When asked to assess Budweiser's flavor, Cheapism's 2016 review panel protested, saying there wasn't any. These seven tasters chose descriptors such as "flat," "watery," and "low alcohol" to characterize the taste despite the fact that Budweiser is a beer with an ABV of 5 percent. One snarky panelist remarked, "This is the keg the morning after the party." Another, who seemed to prefer mainstream lagers to craft brews, said it "didn't taste like beer." In fact, Budweiser, one of the first American lagers, was liked less than four other mass-produced lagers and four craft brews our tasting group sampled. It bested only one: Pabst Blue Ribbon. In a blind tasting we organized a few years ago, Budweiser fared better, falling in the mid-range of the nine brands in its class that 13 volunteers rated.
We wondered, would online Budweiser reviews paint a different picture? In a word, no. At RateBeer, an aggregate of nearly 4,000 consumer reviews yielded a weighted average score (assessing aroma, taste, palate, and appearance) of only 1.45 out of 5. Posts reveal that many drinkers find the beer unremarkable and light on taste. More than 1,500 reviews at BeerAdvocate assign Budweiser a dismal ranking of 58 out of 100, calling it "awful." Many lament that it's watery, as did our 2016 tasting panel, while others remark on what they perceive as a grassy taste and excessive carbonation level.
Pricewise, this is a mid-range beer. We grabbed a six-pack of 16-ounce cans for $6.99 with a supermarket club card, although the pack would have set us back $8.49 at regular price.
Budweiser was first brewed commercially in 1876 and remains a popular Anheuser-Busch offering to this day. The brewing process features a blend of barley, malts, and rice, in addition to aroma hops. Over the years this lager bandied about the nickname "King of Beers," but our Budweiser review found that the crown has tarnished. All in all, Budweiser seems more a pauper's beer than the American nobility it lays claim to.