It’s difficult to know what to expect when macro-brewers endeavor to create a craft beer. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. As for the effort, I like to think that even though the idea sprang from a whorish money grabbing attempt by the marketing department, those who actually get to brew the beer relish the opportunity to construct a legitimate, quality beverage.
Hop Hound Amber Wheat, from our old pals at Anheuser Busch/InBev, fills the entire spectrum of poor marketing and decent craftsmanship. Has anyone seen an ad for Hop Hound? If you have, please clue me in. And why not blitz the airwaves with advertising for Hop Hound, I mean, there’s a freaking dog on the label! The possibilities are endless. Never mind that the dog on Hop Hound looks like Poochie, the cartoon dog from The Simpsons that was used to make Itchy and Scratchy seem new and fresh, it’s still a dog!
The Hop Hound dog may not be totally in my face, but he’s got a modicum of attitude and style. Besides, before he was jailed for statutory rape, sent to rehab and found Jesus, Spuds McKenzie proved that even a crack-addled canine can sell beer.
As for the beer, Hop Hound isn’t bad at all. Certainly not the disgrace that is Bud Light Golden Wheat. Hop Hound, for starters, tastes like beer. It has a decent amount of complexity to it. Sort of a light, malty, wheat flavor with citrus undertones. Not bad for a hot July 4th barbeque, certainly better than Bud Light, my other option. I do wonder why a beer that has relatively little hoppiness (is that a word?) calls itself Hop Hound. Maybe to a dog it is hoppy, but I digress. The fact that it falls short of Costco’s Kirkland Signature Amber Ale is perhaps a question of taste. I have no doubt that there will be those who really like Hop Hound, and kudos to them. Personally, I don’t see myself buying it again but who knows, like I said it had some things going for it. I just can’t help but feel that it lacked soul. Maybe it was the dog. Maybe there is a degree of prejudice because this is the same conglomeration that created Bud Light Golden Wheat.
I will say that I am now interested to try Michelob’s Shock Top, their take on a Belgian white. Hop Hound is good enough to give me a little hope. If I do try it, you will be the first to know. Not literally. The person who sells me the beer will know, and so will my wife, and maybe a friend or two. But rest assured dear readers, you will be no more than fifth or sixth on the list…
On a side note, how come there are never any cats on beer bottles? And I don’t mean tigers or lions or leopards or ocelots or any other near relation. I mean a domestic house cat. As the owner of two cats, I can assure you that they can party with the best of them. I’m throwing down the gauntlet, beer makers, I want a cat on my beer bottle by the end of the year. I can see it now, Founders Ferocious Feline IPA. Make it happen.