On July 11th, Budweiser introduced its new limited-edition Harvest Reserve lager. While the standard Bud is a blend of malt and rice, this new offering is 100% malt roasted longer for a richer flavor. Does it compare favorably to the standard Bud? Let’s taste and find out.
To start with, the beer simply looks better. It is an appealing shade of amber, like roasted almond, that makes Budweiser’s pale straw-yellow seem mundane. On the nose it is apparent that the complexity is dialed up several notches. While Budweiser is a whisper of light bread aromas like oyster cracker, Harvest Reserve bellows toasted brown bread, baked pretzel, cereal, and a touch of caramel. There isn’t hint of hop aroma, so IPA fans need not apply.
On the palate the beer feels like a Bud: light bodied and crisp, low in bitterness, and no grassy hop flavor. However, while standard Budweiser is a little stretched-thin, in comparison Harvest Reserve tastes deeper, with more intense flavors and substantial texture. Finally, there is a smidgen more bitterness in “Harvest Reserve” to better balance the generous malt profile.
Tasting Harvest Reserve was a treat. It drinks similar to the standard issue version but with more complex flavor, fuller texture and a longer finish. Well done, Budweiser!
B / $11 per six-pack / budweiser.com