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Friday beer: Why deny the obvious child?

Shock Top Pretzel Wheat tap handle

Last weekend at the St. Louis Microfest — which has been around since 1988, raising money for Lift for Life Gym and not at all self conscious about keeping the word micro in its name — a local brewery, Anheuser-Busch, showed up with one of the more intriguing beers poured.

Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat smells and tastes just like pretzels. You wouldn’t pair it with a pretzel because that would be redundant. You might buy one during the fifth inning on a muggy evening at the ballpark instead of hunting down a pretzel and a beer. Except that’s not really an option, at least right now, because A-B is offering it only at beer festivals this summer.

It’s one of those “how do they do this?” beers. If Short’s Brewing brought it to the Great American Beer Festival people would line up for it just like the do Key Lime Pie and PB&J.

Like other Shock Top beers, for instance Honeycrisp Apple Wheat or Lemon Shandy, Twisted Pretzel Wheat is not subtle. But beyond the obvious pretzel aroma and flavor it tastes like beer. Professional brewers at the festival I talked with about it were impressed, homebrewers not so much. Make of that what you will.

11 Responses to Friday beer: Why deny the obvious child?

  1. SteveH May 9, 2014 at 5:10 am #

    I’d be curious to know how many of the people you talked with knew it was an A-B beer before they tasted it.

    • Stan Hieronymus May 9, 2014 at 5:28 am #

      Consumers here in St. Louis pretty well know Shock Top is brewed by A-B. They had their own, and Goose Island had a larger one. A-B didn’t pour any other brands.

      And the (professional) brewers who were as intrigued as I obviously know who makes it.

      • SteveH May 9, 2014 at 10:40 am #

        Yeah, but I was thinking more like: Here drink this, tell me what you think? In an unmarked glass from an unknown tap.

        • Stan Hieronymus May 9, 2014 at 10:44 am #

          I went by the Shock Top during the last hour of each of the first two sessions and heard lots of people coming up and asking for “the pretzel beer.” Blind might of have interesting, but not sure how the word of mouth part would have worked.

  2. Jeff Alworth May 9, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    A fascinating rohrshach, isn’t it? One way to dull the fervor for these erstwhile “innovative” beers is for ABI to start brewing them. Then we’ll see whether people think they’re gimmicks or a real evolution.

  3. Thomas May 9, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    But would you sit in a bar and order one or buy a six pack?

    • Stan Hieronymus May 9, 2014 at 10:26 am #

      Exactly the conversation I had with people who brew beer for a living. The consensus was definitely thumbs up on drinking a full-size serving (versus 2-ounce tastes). Seriously, I’d be buying one during a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium.

      I’d also buy a six-pack, but in part because it would be interesting to hand out at some of my upcoming destinations.

  4. Patrick Ryan May 9, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    Why try to combine two great things into one mediocre product? At a baseball game on a muggy night, I’d probably buy a cool lager and get a hot dog which would actually feed me. This seems gimmicky, and I would think a pretzel flavored beer may make me thirstier…

    • Stan Hieronymus May 9, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

      Part of my point is that people tasting it didn’t find it mediocre.

      • Gary Gillman May 12, 2014 at 11:01 am #

        Then that’s all that counts.


  5. Matt M. May 9, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    Shock Top. {ppphff!} Spuds MacKenzie gets his own line of beers and tells Glen Plake to bugger off, his “trademark” isn’t legally binding.

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