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!