It’s a mixed bag.

By Austin Cannon
November 02, 2020
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Credit: Busch Beer

We were greeted with excellent news on the day Daily Paws launched: On National Dog Day. Busch Beer released a special Dog Brew to offer to your best friend while you crack open a cold one of your own. 

Naturally, we had to try it for ourselves.

The four cans of Busch’s Dog Brew arrived about six weeks later. It is in no way beer— never, ever give your dog human beer. Instead, it’s made with bone-in pork butt, whole corn, celery, basil, mint, turmeric, ginger, and water. Yum?

Busch recommends pouring it in your dog’s bowl by itself or over your pup’s dry food. It will even last for five days after opening if you throw it into the refrigerator. You can either serve it cold or at room temperature, whichever your dog prefers.

Print on the can reads “intended for dogs only,” but Busch also says humans can drink it “if that’s what you’re into!” Reader, that’s exactly what we’re into. 

So we had four dogs and one human try the Dog Brew. But don’t just take our word for it. Busch has sold out of its first batch, though you can get on the waiting list for the next one here.

Here’s what our panel thought: 

Callie

Credit: Hannah Bruneman

Breed: Golden retriever 

Age: 2

Verdict: No thanks

Our first tester, Callie from the Chicago suburbs, didn’t really know what to make of Dog Brew. She was interested when her dad presented it and opened the can with a very beer-like crack and fizz. 

But when he poured it into a bowl, she sniffed the liquid a couple times and then only took a couple sips. She then stepped back from the bowl politely as if to say, “Not really my thing.” 

Despite her enjoyment of meat and meat-flavored treats, “this did not get the Callie seal of approval,” her dad, Bill Bruneman, writes in an email. 

She exhibited no adverse effects of drinking the Dog Brew, but she also didn’t try much of it.  

Rudy

Credit: April Saylor

Breed: Bluetick coonhound

Age: 3(ish)

Verdict: Not impressed, despite usually having a garbage-disposal disposition

Rudy seemed like a slam dunk here. Our guy eats roadkill, garbage, dirt, and “many, many poops,” Daily Paws Deputy Editor (and Rudy’s mom) April Saylor says. 

“I really thought this little piglet would gobble up the pork broth,” she adds. “I was wrong. It took three tries and a different bowl before he’d even sniff the stuff, and even then he took a few laps and walked off.”

His staggering indifference easily surpasses Callie, who was at least attentive at first. 

Is it possible that Rudy’s palate has passed the point of no return? Is it only kibble, poop, garbage, and stolen roast beef sandwiches from here on out? Another theory: The only other thing he doesn’t like is lettuce, so maybe the pork broth was too bland and our little guy needs more flavor. 

Daisy

Credit: April Saylor

Breed: Redtick coonhound

Age: 5(ish)

Verdict: Yummy 

Surprisingly, it was Daisy, Saylor’s elder dog and a pickier eater, who delighted in the Dog Brew. The new substance in what’s usually her food bowl got her attention and it was soon on. 

“Once she tried it, she was like Frank the Tank and ready to go all out in the Busch bowl,” Saylor says.

Big fan! Way to go, Busch! Daisy even pawed at the bowl for more, and her mom obliged. (Daisy sometimes has a hard time quelling her impulses, as sometimes shown by her penchant for stealing holiday baked goods.)

The only aftereffect Saylor noticed was that Daisy was a little more restless in her sleep, but she figures “she had the spins from drinking so much.”

Pip

Credit: Karman Hotchkiss

Breed: Lab/terrier mix

Age: 8(ish)

Verdict: Tasty, just needed an appetizer first

Pip, belonging to Daily Paws Editorial Director Karman Hotchkiss, needed to cleanse her palate before her Dog Brew baptism, requiring one of her parents to toss down a treat before partaking. 

After that, she spent a tidy 10 seconds lapping it up from her bowl before stopping for a break. A little later, she returned to her bowl for some more continuous lapping. Pippy is smart: Always drink in moderation, and take breaks. Your body will thank you in the morning. 

As for any dog brew side effects, It’s hard to tell, Hotchkiss says. Pip’s pretty flatulent most of the time. 

Austin

Breed: Human

Age: 26

Verdict: Didn’t make me throw up or anything! 

The Dog Brew is designed for dogs, so I didn’t expect it to taste good. I was right. 

In terms of smell, it’s definitely a bone broth. A deep inhale yields some even zesty notes. It smells a little bit like your parents are cooking some kind of salted pork dish in the kitchen. 

The taste, however, betrays the smell. It’s watery, kind of bland. It tastes like, well, broth. It might very well work out OK if you use it to make some kind of soup. Maybe you could sub it in for chicken broth in this pork chop soup. Or in this Irish pork stew. (Please verify with our friends at All Recipes before you venture down that route.) 

The mouthfeel was lackluster. Nothing really interesting there, just a mouthful of broth. At least there was no oaky afterbirth.

For me, a few drops of sriracha improves the taste, finally giving it that zestiness the initial smell promises. Why did I do this? I do not know. 

Post-drink, there was no vomiting or extreme flatulence or anything out of the ordinary. My breath, however, was described as “pungent.”

Anyway, there’s a reason humans have real beer. Drink that instead. But, again, never ever ever give real beer to your dog.