Because It Tastes Good

I recently started doing my own version of customer research by asking people purchasing beer why they chose their particular brands. The answer, time and again?  Because It Tastes Good.
Mind you, the vast majority of folks who purchase and drink beer of all types, care precious little about what the folks at whatever beer geek club have to say about the beer they love to drink, and rightfully so. As beer writer Norman Miller has pointed out, just because you do not care for a particular beer does not mean that somebody else should not. Thousands of bottles and cans go flying off the shelves of retail stores, not because of television advertising or celebrity endorsements, but simply because people like to drink them.
I know that is hard for some to understand. Especially for those who upon discovering the artisan approach to brewing, think they have discovered the secrets of the universe. Also known as beer snobbery, this is something I am familiar with. A state of mind found along the road of beer discovery, that eventually I had to dismiss. To quote the Gospel according to Bob (Dylan): “But ah I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” 

Which also helps to explain there is nothing really out of place when I observe someone buying some Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA along with a 12 pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Or of a lady who informed me that she buys Yuengling’s Lord Chesterfield Ale, because “it hits all the right taste spots”. Which is all good, because beer, is above all about freedom. Which I take that to mean having respect for other peoples choices.

Which leads me to offer a finalist for this year’s U.S. beer of the year. Geographically speaking, this would have to be Christian Moerlein Exposition Lager, an outstanding malt generous example of the Vienna Amber Lager style, which is a Beer Doctor personal favourite tradition. That of course, is just my preference. If you do not like malt-forward styles of beer, this may not be for you. But variety can be the saviour of us all. Cheers!

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Just Drink The Beer

I have to marvel at the adaptability of the present day brewing world. There are so many choices available. Gone are the days when seeking a good beer was often a bit of an adventure. In fact, for this beer doctor, I don’t even need to drive a car. A reality that became quite apparent to me, when one day using a brewery’s beer finder, I was directed to a map that showed a store just two blocks from my house. As my brother often says to me: “That’s Google baby, and there is nothing you can do about it.” There are moments of astonishing accuracy. When it comes to beer in all of its manifestations, I certainly live in the best of times.

The beer revolution that happened in the last decade of the 20th century seems kind of quaint today. Back in a time when postal mail and the telephone were the main tools of communication. It was a smaller but very friendly universe, where the love and discovery of the magic of beer, formed a bond for seekers everywhere.  Of course the Internet has amplified that community, including an entire generation who came of drinking age when brews like Samuel Adams and Sierra Nevada are always available.

Writing about beer at one time was considered a rather novel notion. Today there are many excellent writers on the subject (I Think About Beer and The Beer Nut immediately come to mind), and of course, like nearly everything else, the language has changed. The word session is now used to identify an easy drinking recipe, what was once called a  pounder or slammer, must, I guess, seem kind of gauche, to an artisanal sensibility seeking to elevate the social status of beer. Although I never say a beer is sessionable, session has become a useful term. Matt Brewing Company’s Session IPA is a good example of a 21st Century production, complete with Facebook and Twitter symbols on the lower right corner of the label.

The Bavarian Purity Law (reinheitsgebot) has been maligned many times. But in the hands of the great German Breweries, its all about the magic of the four ingredients, with special emphasis on the yeast strain used (the so-called house yeast) and the God Is Good results obtained thereby.  But in today’s beer world nearly anything goes. Take for example, the Terrapin Beer Company’s description of Samurai Krunkles: “The Asia-inspired IPA is brewed with fragrant jasmine rice, ginger and jasmine green tea for a bold and unique set of flavors built to balance out the hoppy kick present in all Krunkle brews.”
Yes, there are many flavour mansions in the brewing kingdom.

The brewing world is evolving in ways that seem unimaginable over a decade ago. Being older but not necessarily wiser, I have come to realize that no matter how much I learned and experienced along this journey, there is still so much more to discover. I will just drink the beer. And my love for this ancient human invention, will always guide my way.