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    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    I'm A Better Beer Snob Than You Comment
    Gregory Morris, 3/1/09 1:16:15 pm
    A friend of mine and fellow beer connoisseur just send me a link to a trailer for the movie "Beer Wars".

    The concept of the movie looks cool, after all, I am a big fan of good beer. I'll admit that I like talking about beer almost as much as I like drinking it. However, I have to disagree with one of the premises that seems central, at least to the trailer if not the entire movie.

    I don't blame Budweiser, Coors, and Miller for the (previous) lack of "good" beer in this country. They aren't evil because they are big corporations. That faulty meme is getting tired folks. Really tired.

    These companies simply sell a product that Americans want. If anything, that is an indictment of the American taste-bud. That being said, I think the idea that quality microbrew beer is part of an ongoing revolution, likewise, is more than a few years old. Sure, there is innovation, and a continual expansion of choices, but let's be honest: Good beer is here, and has been for years. The local Total Wine has a wall of beer that stretches on for a mile.

    Most of that mile is made up of snotty, indistinct beers with labels that read, "This beer is awesome because we use a pound Yakima Magnum per five gallon batch, then age the beer in oak kegs even though nobody here really knows what that does, but it has to be awesome because it is expensive. Then we dry-hop our beer with Saaz because if you have a refined enough palate, you'll be able to pick out that subtle touch from the tongue-burning bitterness caused by the aforementioned pound of Yakima. If you can't then clearly you aren't awesome enough to drink our beer, and you probably also don't have your collar popped."

    People who drink those beers probably also buy H&K firearms. Just saying.

    More important than the overall "quality" of the beers available is the huge variety we have to choose from. Sure, there are some sad places like WV which make obtaining quality beer difficult (although good people are working on fixing that), but the micro-brewery "revolution" is over. Americans have decided that they want more than three brands to choose from, and that flavor is more important than "drinkability" (regardless of what drone marketeers say.) The fact that people keep buying Megaswill doesn't change the fact that the market has shifted rather sharply.

    A movie about the state of beer in America really ought to be framed as a documentary detailing how we got here. There were (and still are) many kitchen-counter pioneers, and savvy beer-entrepreneurs who played key roles in exposing this nation to the joy of well-designed fermented barley libations. Bashing BudMilCoors because they brew tasteless beer is just elitist and snobby. I prefer praising the individuals who made the revolution possible in the first place. Where would the world be without people like Charlie Papazian and the late, great Michael Jackson?

    I've kinda gotten over beer snobbery based on its hop content, whether or not it is brewed to Reinheitsgebot standards, and other ridiculous benchmarks. There are times when a six-pack of Old Milwaukee is simply better than an over-priced, over-hopped craft brew. Hell, Stoneys was about the cheapest beer available back in "the day" (read: when I was in college.) At the time, it was by far the best beers available, and it wasn't over-hopped. It was also $3.69 for a six-pack of bottles. You can't beat that will all the Ommegang in the world.

    Sure, pricey imports are good from time to time and specialty/novelty beers are just fine in moderation. But the fact is, variety is what's important. Businesses competing over a growing niche market is good for consumers, whether Anheuser Busch tries to muscle their way into the game or not. Oh, and they are in the game. AB is making a new line of quality beers that can't be discounted just because they are brewed by the same people who use substitute rice for barley in their most popular concoctions.

    So beer snobs can kiss off. Based on the trailer, this movie looks like it is going to be framed in the context of phony class warfare and "fighting the man". Beer is good. People who make beer are our friends.

    Now relax, drink a beer, and stop worrying about it so much!

    [Comments are closed after a month.]

    Re: I\'m A Better Beer Snob Than You
    Ezikiel Gibraltar, 3/1/09 4:03:38 pm
    i suppose my problem with budmillercoors is that they were founded on and continue to operate on lies and subversive business schemes.
    Re: I\'m A Better Beer Snob Than You
    Gregory Morris, 3/1/09 5:57:04 pm
    I agree that what they do to shut down the market in states like wv is anti-competitive, and the fact that the major companies are basically working in conjunction to keep a tri-opoly is bad. Not sure i'd call them subversive... And they weren't founded on lies either. In fact, the major brewers sprang forth from the lousy post-prohibition era when nobody really knew how to make good beer anyway. Budweiser actually survived prohibition. If anything is to blame for the power of mega swilleries, it is prohibition.
    Re: I\'m A Better Beer Snob Than You
    Denis, 3/2/09 6:46:02 am
    My issue with the Budweisers of the world is based purely on taste. When I taste one of them, I don't feel fulfilled. They don't have the same bite as the imports, or even american microbrews. On a hot day, in a pinch, I'll drink a Miller Lite. Other than that, I'm a beer snob purely for the taste of it.
    Re: I\'m A Better Beer Snob Than You
    ExurbanKevin, 3/2/09 11:48:03 am
    I blame Prohibition. Good, full-bodied, rich-tasting beers were the norm before everything got watered down to keep it legal.

    I think back to a job I worked about 20 years ago. I spent three hours on the white roof of the Phoenix Convention Center on an August afternoon, setting up lights for a sunset photo shoot. The photographer brought beer for after the shoot,

    Michelob Ultra.

    Maybe the least-flavourful, watered-down beer on the market at time. Did I drink it? Yes. Did it taste REAL good (at the time) Yep. And was I thankful that he brought it? Oh yeah.

    Now, did I wish it was something better? Yep. But I always say, never look a gift beer in the mouth.
    Re: I\'m A Better Beer Snob Than You
    McThag, 3/3/09 7:52:29 pm
    I can recall being in a brewery restaurant and being asked my by buddy, "Isn't that the best beer?" My reply was, "Dude, it tastes like paint thinner, maybe lacquer."

    I started drinking beer (or should I say bier?) while in Germany in the Army. I liked that beer. I want that beer here. Heiniken is not it. Skunky is not good beer.

    I've kinda settled on Bass Ale, Sam Adams, Killian's and Guiness in the normal rotation.

    ABC carries a German beer called Hansa in pint bottles. I kinda fancy that.
    Re: I\'m A Better Beer Snob Than You
    Nick, 3/5/09 9:15:06 am
    I agree! Why be a beer snob when wine is a superior beverage anyway? It's like being a Yugo snob as if it were the only car available (unless you lived in Yugoslavia under market socialism and then it really was the only car available). But seriously, it is a finer beverage.

    Also, when it comes down to it, some beer tastes bad and some good to each person. It's like bad music. I personally hate club/dance hall techno music. But if it's what you're in the mood for, who am I to criticise someone for enjoying some dancing to brain-numbing music? Go for it, man! Who am I to criticise someone for drinking beer that they happen to like (regardless of my personal feelings for their choice in beverage), even if it's Natural Light?
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