Sunday, December 1, 2013

Budweiser Project 12 Tasting Party #BrewForYou #MC (Sponsored)

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Budweiser. I received a product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

One of the upsides to living in Texas? I can get beer in the mail, woo! Massachusetts is one of the few states that does not allow this, and had I still been living there, I probably couldn't have participated in this fun campaign by Millennial Central

For those of you who don't know, Millennial Central (sister company to Mom Central) has teamed up with Budweiser to send samples of their Project 12 beers to bloggers and influencers across America. Side note: if you're interested in joining some of these cool campaigns, holler at me in the next week or so, I'm doing some community building for the site and am on the lookout for other Millennial bloggers! :D

Nibbles and beers

Anyways, our challenge was to either have a tasting event or incorporate the Project 12 beers into our Friendsgiving activities. Since the first Friendsgiving I went to I didn't really know anybody--though, in retrospect being the girl who brings the beer probably would have made me tons of new friends...dang--and the second one I had to bail on because Cory came down with a migraine... a tasting party with some of my close friends was the best bet!

I was so excited for the slate cheese plate that came as part of the package (also included were tasting glassware and burlap coasters) but sadly it was broken! I held it up to Cory with a pouty face and his response was "Well, now you have TWO slate cheese platters!" Hah, way to see the silver lining, Cory. It actually did look kind of cool the way it was, and my friends thought it was supposed to be like that. I guess I'll save it instead of tossing it.

The beers I received were as follows:

Beechwood Bock--Batch 43229 (Columbus, OH): Brewed with chocolate and caramel malts for a rich, auburn appearance. Finished on beechwood chips for a crisp, clean taste. Try it with chili, sweet potato, and spicy foods.

North Pacific Lager--Batch 94534 (Fairfield, CA): Brewed with a unique blend of North Pacific hop varieties including cascade and palisade, this bold hoppy lager offers a distinct taste of the American Northwest. Try it with garlic, fried chicken, cheddar, and curry.

Vanilla Bourbon Cask--Batch 23185 (Williamsburg, VA): Aged on a bed of bourbon barrel staves and vanilla beans, this light amber lager lets you indulge in your sweet side. Try it with bacon, cherry, maple, and pumpkin.

The occasion called for pretty dresses.

I decided to set up a tasting menu--much like you'd do with wine--to try to complement the flavors of the beers with the various flavor profiles. Here's how I paired them up:

Beechwood Bock: This beer got my two best appetizers, my famous spicy pork meatballs and a beer fondue. The beer used, of course, was the Beechwood Bock. I figured the darker beer would have a bigger punch of flavor than the others, so I knew it would hold its own with the sharp cheddar and pungent swiss used in the fondue. The spicy meatballs are a party favorite, and since Bud suggested drinking it with spicy foods, it was a no-brainer.

North Pacific Lager: I am not a fan of hops, so I was a little hesitant to try and pair this one. I decided to play it safe with a cheese plate (cheddar and brie) since Bud suggests drinking it with cheddar, and use it in a simple beer bread flavored with a little sesame oil. Beer bread is quick, easy, and always a crowd pleaser, and I figured it'd go great in the fondue as well. I also thought that a more briny flavor would probably counter the hops nicely, so I made a plate of crackers with neufchantel cheese and caviar (cheap $7 caviar, heh) to pair with it as well.

Vanilla Bourbon Cask: I had the advantage of seeing some other bloggers' pairings for this one, and most decided to do desserts. I thought I'd think outside the box and looked at the non-sweet suggestions Bud gave us. I ended up going with a flatbread topped with gorgonzola cheese, bacon, garlic butter, and pears. Also the brie from the cheese plate with some grapes and fig jam applied to this beer.

The spread

After what seemed like forever, I called my friends into the kitchen to sample the beer and food. We passed around the Vanilla Bourbon Cask, then the North Pacific Lager, and finally the Beechwood Bock, nibbling the corresponding foods as we sampled. I took notes as my friends chatted about the beers.

