Baltimore Sun reporters Sameer Rao and Christine Zhang taste five different beers at DuClaw Brewing Company including their new beer, Regular Beer.
When we first encountered DuClaw Brewing Company’s “Regular Beer,” we did a bit of a double-take. The recently-released American craft lager is stylistically similar to Budweiser, with just the sort of sardonic slogan that wouldn’t be out of place in one of Bud’s ads: “a beer that tastes like beer.”
Isn’t this the same DuClaw that brought us “Sour Me Unicorn Farts” for Annapolis Pride Month in June, a sparkly sour ale made with edible glitter and Fruity Pebbles? The same Rosedale-based craft brewery that made headlines a few years back for “Sweet Baby Jesus!”, a chocolate peanut butter porter that was pulled from the shelves of an Ohio grocery chain over its name?
Then again, in a post-“glitter beer” world, maybe “normal” is the new cool. According to head brewer Brandon Stanko, the idea of “Regular Beer” came about after a DuClaw sales rep was repeatedly asked at festivals, “Do you have any regular beer?”
Why not give the people what they want, they figured — and show off some brewing chops at the same time?
“We do a lot of fruit-forward, crazy, off-the-wall kind of things,” Stanko said. “But once we get back down to basics, we just want to show you that we can brew classic styles.”
DuClaw releases new cans every eight weeks as a rotating series of IPAs and sours, along with seasonal offerings. In the most recent lineup: “Citra Snuggy,” named for one of Stanko’s favorite hops; “My, My, My Key Lime Pie,” a tart IPA that “blurs the line between sours and IPAs”; “Purple Passion,” a passionfruit and blackberry Gose [a type of beer] to celebrate the upcoming Ravens season; and “Sour Me: Peach Sherbet,” a sour ale brewed with lactose and “a ton of peaches.”
Here’s our take on DuClaw’s latest brews.
Regular Beer (year-round)
CZ: I wasn’t sure what “tastes like beer” was supposed to mean (if you ask my dad, “beer taste means bitterness” — wrong, at least in terms of this beer), so I was a bit skeptical. But the first sip won me over. It was clean and crisp, with a surprisingly flavorful aftertaste. I’d take this over Budweiser (or Boh!) any day.
SR: Definitely. My favorite beers tend to be ones that pack a lot of flavor without being overwhelming. My family’s from India, and a lot of Indian beers have this kind of taste, where you can enjoy the beer with really spicy and flavorful foods without defaulting to something watered down. I’d recommend this to anybody in my family, as well as people who want a beer for various occasions.
Citra Snuggy (limited release)
CZ: I would seriously consider keeping those Citra hops as perfume or potpourri; they smell so good! I also can’t believe how smoothly this pretty alcoholic beer went down; if I didn’t have to drive after the tasting, I would have had another sip … or three. The ultimate Netflix and chill beer.
SR: I’m glad I smelled the beer before drinking it, like someone might drink wine. Getting that smell of the Citra hops from the pour, even before smelling the hops alone, definitely helped carry the flavor throughout that sip. I’d normally avoid beers this alcoholic, because come on, I got things to do that require me being sober (like writing these impressions). But this beer is definitely an exception to that rule.
CZ: I’m not a fan of key lime pie in real life; it fared slightly better with me in liquid form. I appreciated the layered flavors, especially the coconut, which left a nice aftertaste, but ultimately it’s not the best beer for me.
SR: The lime taste is so immediately dominant and refreshing, but it doesn’t wash out the notes of graham cracker or pie crust that the name invokes. IPAs named after desserts typically leave my mouth feeling submerged by sugar, but this was probably my favorite of the five beers we tasted. A worthy substitute for Bud Light Lime.
Purple Passion (seasonal)
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CZ: Good color, like a rosé wine, and even better taste. I love blackberries, and I could definitely smell and taste them, along with a hint of sea salt. Altogether a well-balanced tart flavor. A beer that wine or cocktail drinkers could enjoy.
SR: Absolutely. I’d additionally recommend this for people who like cider or mead, because it goes down smooth and doesn’t taste as sweet as it looks. Maybe not the best beer to nervously inhale while watching the Ravens at fifth and goal, but certainly one to confidently sip in the company of Ravens players. Unrelated, but Lamar Jackson: hit me up, I have a video idea.
Sour Me: Peach Sherbet (limited release)
CZ: My first peach-flavored beer, and my favorite of the bunch. Like a peach candy, but it’s a lot more refreshing and made with real fruit so it makes you feel healthy. In the running to replace Wet City’s “Laced with Strawberries” as my go-to fruity beer with a kick.
SR: Smelling the beer before tasting it, à la Citra Snuggy, certainly helped the experience of drinking this. I found it so refreshing, I finished the sample in one sip. If only drinking beer with real peaches had the same health benefits as eating peaches…