A new year brings with it a desire I have had for a long time to tackle the subject of beer from a beer lover’s viewpoint.
It has taken quite awhile on the search trail of this miraculous, human culinary invention, to arrive at these discoveries. The path has seen many articles of misinformation foisted on the unsuspecting, mostly for the sake of marketing. Here are 2 current examples:
1. Craft Beer is good, giant brewery beer is bad.
2. Giant commercial brewing interests are incapable of making good beer.
The term craft brewed is most often used as a catch-all description of beer with an abundance in flavor. All beer drinkers are guaranteed a right to enjoy only the highest quality beer. Proclaims Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch, in the Samuel Adams Beer Drinker’s Bill of Rights.
Further down in the declaration it states: III. Use of adjuncts such as corn syrup, rice or corn grits is strictly prohibited as it lightens the true character of a fine beer. Which is a convenient way to make you feel guilty if you actually enjoy drinking Pabst, Genesee, or Little Kings, or any other American “all grain” lager.
Craft brew puppies buy into the vast corporate conspiracy that created these adjunct monsters, supposedly for the sake of the old bottom line. Never mind that much of this simply flies in the face of actual history. How golden lager took over much of the beer drinking world because there was an absolute fascination with its clear golden color. Or that the use of corn and rice was an American invention of necessity, because back in the 19th century there was simply not enough European malts to supply this thirsty country.
Much has been said about national beers being devoid of personality. Again the assumed narrative of why this came about ignores the obvious fact that the brewing industry was nearly destroyed by the temperance religious zealots, and their political enablers, who created Prohibition. Legislation which combined religious cultural intolerance with anti-German hysteria. It is not surprising that things became bland, because after Prohibition was repealed, there were many restrictions placed upon beer that were downright ridiculous (I mean, have you ever heard of 3.2 beer? Sunday “small beer” in the state of Ohio for many years. At one time it was the only beer allowed to be sold in the Miami university town of Oxford, Ohio.). Beer over 6% abv was not allowed to be sold in this state, until the beginning of this century. Home brewing, of which Jim Koch created his first kitchen batch of Samuel Adams, was not legal until Jimmy Carter was President.
So this points up to the obvious question: Do you love beer? I have found over the years that this a very good starting point for approaching this wonderful topic, which I hope to explore in this series. You know the old saying: Do it with love, or don’t do it at all.
Thank you is my only prayer.