I love great beer and you all know -- sometimes love just hurts.
Let me explain by saying that absolutely NONE of the below would have
phased me fifteen years ago. But as one comes to appreciate all that's right with
beer comes some sort of reckoning with what's so terribly wrong.
If God ever tried a full bottle of Beatrix, I think He might find it in His heart to
right the following wrongs...
10. Airline beer
Gross. I almost never drink beer on a plane and yet I deeply love beer. Why is this?
I was told by a Frenchman here in America that for the first decade or so after
he and his wife arrived in the late '60s they suffered through terrible, near undrinkable
wine. Thirty years later, California is producing dozens of world class wines. I hope
that before I die, I'll be able to get Schlafly on an Amtrak trip, or Big Daddy IPA
from a flight attendant.
9. Cookie-cutter brew pub menus
You see it everywhere... Light lager, Pale Ale, Amber, Porter, Stout. It's the
consumer-friendly illusion of variety that provides confidence that quality is
intrinsic to selection. Sort of like going to a deli and they have 50 varieties
of the same two brands of crappy meats. McDonald's has about 45 items on it's
menu -- that's more than a lot of top ranked restaurants. We don't want Coke and Pepsi.
We want creativity and style.
8. Dark beer vs. light beer
"You don't like light lagers? So you like dark beers?" Not exactly. Yes, the world of
beer is gigantic and more varied than that of wine. RateBeer lists over 65 styles. You have
more choices than Coke, Pepsi, and 7-Up.
7. Guinness is a big strong heavy beer
It's not. At 4.1% ABV for our Guinness stout, it's weaker than a Budweiser. As far as body goes,
how many beers do you know of that can float on a Harp? The fact is that Guinness is a bantam
Yes, suburbia. Why? Because suburbia is the chief architected enemy to a rich life that includes
music, art, food and drink. In suburbia, you have to climb into a car to go anywhere fun. Absolutely nothing is local.
The worst part about this is that cars
are terribly dangerous (especially here in Texas, where the TTA informs me that Texans are the worst drivers
in the union.) How much more fun it is when you can walk down the street for food, art, music and
beer! Auto and oil companies have bought up and destroyed most American urban railways to ensure
that this experience is only for a small exclusive minority.
5. Brew pub samplers with totally inappropriate glassware
Samplers should present a beer's aroma -- a major factor in beer appreciation. Beer should
never be poured in a thimble or "mini-highball" and never to the rim. You can tell a brewer
who cares about his art when he serves his samples in snifters.
4. The term "Premium Import"
Not only does it suggest the useless statement that European swill is better than
American swill, but it also mistakes the greatness of world beers for a few cheap mass-produced
beers that are all the same style. And even worse than being poor representatives of great
beer-producing nations, these don't even stand up to the great craft ales and lagers of
America. Victory Prima Pils, Brooklyn Lager, Sierra Nevada, Kalamazoo's Oberon
could easily replace these brews here in America -- even for beer neophytes.
3. Crappy lagers with some of the best barbeque in the world
How terribly sad to see the best barbeque and grilled food in the world
often paired with cheap, thin lagers. I dream of the day
when I can introduce the multitudes to the beatific pairing of smoked beer and barbeque: Alaskan Smoked Porter, Aecht Schlenkerla, Stone Porter... --
Amazing! Even deep roasty stouts harmonizing with the light ash and smoke of
fire-cooked food can be amazing.
2. Insane beer laws
Let's stop this now. Governments that have laws that prohibit beers over a set ABV while still
selling wine and spirits are not stupid, they're evil.
In Texas there are dry counties. Only in America and the Middle East can religious
fundamentalists exert so much influence.
1. Great restaurants that serve BudMillerCoorsHeinekenBassBecks
What does it look like when a menu that has smoked pheasant,
goat cheese stuffed timbale and a roasted chilli mango artichoke couli
also serves Coors Light, Heineken and Budweiser?
That's like serving me a Ding-Dong for dessert and Folger's Crystals
for my coffee. Hell, crap beer is what McDonald's serves in Europe.
How is it possible that this is served at otherwise reputable establishments?
How is it possible that someone has paid attention to every detail --
the glassware, the lighting, the source for flour and rice, the
sustained availability of Tasmanian King Salmon -- and then totally
brain fart on the beer?