What's neat about these new, limited edition beers is that the basic formula for Bud is at the core of the recipe--the signature yeast used by Adolphus Busch in 1876 is still used in these beers, but the Budweiser Brewmasters have amped them up with unique, new flavor profiles. For more information, check out the Budweiser Project 12 Tumblr. My friends all tasted the signature Bud taste in each beer, but the extra oomph was a fun surprise. We decided that if you're a tried and true Bud lover who is looking to expand your horizons and try something new, these are really good beers to start with. Plus you're getting some really neat beers for the price of a Bud! However, if you're not a fan of Bud, you might still enjoy these, but know that the Bud flavor is definitely still apparent. 

The overall winner, by a popular vote, was the Pacific Lager. My friends loved that it had a strong hops flavor, but it wasn't bitter. It was the most drinkable beer with the best aftertaste. I, however, went against the crowd and liked the Vanilla Bourbon Cask best. I liked that it was mild and almost sweet. It was a very drinkable beer, in my opinion. My friends (there were a few beer connoisseurs among us) said they would have liked it better if the bourbon flavor was more pronounced. 

Jenn hijacked my notes... 

Actually, their biggest criticisms of both the Vanilla Bourbon Cask and the Beechwood Bock is that they didn't go FURTHER with their flavors and punch it up even more. Their suggestion for future batches is for Bud to not play it safe and to just go all out with the flavor. 

It was a fun night with good food, friends, and beer. I loved participating in this campaign! I consider myself only a half-assed beer drinker--low gluten diet kind of keeps me from trying much--but I was grateful for the opportunity to taste test and share with friends.

These Budweiser Project 12 beers are limited edition and will be sold through the end of the year. Try them now, while you still can!

Beer Fondue
  • 1 bottle Beechwood Bock Project 12 Beer (or your favorite beer)
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (I was crafty... I forgot my hot sauce so I used 1/4 cup hot cherry pepper pickling juice + 1 tsp cayenne pepper)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard OR mustard powder (I used the latter)

-Over medium high heat, cook the onions and garlic in the olive oil until fragrant. Add the beer, seasonings, and hot sauce and heat until simmering.

-Add the cheese and stir constantly until combined and cheese is melted.

-Add the flour and butter and whisk vigorously until thick.

Bacon Gorgonzola Flatbread
  • 1 prepared pizza dough crust (I got Pillsbury gluten free)
  • 3 tbs butter, melted+ 2 cloves garlic combined
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles
  • 2 canned pear halves, sliced

-Prepare dough according to directions (or make your favorite homemade) and stretch thin onto a well oiled cookie sheet. Cook until just barely browned, let cool slightly.

-Brush garlic butter over the flatbread and add remaining toppings. Return to the oven (at about 350) until cheese is just beginning to melt into the bread and the crust is fully cooked.

Basic Beer Bread
(Adapted from this recipe)
  • 1 bottle North Pacific Lager
  • 3 cups self-rising flour (or flour + 3 tsp baking powder + 1 tsp salt)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (I used a dribble of sesame oil because I ran out of butter)

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

-Mix together sugar and self rising flour. Add beer and stir until just moist. Spoon into a well oiled bread pan and pour melted butter or oil over the top.

-Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


  1. This looks like a fun event! I have no idea if Michigan is a state where you can get beer in the mail... I've never actually tried (which is a shock to me, considering my go-to party store has been out of my favorite beer for MONTHS). Not sure what makes someone a Millennial, but I think we're the same age -- definitely wanting to get involved in other events like this! Send me some info :)

    1. Hehe Millennial is the 19-35 age range, so if you're my age then you're all set! I'm pretty sure I already added you to my list ;) I'll double check, but you'll probably get an email in the next day or two inviting you to join the community!

  2. Oh wow, the Beer Fondue looks perfect! Definitely adding it to my list of things to make soon. For football Sunday, perhaps...or for dinner tomorrow? Who knows?! It's happening, though, rest assured!