It's not 'Stellar Artois'
Are you looking for a nice, tasty beer from a small country you’ve never been to? Something good on a hot day, that will quench the thirst and satisfy the palate as well? If so, you need to look past Stella Artois. Well, unless that small country bit is the overriding factor with you.
Coming from Belgium, home of some of the best beer in the world, a country that seems able to produce any variety and flavor of great beer there is at will, Stella is a disappointment. Unfortunately, many Americans’ only experience with a Belgian beer is likely to be this bog standard, but available version. Look harder. You’ll be rewarded.
Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with it. It’s okay.
It’s sort of the cut-rate version of all European pilsner-style lagers. Nothing fancy, except a pretty bottle and a fun-to-say name. No frills here. It’s now brewed by the powerhouse, Interbrew, home of Bass, Labatt, Boddington’s, Rolling Rock, among many others. It’s a little on the thin and light side, with an alcohol content around 5.2%. That nice bottle it comes in is the first problem, actually. Green glass tends to skunk things up quickly, so unless you grab one off the assembly line, yours will be. So if you must have one, find it on draft.
Just about everything about this beer screams “middle of the road.” An average body. It’s balanced. A little sweet initially then a little bitter at the finish. Ignore the first gasp of skunk, and you’ll smell and taste the same bland graininess. Just the typical clean, crisp lager with more than ample carbonation. It’s not bad on a warm day, or even a cold one. Throw a steak on the grill, and it’s perfectly suitable. It’s not bad at all. It’s just not good, let alone great.
Average is average. Stella Artois is a mass produced lager for the masses. It’s not special, it wants to be popular. Unfortunately, in America, the price is not average. It’s hard to justify paying more for a beer that is only a whisker better than its poorer American cousins. Belgians do beer. At least when they want to. They’re not even trying with this one, so I suggest trying something else. Leave this one on the shelf for the schmucks that like showing they can do fancy French pronunciations.