My attitude towards beer is a lot like my thoughts on coffee, simple is best. The craft beer world has gone from cool, to pretentious, to a downright silly mockery of itself. What started as an attempt to introduce Americans to a higher quality of beverage has descended into absurdity. Look I’m all for variety and choice, but there comes a time in any industry when producers have to start asking themselves not can we do this, but should we do it. Case in point, any flavored fruity beer.
If you’re reading this and you’re a grown-up, your beer should have 4 ingredients, Grain, (either barley, wheat, but sometimes oatmeal and rice,) hops to whatever extent you like, water, and yeast. If it has anything else in it it’s not beer, it’s prepubescent soda pop with alcohol in it designed to lure in beer newbs, young tweener girls, and hipster boys to the dark side. Grown-ups drink beer that tastes like…beer.
When I was a kid I drank Kool-aid, the sweeter the better. Then I grew up and started drinking coffee and beer. At first it was bitter and I didn’t understand why grown-ups drank this swill but over time I found better coffee and better beer and I started to catch on. Today I’ve learned to appreciate the subtle variations and flavors of many different kinds of beers, just like I did with coffee. But it wasn’t easy.
I grew up in a Budweiser and Coors family. I didn’t know beer came in any other variety until the first time my brother handed me a bottle of Guinness stout. At the time I thought it was the most bitter syrupy thing I’d ever drank. Funny thing was by the time we finished that six-pack, Bud and Coors would never be enough ever again.
The next step on my beer evolution would come in 2009 when I got a job working at a bar in a Mexican Restaurant. The owner had around 50 different brands on tap. I’d never even known so many different kinds of beer existed. It was an eye opening experience. For a time Belgian beers stole my heart, then it was the different varieties of stout, and then one fateful day an IPA crossed my path and that was it for me.
Today I’m still an IPA man, but I’ve come to appreciate the simple consistency of a well done American Pilsner. It’s hard to produce such a simple beer with consistency and quality yet no one does it better than Americas big breweries. The fact that they churn out millions of bottles and cans a year doesn’t detract from the fact that its actually high quality. Whether or not you’re sophisticated enough to appreciate that depends on how deeply you’ve dived down the beer rabbit hole. Spend some time working in a brewery (I worked at Two Brothers for a season canning and kegging,) or better yet brewing your own beer, and you realize it’s no simple thing to brew a clean crisp clear beer.
Lately big beer has been lashing out against craft beer and I can think of no better commercials than Bud Light’s “Dilly, Dilly!” Come on its hilarious. You know why it’s funny, because it’s true. If you’ve ever hung out with a craft beer crowd at a local brewery taproom, you know just how true it is. I also find these commercials funny because I have a sense of humor and can laugh at myself. I would never buy Bud Light again. But if I was at an event or party and that’s all they had on tap, would I drink it? You’re damn right I would. Do you know what the real message of the “Dilly, Dilly!” campaign is, it’s lighten the f#*k up America it’s just beer.
I like beer, some nights I love it, but it’s not my life. it’s certainly not a way to identify myself or let others know how, clever, and witty I am. It’s not an indictment of my intelligence or lack thereof. I think it’s funny how people can get so caught up about a beverage that you’re literally pissing away an hour after you drink it. I never hear the toilet commenting on the quality of it.
So this weekend when you go drinking remind yourself of a few things. It’s just beer. It’s not supposed to be sweet, and remind you of a cool autumn’s evening. It’s a grown-up beverage to be enjoyed and add to the enjoyment of the evening. At the end of the night its all going into the same toilet so you should probably not drop a huge wad of cash on it. Let’s cut the bullshit and leave the snobbery to the winos, and “DILLY, DILLY.”