Friday, November 12, 2010

Fizzy yellow beer

In general, craft beer drinkers are snobs.  Yes, I resemble that remark.  And, you might say I am a bit of a hypocrite since I do drink fizzy yellow macro-brews from time to time even though I make fun of BMC (Bud / Miller / Coors).  I have been known to have a Coors Light while sitting watching a game at Coors field.  I drank Miller Lite in Miller Field.  I had various Anheuser Busch beers in Busch stadium.  I've grabbed a Budweiser American Ale while watching the Avalanche in the Pepsi Center (can't bring myself to drink a Pepsi at a sporting event).  I've even tried the absolutely awful "low carb" beers like Michelob Ultra, or MGD 64.  When at a party or someone's house or a restaurant where my adult beverage choices are BMC beers or wine (or mixed drinks or shots), I will choose the beer.  Luckily it is less and less common to be limited by lack of choice, but if I "have" to, I will "lower" my beer standards to BMC beers.  When my wife's family visits, I will even let her stock Coors Light at our house (although I WILL complain about it).

Great, now I'm going be ostracized by any craft beer drinkers who read this blog.  Luckily, the only person who reads this is my sister and she is not a craft beer fan at all.

The BMC breweries are not bad at brewing beer (oooo... if I wasn't going to be ostracized before, now I sure am).  As a matter of fact, they consistently make exactly the beer they want to make.  Their quality control processes are second to none.  Every American Light Lager they make is exactly perfectly matched to every other of the same type of beer they make.  If you like Bud Light, you will never get a "bad" Bud Light.  I have, however, had bad craft beers.  And, quite frankly, really light colored / light flavored beers like Bud / Miller / Coors light and especially those absolutely awful "low carb" beers are difficult to make.  Since there is so little flavor in the beer itself, there is literally no place for little nasty flaws to hide.  Trust me, every home brewer knows you don't even try to brew a subtly flavored beer unless you have your brewing processes nailed down perfectly.  A nice flavorful full bodied stout, on the other hand, will cover up an awful lot of issues.

I actually believe that the problem craft beer geeks (including myself) have with BMC is mostly in their heads.  Well, the biggest problem is that BMC corporations tend to brew flavorless, colorless, boring beers such as American light lagers, and those absolutely awful "low carb" beers.  But the big corporations have noticed the trend toward more flavorful, interesting beers and have recently been adding to their lineup.  And, obviously, someone out there likes the light lagers because BMC sell a bunch of them.

Now, there are beer-snobs who look down on some of the larger craft breweries.  I had an online argument with a guy who claimed New Belgium was no longer a craft brewery because they have "sold out" and basically are too big (and successful).  "New belgium is way to big to be called a 'craft brewery' anymore in my opinion. When you are in every Safeway on the planet, you are macro. Period."  This, of course, is ridiculous.  For one thing New Belgium is only distributed to about half the states in the country.  Plus, if you want an interesting beer, go out and get any of the NB "lips of faith" series of beers (if you can find them). 

And, of course, I occasionally hear beer geeks bashing some of the "gateway beers".  Most brew-pubs have at least one beer they brew that they use to "hook" the BMC drinker.  It is lighter in color and lightly hopped, but still has a decent body and flavor.  Those are called "gateway beers" (or at least that is what I call them).  Most experienced craft beer drinkers will mostly stay away from those.  For the most part, I will too.  Although, I will have a taste (or two or three) of my wife's.  Some beer drinkers will snicker at and make fun of those who order the "gateway beers".

I wonder if eventually the "average" craft beer will be ridiculed the same way BMC light lagers are today.  There are so many completely wild styles, and experimentation goes on all the time.  It is almost ridiculous how hoppy (and bitter) you can get a double IPA now-a-days.  You have sour beers and spice beers and just wonderfully intense beers out there.  Hard-core craft beer drinkers are always looking for unique things.  And the difference between something like my Phat & Tyred and some of these radical tasting beers is a greater difference than the difference between my Wetta's Blonde and an American light lager.  Someday, are people going to be lumping my Buckwheat's BPA in with bud light or (Ninkasi forbid) MGD 64? 

Quite frankly, who cares?  Drink what you like.  Don't let me or beer bloggers or Anheuser Busch brewing company tell you what you should and shouldn't drink.  Find what you like and drink it.


Speaking of intense flavors in a beer, I went out to Wynkoop Brewery last night with a couple of friends from high school.  One was from out of town, and the flight was a bit late, so I waited at the upstairs bar waiting for them for quite awhile.  While waiting, I had a Patty's Chile Beer .  Last time I had this beer, was right before the GABF.  Last night, this chile beer was actually spicy hot.  I don't remember that being the case before.  The bar tender agreed that this batch was particularly strong.  He didn't know why.

Today, I noticed on Facebook that the Dry Dock Brewing Company's Friday firkin tonight was a
Green Chili Double IPA.  I have to wonder what kind of person would say to themselves ... "hmmm... I wonder what a Double IPA with Green Chilies would taste like.  I know ... I'll make it and see what my customers think about it."  I really should have gone to the tasting room after work instead of heading home.  Chances are, I will not get a ton more opportunities to try a Green Chili Double IPA.

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