A writer for Drunkspin, a booze blog on Deadspin.com, has declared Bell’s Oberon to be “America’s Most Overrated Beer.”
The seasonal wheat beer is celebrated each March in Michigan and throughout the Midwest, and is considered the beer-lover’s first sign of spring.
“It’s release date is the single biggest sales push we see for any one item in our industry,” Rick Lack told The Detroit News in March. He’s the executive vice president of Rave Associates which distributes Bell’s products across southeastern Michigan.
Beer writer Will Gordon of Deadspin doesn’t understand why that’s true. He writes that “it’s strange that so many otherwise reasonable Midwesterners go bonkers from Oberon Ale, Bell’s thoroughly ordinary seasonal wheat.”
Gordon, who is from Cambridge, Mass., calls Oberon “just some beer” and wonders why it gets such high scores on beer-rating sites like RateBeer and Untappd. He does admit, though, that he chooses to air his thoughts about Oberon to get attention.
“The reason I call it ‘overrated’ is because that’s a good clickbait headline word, and also because it’s true,” he wrote.
Gordon may have had preconceived notions about Oberon, which which brews more than 300,000 barrels a year and is distributed in about 20 states. Last summer he published a list of 18 beers he felt were overrated. He didn’t include Oberon but he couldn’t help making a note of it.
“I’ve never had Bell’s Oberon, but every fiber of my soggy being is certain that it belongs on this list,” he wrote in July. “There is just no way it’s as good as millions of Midwestern wackos insist.”
Roy More, owner of Ashley’s in Westland and Ann Arbor said “This happens among the beer snobs. They judge the flavor preferences of others against their own.” More says his Ann Arbor Oberon release day was “packed,” as was the Oberon pub crawl the next day.
“It was so popular with bringing in folks from around the area that we’re looking to get the Ann Arbor Convention and Visitors Bureau involved due to the out of town guests,” More said.