Busch is one of the biggest, most popular American beer brands. It enjoys tremendous popularity throughout the United States as a go-to American lager. Like many other American lagers, it draws on the Bavarian brewing tradition of clean, crisp, refreshing beer.
Busch is an American adjunct lager with a refreshing, smooth taste. It has minimal bitterness and a faintly malty hint of sweetness. Overall, this is a classic American lager that offers an inoffensive, easy drinking experience.
Is this the whole story of Busch? Of course not! If you’ve not enjoyed an ice-cold Busch on a hot summer’s day, read on. In this article, we’ll go in-depth about this classic American lager and the drinking experience. We’ll consider the beer’s appearance, flavor, mouthfeel, smell, and how its brewing process and history affect the overall experience.
The first thing most beer drinkers want to know about their next choice of brew is its flavor. If you’re wondering what Busch tastes like, you’ve come to the right place.
Busch has a very soft, feathery, smooth flavor profile. It’s been engineered as a thirst-quenching, easy-drinking beer. It’s not at all designed to be pondered or examined in depth: this is a beer for drinking, not for sipping. It’s best to enjoy a couple of ice-cold Buschs on a warm day with a few old friends.
It’s important to note that Busch, like most other lagers, is best enjoyed cold. As the beer warms up, some “skunked” hop and corn notes start to come through, overwhelming this beer’s delicate, light palate. American adjunct lagers, in particular, because of their deliberately mild flavor, should be enjoyed ice cold, straight out of the fridge.
The first sip of Busch reveals a very mild palate. It has a faint taste of malt, like a freshly opened box of Cheerios. Really, there’s almost no front end to the Busch drinking experience, which follows through with minimal bitterness or fruity aftertaste. Busch also lacks the dominating yeasty or bready flavors that often overwhelm the palate in other adjunct lagers. There’s a touch of corny sweetness in there and a very clean, dry finish.
Overall, Busch has a very mild taste, with a light hint of malt to it.
Busch has a clear, crisp mouthfeel that the brand once described as “clear and bright as mountain air”. A sip of Busch definitely feels crisp and easy to drink. There’s minimal fizz, minimal body, and a very smooth feeling on the tongue. It’s almost close to drinking water, which is exactly what Busch was going for in designing this beer. Busch might be a full-strength lager, but it’s probably one of the lightest-feeling lagers we’ve tried. It’s remarkably clean on the palate, even for an American adjunct lager.
Busch goes down very smoothly, and it’s easy to reach for another when the first Busch is done. Busch has a light, crisp mouthfeel that is probably closer to a light beer than any other full-powered American adjunct lager.
It’s rare for any American adjunct lager to have the strong, noticeable aroma of a European-style beer. Busch is no exception to this rule. You really have to raise the glass to your nose and try to smell Busch’s aroma. It’s got faint grain and malt notes, with a little bit of corn to lend it some sweetness. There’s just a touch of grassy hops, but nothing too assertive or dominant.
If you’re drinking Busch straight out of the fridge or your ice box, don’t expect to smell much on the nose, as the cooler temperatures will suppress most of the aromatic notes of the beer.
All up, Busch’s aroma is in keeping with its flavor. Inoffensive, clean, and crisp, with a hint of the malt and grains from the brewing process itself.
Pouring Busch into a glass offers a heavier head than you might expect. It gives over three fingers of foamy white head that quickly dissipates. There’s a little ring around the rim of the glass, and some light fizz, but that’s about it. A few lingering clusters of bubbles cling to the glass, but Busch mostly just has a clear, pale golden straw color.
Busch’s packaging reflects its “mountain air” branding. The beer cans feature mountains, offering some insight into Busch’s direct competition with Coors. Many light American beers evoke the rugged, mountainous landscape of the country’s frontier, and Busch leans heavily into this for its packaging. Overall, it’s pretty cool to see this classic American imagery still in the market.
Why Does Busch Taste Like This?
Busch is a classic example of the American adjunct lager style. It’s bottom-fermented, which means that during the brewing process, the yeast sinks to the bottom instead of rising to the top.
Busch’s website states that they use the “finest ingredients, including a blend of premium hops, exceptional barley malt, fine grains, and crisp water.” Busch also includes corn as an ingredient in its brewing process and uses both American and imported hops. Although Anheuser-Busch has not confirmed this, it’s likely that their imported hops are Bavarian, as Busch was initially marketed as “Busch Bavarian beer”.
What to Eat with Busch
Busch pairs best with classic American foods. Anything with plenty of salt and flavor goes very well with Busch’s clean, smooth flavor. Think chips, burgers, hot dogs, and grilled meats.
Really, anything you’d expect to eat at a barbecue or a football game is fair game to pair with your glass of Busch.
Busch makes an excellent palate cleanser thanks to its crisp taste and minimalist finish. If you like taking a hearty pull of your beer in between courses to ensure no lingering taste from dinner interferes with dessert, Busch will do a great job of this.
Anheuser-Busch is one of the biggest American brewing companies. It has been a major player in the American beer market for the better part of a century now and is responsible for a variety of classic American beers, including Budweiser and Natural Light.
Busch is Anheuser-Busch’s second most popular brand after Budweiser. A huge part of this is Busch’s lower price point than Budweiser.
Before its rebranding simply as “Busch”, Busch was first introduced to the market as Busch Bavarian Beer back in 1955. This was a nod on Anheuser-Busch’s behalf to their origins in German-American brewing. When Anheuser-Busch first started out in 1852, it was named the “Bavarian Brewery”. Like many of the classic American brewing companies, Anheuser-Busch represented an attempt by German-Americans to bring the brewing practices and expertise of their homeland to the new world.
The American adjunct lager tradition can be traced back to the Bavarian brewing tradition. In Bavaria, clear, crisp lagers are brewed to be consumed in fine weather. They’re supposed to be refreshing and smooth. Busch, as an American adjunct, is actually much smoother and milder than most European beers and, indeed, many of its American lager competitors.
Busch Alcohol Content & Calories
Busch has a 4.3% ABV and carries 114 calories per 12oz can, with 6.9 grams of carbs. Overall, this is pretty standard for the American adjunct lager style.
What Do Other People Think?
Since Busch is such a widespread, every person’s beer, it makes sense to check out what other beer drinkers think of this classic American lager. We scoured the internet for beer reviews to see how other drinkers felt about this beer. In the below table, we weighted the reviews and determined an average score.
As indicated in the table above, Busch has a very broad spread of ratings. Its lowest rating came from Ratebeer, where its rating of 2.9 reflects its position as #23 in their list of “The Worst Beers in the World”.
On the other hand, drinkers at Influenster and Drizly offered a more optimistic rating, giving Busch 7.4 and 9.4, respectively. This is perhaps indicative of the younger user base of these sites, as Busch’s position in the market as an economy lager priced below many of its competitors makes it appealing to college kids.
Most reviewers commented, either positively or negatively, on Busch’s mild, anodyne flavor and lack of character. Its low price point also appealed to many drinkers.
One Beeradvocate reviewer made the below case on behalf of Busch:
“This is a beer that is beyond refreshing and is perhaps the most underrated beer for its price point. Yeah it may not look as good as a craft beer, but smell just reminds you of relaxation and bliss. It just feels so nice as it pours down your throat, cooling you down after a long hot day outside. The mild yet great taste of Busch is what people look for after a long day’s worth of hard work. There’s nothing like an ice cold Busch during a hot fishing trip at the river.”Source