Monday, July 14, 2008

Cryin' in my beer

Everyone seems to be up in arms over the purchase of Budweiser by Stella Artois. Leaving aside the obvious comments about most American lagers and water....

When I lived in England and learned what beers actually taste like. We used to be able to get really, rily good Budvar. Budvar is what Budweiser was meant to be. In fact, if I remember correctly the family that founded Budweiser here in the states came from the Budvar brewery.

Now, after tasting real beer (Ales, Bitters and Lagers) I came back to the states 3 years later and couldn't stand the usual suspects of bar beers. Call me a beer snob, a hops elitist, I don't care. The ice water that we Americans have been forced to drink and settle for has left us missing whole universes of flavor that beers can have. The hoppiness of some, the subtle fruits of the summer brews, the heady-ness of winters. Most people just don't get it. I'd venture that 90% of all beer drinkers are drinking it to get drunk. Drinking a beer should be about the flavor, not the buzz. If you want to get drunk, drink vodka. There's no flavor and it works faster. Drinks, and food for that matter, should be about the flavors and aromas and the experience. Not some mad rush to sate a primal instinct. But I digress.

So, I've been driven to seeking out the local micro-brews where ever I go. I, because of my job (duh), travel a lot. And when I get the chance, I'll ask the bartender, wait staff, cook, who ever what they have on tap that's local. I haven't been (seriously) disappointed yet. From Moose Drool up in the Northwest, to Boulevard in Kansas, Shiner down in Texas, a blueberry beer up in Maine, and some great spicy's down in Florida. They're out there.

On a side note, when I ask the "What's local on tap" question and the response starts with Bud, or Coors or any of the myriad big names, I know that they've grown up in the era of beer desert.

It used to be, a hundred years ago, you drank what the pub house or inn brewed. But the era of mass transit made breweries send their beer all over the place. The problem with that is all the stabilizers and preservatives that they needed to add to make the beer last the trip have killed art and localness of brewing beers.

Beers really don't last all that long after they leave the brewery without massive amounts of chemical preservatives. And even less time after the kegs been tapped. The oxygen... well, oxidizes.

Don't get my wrong, one of the best beers I've ever had was at the tasting room at the Coors plant in Colorado. Of course that stuff was fresh and without the preservatives.

I think I've ranted enough for tonight. Beer drinkers of America unite, you have nothing to lose but your bland beer. And that's a good thing.


Home on the Range said...

I spent about six months in England for work, and grew to love the Pub brew.

I'll always love Guinness. Some of the best bears aren't well known. There's a great little porter called Edmund Fitzgerald which you can find up in the Great Lakes areas.

But I can't find it this far Southeast.

aepilot_jim said...

I'll have to look for Edmund Fitzgerald next time I'm up that way. I'm going to Lafayette LA tomorrow, I'm going to hunt for a good six pack I can bring home.

NotClauswitz said...

Love the PBY header. I lived in Vienna for about a year in college and Pilsner Urquell was fresh at the Franziskannerstuben - and had an amazing caramel aftertaste. All the local stuff was good too. Visiting my uncle in England we traveled up to Wales and had fresh Guinness. Yum!