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Anheuser-Busch

As some of you know, I was out of town for the past few days in St. Louis visiting the Anheuser-Busch facilities there for a business-related meeting. Part of that trip provided me with an opportunity to talk shop with one of the brewers, a packaging engineer and their engineering manager as well – and I have to admit, these people ARE passionate about beer and their product. From what I could tell, everyone at AB loves working for their company and are commited to making their products succeed and reflect the highest standard of quality. I came away a believer in that regard, although my taste buds stilll do not enjoy lager-style beers as much as they probably should.

We had an opportunity to tour sections of their facility. I could easily write pages and pages about the experience, and came home with about 35 photos and a few goodies as well. My day as a brewer’s assistant at Twin Lakes was pretty cool because I got to take my knowledge of the brewing process and see it on a big scale – well if Twin Lakes is big, then AB is colossal. It is next to impossible to convey the sheer size of their brewing equipment – and St. Louis is only one of 12 locations operating in the continental US. These guys produce massive amounts of beer.

One of the highlights of the trip was a 4-course beer dinner hosted by AB and the head chef at Sage Restaurant. One of their brewing guys (Alfonso) and a packaging engineer (Danielle) gave the group an education on how to savor and appreciate beer before the dinner began, and had brought along an ingredient kit as an educational tool. People were allowed to sample the malts and smell the hops, and were led through a flight of beers where differences and different flavors were discussed. Despite my bias against lager beers, I still enjoyed sampling and trying the beers I would typically walk past at State Line…. and found a few that were actually excellent lawnmower candidates for the summer.

The food at Sage was wonderful, and paired very well with the Michelob products selected. I think my favorite was the Michelob Porter that came with dessert (no suprise to most of you out there as my tastes are known to walk the dark side), but the Amber Bock and Pale Ale were also satisfying. My only regret is I didn’t get to hang out much after the dinner, but I was completely exhausted having been up since 3:15 CST – So I made a b-line for the door and went back to the hotel to crash.

I know AB is considered to be “The Borg” by many of you homebrewers out there, but let me tell you – if assimilation means that the bought out companies are as happy as the folks I saw in St. Louis, there are no losers… And if I ever sit down in a restaurant where my choices are limited and Budweiser is available, AB is getting my business, no question.

Oh yeah – the goodies. The ingredient sample kit they used at the beer dinner was given to me the following day at our meeting. I haven’t weighed the ingredients yet, but I estimate its something around a pound each of chocolate, black, caramel, wheat, and pale malts with an additional pound of rice and maybe an ounce of mystery hops. It also had several staves of beechwood… which I will have to try out just for fun. I intend on vacuum-sealing everything and storing it for the time being, but plan to brew an “AB ingredient” beer in the near future and send some of it back to the AB folks as a thank you. Not sure what the hops are, nor do I feel confident of their stability due to the fact that they’ve been exposed to heat and air several times at least while I was around – I will most likely still use them but as flavor / aroma hops where the IBUs aren’t so critical.

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Categories: Miscellaneous
  1. June 12, 2008 at 12:39 am

    Cool, that looks like a really nice time, plus the hook-up on the demo ingredients – nice! Are you going to try and use the rice?

    So, what exactly were you doing there for work … ?

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