Brew Blog: Wild Blue Blueberry Lager from Blue Dawg Brewing

Categories: Brew Blog

Wild Blue 2.JPG
Since I focused on Reinheitsgebot, Germany's beer purity law, in choosing my last two Brew Blog entries, I decided to kick it to the curb for this one. There's something to be said for tradition, but there's no reason to be stifled by it. With that in mind, I selected Wild Blue Blueberry Lager from Blue Dawg Brewing (owned by Anheuser-Busch) for this week's review. Hat-tip to my brother Chris for the "recommendation."

Those quotation marks are pointed, but I'm guessing you already had that figured out. The actual conversation regarding Wild Blue went something more along the lines of:

"Dude, I just tried the worst beer I've ever had."

"Really? I'm so gonna review it for Brew Blog."

Was it as bad as my brother indicated? Well, yes and no. It was truly terrible, but I'm not really sure I'd classify it as beer, no matter what the bottle may say. Wild Blue drinks like, and I'm guessing is marketed to drinkers of, malt liquor. In and of itself, this is not a bad thing. Unfortunately, Wild Blue tastes like really bad malt liquor.

When poured, the disconcertingly purple-amber "beer" displays sprightly carbonation, yet very little head. What there is dissipates quickly, leaving only a sudsy-looking skim on the surface. For a "beer" with such little head, though, it leaves a surprising amount of lacing on the glass as you drink it. The carbonation is as short-lived as the head, leaving behind an unpleasantly flat beverage in much less time than it will take you to slog through this one.

The aroma offers a disconcerting blend of Kool-Aid and blueberry yogurt, with a stridently artificial character and an odd tang that in no way approximates the fruity kick of actual blueberries. It is slightly metallic, and has no beery smell. No yeast, no floral hops notes, just fake fruit and wet steel.

As you can no doubt guess, Wild Blue is cloyingly sweet up front, with no hint of balancing hops bitterness, and no actual blueberry flavor discernable. It tastes a bit like grape soda, or perhaps someone's ill-advised stab at sparkling Manischewitz, of the concord grape persuasion.

The finish is blessedly brief, although you do finally get a little bit of yeast if you really concentrate. Unfortunately, it's accompanied by an aftertaste that I can only describe as being akin to the milk left over after a bowl of Fruity Pebbles. While that's called "a little something extra" when describing breakfast cereals, it's a sentence that should never be involved in describing beer.

I feel a little bit bad about the foregone-conclusion nature of this one, but I really was hoping to be surprised. I went in with an open mind, but Wild Blue slammed it shut at the first sip. It took a lot of mental effort to wedge it open enough to give the drank its thorough analysis. I did it so you don't have to. You're welcome.


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24 comments
Louisjordan47
Louisjordan47

I really enjoyed the taste of wild blue--the blueberry taste was not over powering.--I now want a T-shirt with the blue bulldog on it..

Christopher
Christopher

I DID say, "Don't say you weren't warned."

And I'm not sure if I should get a medal for bravery/frugality or a medal for idiocy for actually managing to finish five of these. It took a LOT of effort. But I didn't want to wash my money completely down the toilet, which is, however, where this "beer" belongs.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

SirRon,

I wholeheartedly agree that the comments section is for such discussions. I suppose I should have phrased the statement differently, though. I didn't really "guess" that they market it in such a manner, they more or less indicate (in their press release, on their website, etc) that they market to lifestyle, not to palate. http://www.wildbluelager.com/M...They talk about taking it to pet parades, so that you're dog can familiarize himself with their logo. That's exactly the sort of advertising employed by Zima, Smirnoff Ice, and other malt beverages of similar design. That's all I was getting at. Thanks for making me think through it a bit more, though. I can see what you're talking about.I can see what you're saying, though.

bodlbodl
bodlbodl

Nick - you are pretty new to this beer review game. I suggest you establish some "cred" by reviewing many real beers before you stoop to review a blueberry zima knockoff. I liked your initial reviews of real beers - keep them coming.

