A Crafty Attempt to Woo Craft Lovers – Budweiser Black Crown

Black Crown

Budweiser Black Crown 6% ABV

I have been a fan of craft beer for quite some time now. I got into Sam Adams when it was the “alternative” to macro beers back in the early to mid-1990s. Granted I was a little underage, but that’s another story. The statute of limitations has long expired on that. Anyway, back then the world was introduced to a better looking, better tasting beer than could be offered by Bud, Miller or Coors. Or anyone else for that matter. Now with a new generation of microbreweries making waves nationwide, that craft beer movement continues its renaissance in the global beer market. Just recently a report came out stating that macro beers are seeing declining sales and have been losing market share while craft beer sales are skyrocketing. Certainly someone in those board meetings has taken notice of this. Now we are seeing craft-looking beers coming out that are really nothing of the sort, but are seemingly an attempt by giant beer corporations to reach the craft beer audience and win over their hearts, if not their dollars. After all, that’s really what this is about. Beers like Shock Top, Third Shift Lager and Black Crown have all been presented to us like craft beers. But they don’t seem to have that same “je ne sais quoi” that craft beers possess. My evidence? I probably committed a party foul worthy of expulsion from the brotherhood of craft beer lovers – I drank a Budweiser Black Crown.

Forgive me for my trespasses, for as a craft beer guy I truly have sinned. I should note right from the beginning that I didn’t pay for this beer. It was given to me. Like my tag line says on my profile page – I like ’em free and cold. Any chance to score free beer means I have an unbiased opinion towards it. In other words, I didn’t blow my money on something I shouldn’t have bothered with. So here comes Black Crown. This one has been hyped up with a multi-million dollar ad campaign and svelte actors/actresses looking like they came out right of the elite Ghost Bar at the top of the Palms Casino in Vegas. Quite swanky indeed. Doesn’t seem very craft-inspired though. I think they missed the point the moment they opted for this commercial. Maybe their ad execs should be canned for this one.

So how does Black Crown look/taste? After all, that’s what we’re here to discuss isn’t it?  Glad you asked. Here is my take: Meh. It reminds me too much of good old fashioned Budweiser. The color isn’t much different from the original, but it is a little bit darker. There is very little head to speak of, and what is there disappears quickly. Thin and watery perhaps? Maybe not, it’s got more body, flavor and alcohol presence than regular Bud, but shouldn’t we expect that? I will give them some credit for using more crystal malt to give it more of a caramel aroma and flavor, but to me it is too little, too late. The “Beechwood Aged” flavor that people know all too well still comes through in the end. It really doesn’t move me at all. I will however also give them credit for upping the ABV level. This one is 6%, much like that other stunt they pulled, Bud Light Platinum. I’m sorry, if you’re a die hard AB/InBev devotee, then I’m sure I have already upset you to the Nth degree. You will probably enjoy this beer like you would their flagship variety. It might be something you’d want to give your friends that don’t have an appreciation for better beer. I mean hey, if there’s still a market for Meister Brau out there, there’s always hope. But if you’re a fan of craft beer, one who isn’t so willing to sell out their taste buds in the name of fancy advertising or flashy commercials with “A list” hipsters abound, then my suggestion is this – treat it just like you would the regular red & white labeled stuff. There really isn’t that much difference between the two. In other words, there’s always another choice out there. Stick with your gut on this one and don’t abandon your love of true craft beer. Maybe you pay a little more for it, but trust me, it’s worth it. Your taste buds (and your reputation) will thank you later. Cheers!

About Jason M

Texas Style - Having grown up down south, I've grown an appreciation for the "bigger is better" mantra. Bigger and bolder flavor is something I crave in my beers. Some people are hop-heads, all they drink are IPA's and other hoppy beers. Others are big on wheat beers. Some like it dark. Me? I'm an all-the-above kind of guy. I've had a love for all varieties since I was young and that has not changed. Good beer is good beer.

I'm constantly seeking out the latest and greatest new variety, because despite having an old-time favorite beer, drinking the same old flavors over and over gets old. That being said, I've got to try something new, explore my boundaries. After all, variety is the spice of life, no?

Favorite Beers - Unibroue La Fin du Monde, Founders Backwoods Bastard, Schlafly Oak Aged Barleywine

Find me on Untappd.com


  1. See I would say its more of the big macro breweries trying to lure the macro drinkers to buy “craft beer” and cut them off before they even get to the real stuff. Its all about brand affinity … I still don’t think its going to work though

  2. Terrific review. I just tried this beer and I am in total agreement with you.

  3. I’m just happy they put their own brand on it instead of passing it off as something a craft brew. They’ve got too many kraft brands already.

    • Irving says:

      You’re right there are so many IBev beers you would never know are theirs. Like that scene in Beer Wars where they break down a huge shelf of beers to 5 companies.

  4. Tim Williams says:

    Does Bud/Inbev own the O’Fallon Brewery too? I had a Hemp Seed/Rye dark beer (stout or porter) from them last year and I couldn’t help but think it was an attempt at a craft beer from Bud. The brewery is just outside St. Louis and all I could think of was how AC Golden beer company isn’t Coors, but by them. I’d rather see a truth in advertising law written that states who owns each company on the six pack holder. I don’t support big beer on principle and when they try and pull the wool over my eyes, I get even more frustrated. I don’t care who distributes your beer, but I’m done with our big beer producers telling me that six-row barley is the finest in the nation. They use it for animal feed in Europe! Give me a Bud product made with Maris Otter, Noble hops and an interesting yeast without beech-wood aging and I’ll think about it!

    • It doesn’t appear like O’Fallon is owned by ABInbev. Big beer is out to make money, period. They use 6 row and adjunct grains like rice and corn not for flavor, not for quality but because its cheap. They are concerned with profit above quality or the craft in beer making. Its sad really that most of America is still stuck on these frost brewed adjunct light lagers and haven’t acquired a taste for … well flavor. That’s slowly changing though with people like me and you … cheers Tim!

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