Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Grain Belt Premium

Ah, Grain Belt Beer. It comes from here. I wrote a little ditty when I was young (I'm fairly positive I created this, no one can confirm hearing it elsewhere), and it had a physical side to it, a series of points to the body as you would say each word, ending at the crotchular level. See, I was saying it comes from the pee-pee maker, get it? Give me a break, I was six years old.

Anyway, I've got no problem with Grain Belt now, other that it's a bit on the sweetish side. Not too much for me, though, but it's not really my cup of tea, either. It is helping keep the August Schell Brewing Company in business, and that's a very good thing, indeed. 

Here are my notes from a bottle, in 2005:

This my Dad's beer, ...always a few cases in the house, the fridge well stocked, no other beer would do. They even ordered it special for him at the local watering hole, though I still can't figure out how no-one else in the Anoka VFW Hall shared his taste. I remember sitting at the bar with him, as a kid, while he drank it. Those were the days, eh? 

I never liked it, and it's ominpresence in the household was part of the reason I never drank beer until I was about 22. When all that surrounded me was Miller, Leinenkugel's, and Grain Belt, and they all smelled bad, I just stayed away. Years later, I discovered imported ales and craft brew micros...now that I was drinking beer, I decided to try Dad's beer, and figure out why he liked it. 

I still didn't like it, and couldn't figure out why he found it so satisfying. But, that's the kind of man he was, he stuck with what he knew, and never went too far from his comfort zone. 
Time to revisit it again, especially since I hear it's a better beer, under Schell's hand... 

Transparent, pale yellow appearance, huge, fluffy white cap atop, active. bubbling carbonation. 

Smells sweeter than i remember, less sickly. Very grainy, rather spare and thin, but not at all unpleasant. The typical average American lager aroma. 
Taste: wet. and empty, ..but not bad. Really, I think it's been over a decade since I last poured one of these down my throat, and it was an unhappy experience. That was under the Minnesota Brewing Company, who weren't looking to make a quality product at the time. Schell seems to have re-created GB, "the friendly beer", as a smooth, untroubling, and, let us not forget, cheap lager that actually doesn't taste bad. 

Finishes rather sweetly, slides leisurely off the palate. Very light in body, a bit too watery for my tastes, and extremely lean on flavor. But, it does what it needs to, for the style and satisfies it's target market. 

Got to hand it to the guys at August Schell for keeping Minnesota brewing history going, and putting out a decent brew at the same time. 

This one's for you, Dad. If it's true that "in Heaven there is no beer", no offense, but I hope you're in a better place than that....

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