SirRon
SirRon

I'm not sure this beer is a malt liquor or marketed as a malt liquor. It contains 2- and 6-row barley according the A-B. It does have some adjuncts (cereal malts) and I guess a whole lot of blueberry syrup.

As far as real blueberries, they do claim that the syrup comes (in some way) from the juice of real blueberries.

I've never had this beer, but probably would drink one if someone gave me one. I'd rather blow my own money on cell phone data plans (so I can read this blog and leave these comments) and lots of Independence beers (astroturfing, astroturfing).

Shaw
Shaw

This should merge into previous article in this blog: "Where is the Blueberry?"

SirRon
SirRon

(I'm just copy/pasting this stuff folks)Interesting Facts: Wild Blue won a gold medal in the fruit beer category at the 2006 North American Beer Awards

Bruce R
Bruce R

If I could build a time machine I'd go back in time and undrink this beer. It sucks.

SirRon
SirRon

For the record, I'm not trying to make you a better writer. I'm just discussing beer. There should be more beer discussion here. It's almost like I emailed Ms Matusow about that a few times a year or so back or something.

You are the sht NLH.

(neg+pos)

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Forgot to mention, I've got 3 of them sitting in my fridge, and Ican't imagine drinking another. Come and get 'em, SirRon.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

I'd say the differences between "malt liquor" and beer are largely matters of semi-arbitrary state law, followed by marketing (i.e. Lager used here instead of Malt Liquor, for a beverage whose ABV exceeds the legal definition of beer in TX). Mostly, I'm just trying to say that this is basically blueberry Zima, marketed with a similar nod to "lifestyle" rather than marketing to people who, you know, actually like to drink beer.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

I can't imagine an actual fruit came anywhere near this beer.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Bruce, I wish I could use that same time-machine to go back and re-write my review as your comment.

SirRon
SirRon

I want... uh, one.

SirRon
SirRon

My bad... I didn't intend that to seem like a critique.

To your point though, malt liquor is a subset of beer, but it is not an official beer category. Though uncategorized (BJCP "catch-all" category 23), malt liquor does describe a particular type of beer though. (note: The TABC's legal definitions for labeling types of beer is mostly crap.)

Good post, btw. To counteract the fact EOW has selected another writer-who-has-the-ability-to-taste-beer to provide beer coverage for the site, your gift is being able to weave enough of a personal story into your posts to make every one of your reviews worth reading... and discussing. That sounded like a better compliment when I started typing it. Cheers!

Bruce R
Bruce R

How hard could it be to build a time machine? All you'd need is some decent beer, maybe a flux capacitor, and a place to sit.

Your description of Kool-Aid mixed with malt liquor nailed it.

SirRon
SirRon

Bruce... It's not like I said: "Change your malt liquor reference, moron!" I just think this is appropriate conversation for down here in the comment section. The beer may very well be a malt liquor, depending on how much of that blueberry sizzurp they put up in there.

However, if Shilcutt wrote an article about a pho restaurant and said the soup tasted like chicken noodle and the place must market their pho as chicken noodle soup, "foodies" would go Chernobyl.

My opinion is that this *could* be a malt liquor, but A-B *appears* to be marketing it as a specialty fruit beer and not a malt liquor.

Being that I strive to balance my negative comments with positives on good EOW blog posts, I'm now obligated to congratulate NLH on this post. I can't wait for the next one dude! You are the man!!

:)

Bruce R
Bruce R

When Nicholas used the term malt liquor I think it was clear exactly what he meant. He meant the cheaply made and horrible tasting lager that is prized chiefly for its strength; the stuff that had Billy Dee Williams launching from his sofa.

SirRon, I know what you mean by "official style" but everyone knows what malt liquor is (despite the fact that the moniker appears in small print on labels like Salvator). Examples include Colt 45, King Kobra, Olde English, and my favorite Mickey's Big Mouth. I think the failure of homebrewers to recognize malt liquor as a legitimate style stems from racism. Just kidding.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

I'm choosing to take it as the compliment you claim it to be.

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