I first had the Michelob Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale on draft about four years ago at the Flying Saucer in my quest to get in the Ring of Honor. I remember trying it and being quite pleased with the selection, and even more surprised when I found out it was a Michelob beer. I don’t have much faith in my macro-brewing providers, but they show here that they are capable of creating a good beer with a distinct flavor.
The Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale is a deep amber color and vanilla is very noticable in the aroma. It has a medium body and drinks quite smoothly, quite appropriate for cold winter nights. The flavor is malty with vanilla also coming through in abundance in the flavor. It’s almost like drinking a vanilla cream beer.
While a very good winter seasonal beer, it isn’t perfect. Being an appreciator of bourbon, especially Maker’s Mark, I figured my palate was equipped to pick up on any bourbon flavor from the casks. However, I can’t really detect any bourbon there. It’s probably in there, very subtly, but the vanilla flavor seems to dominate, at least on my tongue. Also, I couldn’t help but notice a subtle “this is still a Michelob beer” twang in the aftertaste. (If you sit really still when you drink it, you’ll know what I mean.)
Overall, I do think this is a worthy effort and a good demonstration that the big boys can make a tasty ale if they put their minds to it. So the lesson, as always, don’t discriminate based on the label. Give something a try, cause you never know what is on the inside.