They were certainly designed to be different, but I was curious to see how much.
The beers were visually pretty close, but the Jethro Bud were just a shade lighter in color and were both clearer.
Mr. Awesome had more hop character and maybe just a little more malt richness as well. I actually thought both of my beers were cleaner in the yeast / fermentation character than the commercial beer.
None of that is a surprise. If I were to describe differences based on how I designed the beers, I would said the exact same things.
Good to know, the beers turned out as designed.
Just for the fun of it, I did a little triangle test between Jethro Bud and Outlaw. I easily picked the odd-beer out based on the cleaner yeast character of the homebrew (which is sort of interesting).
Then I did another triangle test between Mr. Awesome and New Belgium's Mountain Time. Mountain Time is sort of what inspired me to start making Merican lagers, and the hops of Mr. Awesome were picked based on New Belgium's web page on Mountain Time.
I was still able to fairly easily pick out the odd beer, but I think it was a little closer than the Jethro Bud / Outlaw comparison.
I am really pleased with how close clarity is on both these beers compared to the commercial samples.
Nothing earth shattering or even surprising ... but it is nice to know these beers meet my expectations when compared side-by-side.
I think my keg of Jethro Bud Nelson Merican Lite Lager is almost gone. I need the keg for beers I've brewed recently, so that is good.