You guys do know that Grain Belt is “Premium.” It says right on the label.
Last summer during a fishing trip to Minnesota, I’d had my fill of Miller Lite and Busch Light. My taste buds were dead.
Then, I think after a round of golf, we stopped at the liquor store. There it was, yelling to me, “You know you want me, big boy. Let’s make this happen.”
So, I bought a case of Grain Belt. I told those guys, forget what you’ve heard. This stuff is good now, new brewery, back to the great tradition of the “Belt.”
They didn’t jump in until the last Busch Light was dead. When they finally did, the Belt lasted about 20 minutes.
Here’s a little history, from the Grain Belt site, on the why and what of “Premium:”
“When the war ended and servicemen came marching home, there was a new post-war optimism and Minneapolis Brewing Company, along with the rest of the industry, came back in full force. Tastes were changing, however. As home consumption of beer continued to increase, the preference of the American beer drinker was gearing more toward a lighter, smoother brew. In response, Grain Belt Premium was introduced in 1947 on a test-market basis.
Premium came in clear bottles, instead of amber, to show its pure, golden goodness, and in cap-sealed cans. It was priced a little higher than Golden Grain Belt but consumers found it well worth the price. While the industry fell into somewhat of a slump in the 1950s, Minneapolis Brewing Company continued to grow, thanks in large part to the introduction of Premium, which soon became a permanent fixture of the Grain Belt line.”
There you have it on the clear bottles. And the “pure, golden goodness.”
Grain Belt’s dark ages began in the ’70s.
G. Heileman Brewing Company of LaCrosse, Wis., bought it and nearly ran the brand into the ground. It was saved in 1991, when the Minnesota Brewing Company bough the brand and revived it.
The MBC struggled financially and then, in 2002, the August Schell Brewing Company of New Ulm stepped in with the idea of preserving its Minnesota “essence.”
Premium’s success has allowed Schell to expand. You see a lot of Schell products in the area.
I used to see Belt Premium at Benz, but I haven’t seen it since the flood. There are distributors in Calmar, Coralville and Waterloo. You might have to look around, but you’ll find it.
On Beeradvocate, the Belt gets a B-minus on 100 reviews.
But there is this from LordofTime25: “I would drink this often. One of the beers I keep on hand. Found that women who like a casual beer like this.”
Hey, ladies . . .
I bought four new beers this week.
Boulevard’s Saison (A-minus on 65 reviews at BA)
Chimay’s Grande Reserve (A on 1,069 reviews)
Hennepin (A-minus on 1,051)
Schlitz (B-plus on just 13 reviews)
I’m going to hit the Chimay tonight and I’ll let you know. I’ll probably give Schlitz a try, too. You guys talked me into it. I found it for about $6.50 a six at Benz.