Despite writing about craft beer and enjoying local microbrews almost exclusively, I make space to drink mass-produced macros. Sometimes I’ll have a Modelo or Victoria (which is owned by Grupo Modelo) with my tacos. At a party? Pass me a Pacifico. I dig a classic bottle of Coors Banquet, too.
So, with the arrival of Budweiser’s Discovery Reserve, launched in April to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the moon landing, I figured it was a good time to check in with AB-InBev. Could the newest Budweiser offering, which uses the recipe of a beer brewed during the late 1960s, make this Houstonian feel a sense of national historical pride?
I like that Budweiser is highlighting a malt-forward recipe from the archives—this is a relatively light red lager at 5 percent ABV, perfect for warm summer days. The name Discovery Reserve is cool, and the label design—using a font that sends me back to the Mad Men ’60s, plus surrounding the classic Anheuser Busch eagle logo with 11 stars (for Apollo 11)—is a pretty touch. All of that works.
As for the beer, it exceeded my expectations, especially with repeated sips. At first I tasted a weak lager with little nuance, but the flavors imparted as I continued. A hint of buttery cracker and sweet, roasted malt came through, probably the Idaho barley grain Voyager, which is proprietary to AB-InBev. There was no real hop profile, however, making this about a two-note tasting experience, but for an easy-drinking summer beer with a small backbone, it’s pretty acceptable.
While I'm not necessarily rushing out to buy more Budweiser Discovery Reserve, it’s one of the better macro offerings I’ve had in some time. If I was at a party, maybe one to celebrate America’s conquest of the heavens … I might just crack one open.
Explanation of ratings: 9.5-10: as good as the best beer in America; 9-9.4: the best beer in Houston; 8-8.9: among the better beers in Houston; 7-7.9: really good beer; 6-6.9: try this beer at least once; 5-5.9: if you’re stuck, this won’t hurt; 3-4.9: among the lowest-quality beers in Houston; 0-2.9: as bad as the worst beer in America.
Meanwhile, if you're looking for a local craft beer to celebrate the lunar landing, Houston has no shortage of space-themed brews. Here are some of our picks:
- Stars at Night, Coffee Porter: Platypus Brewing: This coffee-themed porter combines Catalina Coffee’s popular cold brew with chocolate malt-flavored goodness.
- Rocket Fuel, Vietnamese Coffee Porter: 8th Wonder Brewery: For this coffee porter with a local twist, 8th Wonder’s collaborated with Greenway Coffee Co. The result is a malty, bold beer with sweetness to contrast.
- Brohemian Moonlight, Coffee Pilsner: Holler Brewing Co.: This fun combination plays on notes of vanilla and coffee for a crisp finish.
- Space Train IPA: Eureka Heights Brewing Co.: Eureka’s Space Train is a bitter, fruity IPA that’s guaranteed to blast you into space on a train (no explanation needed).
- Defying Gravity, Double IPA: Bakfish Brewing Co.: The grapefruit and nut aromas in this double IPA will make you sing this popular Broadway tune, as the name indicates.
- Stargazer: Snickers, Pastry Stout: B-52 Brewing Co.: Have you ever craved a candy bar in liquid form? You’re in luck with this popular pastry stout from this Conroe producer.
- Space 2019, Double IPA: Ingenious Brewing Co.: Blueberries and papaya combine for an epic take on a double IPA at the Humble brewery.
- Moonbow: True Anomaly Brewing Co.: The EaDo brewery applies wild yeast to this moderately hoppy beer for a funky finish. Bonus: True Anomaly's co-founders all met and worked at NASA.
- Darkness Falls: Astral Brewing: Another dark coffee beer with chocolate notes. Not too heavy. Also, the name of the brewery is Astral, and its logo is of an astronaut. Say no more.