think they are available in specialist bottle shops in the US and they are made about 1 km from my house! Thanks for commenting. Cheers Michael

    • Hally Z. profile image

      Hally Z. 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Seems like you have a preference for Sierra Nevada. I do like their 30th anniversary beer. Great review!