It was a pleasure to read Christopher Barnes recent post on I Think About Beer where he passionately complains about what writer Matt Taibbi would call the vampire squid aspects of AB-InBev sticking its tentacles into beloved beer brands and ruining them. This is most certainly the case with many of the breweries acquired, and it is also true that many of these famous brands have become simply more products to disguise the fact that AB-InBev would like to own all the beer in the world. But what I find rather ridiculous is the notion that the American beer drinking public really cares where their beer actually comes from (and hey, Carlos Brito and the boys have you covered there, get your Bud app for your I-Phone!).
It was essayist Lewis Lapham who pointed out that the genius of market capitalism is that it has no morality. This was most certainly the case when the last irresponsible heir of the Busch family was made an offer the stockholders could not refuse, and the historic American brewing giant passed over into InBev’s global hands. But what is also rather silly is this notion that the brewers ethos is actually important in a country that has now embraced market capitalism to the exclusion of everything else.
Consumer boycott of products considered unethical has been practiced many times before. But to base your shopping decisions on what the Brewers Association has decided is righteous brew, is to say the least, beyond laughable. This was the same organization that at one time excluded from their club Yuengling and August Schell, two of the oldest breweries in America. But enough on this lunacy, let me get to some recent beers.
Sierra-Nevada Nooner Pilsner is a very good take on pilsner but I find the term Nooner to a be a superfluous marketing ploy, but nevertheless essential to marketing to the beer drinking crowd that uses words like session beer. But on the label, the use of Adirondack chairs in front of a body of water, is a graphic rip-off of the Saranac line by F.X. Matt Brewing of Utica, New York. Nothing original there, but what is original is the fact that Nooner Pilsner is Sierra Nevada’s first year-round lager and a quite good one at that.
For the over-the-hop folks there is Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Hoppy Lager 2015 an India Pale Lager, and it most certainly is that. Citrus like bitterness made somewhat more mellow by the longer lagering time.
Locally, I came across Pure Fury from Rheingeist Brewery. A hoppy pale ale, it is called, which has become nearly generic amongst artisan creations. But for me, there simply was not enough malt support to make this a substantial experience.
Two recent samples from New Belgium Brewing: Shift Pale Lager is yet another hoppy pale lager that takes into account the lupulin concerns of the younger generation. While their 1554 Black Lager I found much more interesting, mainly because I do enjoy the schwarzbier style, from Krostritzer and beyond. 1554 has captured this style with delicious accuracy. The same can be said of New Belgium Porter, with its very good roasted malt profile.
It is the 106th anniversary of the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas, which has lead to the release of Shiner 106 Birthday Beer. A chocolate stout that is an easy drinking desert beer. Like all Shiner beers, it is only made in one place: the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas.