The Meaning Of Beer

As someone who has been writing about beer for a very long time, it is suffice to say I have sampled thousands of different beers. How strange it seems now, that at one time, my enthusiasm for this beloved ancient beverage made me appear as the odd duck out, when brews like Miller Lite and Bud Light were the rage of my peers. And this was before Corona became the yuppie lager du jour, at $25 a case at the time. So I am not all that surprised when I read pronouncements that IPA Is Here To Stay, as if it, or any other trend, decides what is relevant to an individual’s palate.

I must admit that the snob aspect of the craft beert movement becomes tiresome and distasteful. Those who are fortunate to have sufficient income that they do not mind plucking down $10 to $20 for a six pack, or a 22 ounce bomber (a description quite accurate, when it comes to something like Stone Double Bastard Ale). But some of those same folks become quite dismissive of the millions of beer drinkers who are not interested in participating in their consumerist tribalism.

This has also lead to being dismissive of some great beers because a particular style does not meet the requirements of the latest trend. Take Samuel Adams Boston LagerSamual-Adams-Boston-LagerA world class example of the Vienna amber style that is often written off by not being hoppy enough. How bloodty silly is that?

It is amusing that some beer writers justify their enthusiasm by pointing out that sales of craft beer (oh that term again) are increasing; as if market share determines the validity of these upscale products. But isn’t that the same concern of those evil big corporate brewers? A recent example comes to mind:
An article about the Molson Canadian Beer Fridge, which uses Google speech recognition software to translate the phrase I am Canadian in forty different languages, in order for the fridge to open. A marketing scheme for the upcoming Pan Amereican games that the writer Darrell Etherington, adds his own bit of snark:

“Of course, this is an unabashed marketing ploy from tip to toe, but it’s a well executed one, and I find myself swelling with patriotic feels despite myself… Molson Canadian is still terrible beer, however.”

Etherington’s opinion that Molsdon Canadian is terrible beer, is simply that. I prefer what David Kenning said in Beers Of The World, that Molson “served cold, its taste is crisp, modern and extremely refreshing.”

Another Shout If You Please

Moving towards the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, the season of summer brew is in full sswing. Take for example Twilight Summer Ale from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, OregonTwilight-Lable. This is a rather lively, bottle conditioned ale. It reveals that a brewery started over 25 years ago, knows something about the use of hops that many hop-slaming upstarts do not seem to grasp. The careful use of Northern Brewer, Cascade,Tettnang. and most importantly, Amarillo hops, make this a very pleasant tasting experience. Well balanced with the malts, the hops selection collaborates in a refreshing dry finish.
Drink this fresh as possible, the bottle conditioning is for keeping the delicious flavor intact, not designed for cellaring.

One of the more unsual contributions to this season is Southern Tier Brewing’s Compassind_bp_compass A spring into summer seasonal, Compass is a 9% ale that uses rose hips in the brew kettle and is bottle conditioned. I was given this undecanted, so brewers yeast was floating about. No matter. Despite its so-called very big bitterness, I found this tasty and elegant, with nothing boozy in the palate. Listed as a sparkling ale, I was reminded slightly of Thos. Cooper & Sons Sparkling Ale from Australia. Unusual, but quite good.