Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat: Making Miller Chill look good
Leinenkugel is brought to you by the same people that make Miller Chill. If that's not enough to scare you off, let me continue.
I've had a Leinkugel or two in the past. I never really thought all that much about them. The overall impression was that they are nothing special, but nothing offensive either. Just standard, macro-type American beers masquerading under an un-American name. I was all right with them, but they were never something I'd seek out. Sunset Wheat is an abomination that should be avoided.
Like its sister, Chill, Sunny can only be called a beer in the loosest sense of the term. This is another adult-type beverage -- a mere 4.9% alcohol keeping it from the juice box shelf -- for people who do not like beer. Miller apparently has gotten wind of potential customers going on about all manner of flavors found in decent beer and decided they could chuck some random tastes in their own swill to add a bit of interest. Presumably, that would make people think these rubbish beers were special, too.
This beer is special, all right. Especially bad. I would call it more curious than interesting. Cauliflower flavored bubble gum kind of curious.
I hate Miller Chill, but Sunset Wheat has managed to be worse. This so-called "Sunset in a Bottle" is better described as "Sunkist in a Bottle." More like orange juice with a few drops of light beer swirled in than any actual wheat beer deserving of the title.
It does manage to look the part. Sunny is cloudy. Don't worry, it's supposed to be in this case. Wheat beers are often citrus flavored and hazy from the yeast floating in them. I'm doubtful that it's the yeast producing these effects in this beer, though. Somehow, no sediment ever seems to settle on the bottom. Not even the tiniest clump is to be found floating in the glass. Maybe they strain it for squeamish Americans, but it is odd. Then the plummet into horrible beer status begins.
There's a touch of coriander, but the strongest scent in the mild aroma is orange citrus. The smell is unique but doesn't quite ruin the promise of this beer. The spice is nearly obliterated by the citrus in the taste, though. There's quite a bit of carbonation lending it a tingle, but it mostly lacks any bite from the hops. The finish is dry, so there may in fact be some actual beer ingredients in there somewhere. It goes down smooth in a watered down orange juice sort of way. You really have to remind yourself that it is a beer. The flavor could probably be approximated by topping off a glass that has two swigs of Miller Lite left with some orange soda.
What would you eat with this beer? If you're fool enough to drink it in the first place, I doubt it would matter much to you. Fritos, and the bag they came in? A pile of dirt? If the taste of Sunset Wheat doesn't offend you, you're not going to be too discerning about your food or what you pair it with. Enjoy it with whatever you can rummage out of the trash.
Sunset Wheat has turned me against the whole Miller line of Leinenkugels. I would opt for anything else in the cooler rather than reach for any of these products again. That might be unfair because the other Leinies are only unremarkable at worst, but the Sunset is THAT bad. A dire beverage for, and from, those that really don't care, but might like to pretend that they do. This is the one beer I highly recommend plopping an orange slice on top of. Go ahead, it couldn't hurt.