There was a time before the Internet put thousands of real-world user reviews at your fingertips that you would have to rely on publications like Consumer Reports to help sort out the bad dishwashers from the good, the most reliable VCRs from the tape eaters, and the sweet rides from the lemons. Those days are officially over.
Shock Top, a CR Best Buy, has big malty flavors of molasses, caramel, and honey with relatively low bitterness and some sweetness.
Look at the bold letters up there. That’s right, Shock Top, a brand wholly owned by AB InBev (which means it cannot qualify as a “craft” beer) and which brews some pretty watery messes, has been honored as a Consumer Reports craft beer Best Buy by their panel of “experts.”
While Consumer Reports puts the beer (which I’ll assume is their flagship Belgian White) at the top of the “craft” beer food chain, the uneducated dolts over at BeerAdvocate – you know, the beer geeks who obsessively scrutinize and catalog every beer they drink – give it an overall rating of 70, one point away from being classified as “Poor.” Boy – what do they know?! They should leave the heavy lifting to the experts over at Consumer Reports!
Here’s a quote taken at random from the first review listed on BeerAdvocate, written by member ElijahRivera:
Sweet orange up front, then I get some spice that must be the coriander. The orange flavor tastes very artificial. I guess the wheat is there, but not the way you’d want it to be. It finishes with some off tasting grain, corn, and fusel alcohol flavors that help you remember that you are drinking an AB product. Whereas, a better witbier would help you forget that you are imbibing alcohol.
Sounds pretty awesome, Consumer Reports. Way to go, geniuses.
Now some of you might say I should cool my jets – Consumer Reports is for a mainstream audience, not for beer geeks, and so they’re going to gravitate towards more crowd pleasing offerings. I get that, but the fact that they’ve labeled an imposter brand as a can’t-miss-craft-beer makes me crazy.
This is exactly what Big Beer wants to happen – have people buy their craft beer clones thinking they’re getting an authentic product made by an independent brewery. The fact that Consumer Reports, in what I hope is their ignorance, has taken this bait and disseminated it across their publishing empire adds fuel to this unholy fire.
It also makes Consumer Reports look pretty stupid among people who know a thing or two about the beer industry. If they’re wrong about this, where else are they off the mark? Because of the miracle of online user reviews on everything from cars to kayaks to Hello Kitty phone cases, I’ll happily never know.
Goodbye, Consumer Reports. Thank goodness it’s no longer 1992.