I Drink Beer, Dammit

I think I’m late to the recent craft beer hullaballoo that followed the Brewer’s Association’s bitchy, little missive about the Big Beer Boogeyman trying to swoop on craft beer’s game with brews like Blue Moon and Shock Top. There has been enough whining, though. So, this might not be popular, but the Curmudgeon must speak.

I drink beer. Period. And I’ve said it before: So as long as your beer is tasty, I’ll drink it…well, as long as it wasn’t made from orphan tears, or something messed-up like that. But I’m willing to make an exception if the orphans were already crying anyway.

orphan

Except for her. Keep this orphan’s tears the F away from my beer.

For me, it started on December 12th, when SABMiller executive chairman Graham Mackay asserted that the basis for craft beer success is the desire for more variation and interest and “it’s also local, anti-marketing, anti-global, anti-big, and more focused on experience and knowing that about where beer is from.” This elicited immediate mockery from the Big Beer haters about how Big Beer just doesn’t get it, and how it’s about quality and taste.

Then, the next day, the Brewer’s Association fired-off a press release reiterating their standard for what constitutes craft beer, lamenting Big Beer’s sinister foray into the craft beer market, and claiming that Big Beer should be required to clearly label their masquerading beers as being made by the Big Beer Boogeyman (and, thus, not true “craft beers”). Hmmm. So, apparently it’s not all about taste. Otherwise, why does this matter?

Now, thisiswhyimdrunk makes a compelling case for the distinction between the Brewer’s Association lamentations and Graham Mackay’s claims of anti-big sentiment. However, it’s hard to deny the general contempt for Big Beer that courses through the veins of the majority of beer nerds. The accusations run the gamut: Their beers all taste like crap (not true); they are unrelenting and sometimes nefarious in their efforts to gain market share (probably true); they like to eat kittens (totally true).

whiplash

Graham Mackay thinking about kitten recipes.

But we operate in a capitalist system. Making money and gaining market share is what you’re supposed to do. It’s what makes the system function well, subject to smart regulation and enforcement, of course.

In fact, the capitalist system is like a zoo with lions, tigers, polar bears, and cute little animals like koalas and penguins. When a polar bear escapes and fulfills his lifelong fantasy of eating a penguin, or when the lions and tigers get out and eat the koalas and some zoo patrons, do you blame the lions and tigers and bears? No. Sure you might think the carnivores are dicks for eating cute animals and people, but that’s what they do (and partly what makes a zoo cool). You should be blaming the f-ing zookeepers.

And what do you think the purpose of the Brewer’s Association cockamamie definition of craft is (which actually seems simultaneously over-inclusive (Sam Adams Light) and under-inclusive (August Schell Brewing))? It’s about inventing a term to solidify a market niche and to gain and protect market share to the exclusion of others. Gasp!

And the label idea is silly. It’s not even worthy of the zoo’s suggestion box. These offending Big Beer brews are a completely different product line from their other beers and are geared to an entirely different market. Of course they’re going to label and market them differently. Are you mad that a Lexus doesn’t come with “TOYOTA” emblazoned across the back? The few people who actually care about this will know or easily find out.

It all boils down to this: I’ve had some good brews made by Big Beer and many terrible beers from so-called craft breweries. To me, it’s all about gettin’ the yummy in my tummy and what’s best and available at the time, not about what constitutes craft beer or who gets to call it that. So, maybe the Big Beer Boogeyman realized that he needs to get in on selling tasty beer. Wah. Deal with it. Just drink beer.

Update: Go read John Cochran’s thoughts (From Terrapin Beer) here. He masterfully drives home the point: This is all so silly. He also lists some of the goofier results from the Brewer’s Association line-in-the-sand.

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The Curmudgeon: Seasonal beer “I told you so” edition

The Curmudgeon:
The Curmudgeon hates to say he told you so. Well, maybe he doesn’t. But in February, the Curmudgeon pointed out that climate change (and its resultant seasonal shifting) does not actually exist…it’s a trick of the brain perpetuated by breweries releasing their seasonal beers way too early. It was also suggested that drowning polar bears may just need to up their cardio:

You really have gotten lazy. Look at yourself.

Back then, Spring and Summer beers were coming out in February, and the Curmudgeon presciently foretold the early arrival of pumpkin beers. He predicted August. Well, the Curmudgeon was wrong…they showed up in mid-July! Mean Machine reported seeing Southern Tier Pumking the week of July 10th, twitter is full of angry pumpkin beer sightings, and dangermenparenting reported seeing Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin on July 28th.

Listen, nobody cares about the first person to report on whether the sun came up. That is, unless you’re CNN or Fox News and you are the first to mistakenly report that the sun didn’t come up.

Standby, I’m hearing it is a bit more complicated than previously thought. THE SUN MAY HAVE COME UP.

The truth is, with things that aren’t novel (just like news that people are going to find out eventually anyway) what people want is for you to get it right. Now, obviously there is serious first-to-the-market competition for shelf space. But sorry, Coors, being first isn’t going to make your Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale taste any better.

Further, The Curmudgeon isn’t stupid….well…the Curmudgeon isn’t too stupid to figure out that canned pumpkin gets thrown in some pumpkin beers. But why can’t we be fat and happy and just pretend you tossed in some fresh jack-o-lanterns. Oh, I almost forgot, because you expect us to believe you got fresh pumpkins in June or July.

So suck it, brewers racing to Fall. It’s still freaking hotter outside than a pair of sweatpants full of BBQ. I don’t want any pumpkin beer. So, may your Fall beers gather dust. And may the fleas of 100 camels infect your balls and your arms be too short to scratch.

The Beerbecue Cocktail: The only beer cocktail you’ll ever need.

Much has been made of beer cocktails, or “hoptails”, lately. The beerbecue beverage lab has engineered its own. Below are detailed video instructions on the only beer cocktail you’ll ever need (and as a bonus, the Curmudgeon’s identity is finally revealed).

Pretension Prevention Series Beer Review: Today We Act Like Men For Christ Sake

by the Curmudgeon (Pretension Ombudsman)
Hello people who Scott has pestered to support his new blogging hobby.  A hobby, by the way, that doesn’t require him to leave the house or consort with others.  I wonder whose idea that was?  Anyway, I am your guest poster for this evening.

Why am I posting?  Because the other day I read this:

“These little beauties have a light to moderate sweetness, some fruit (like apple, banana, pear, or oranges), earthiness, and sometimes a slight peppery, clovey, or spicey flavor from the Belgian yeast.”

If you are anything like me, that shiver you just experienced is known as a douche chill.

I look to the picture I have of Scott in my bedroom and I see a man who fathered a child.  A man who was honest-to-god hit with a barstool in a bar fight (don’t worry Scott, I meant honest-to-God).  Unfortunately, I now also see a man who is trying to suck all the fun out of drinking.  Well, sir, fuck you.  Today we review:

Who wouldn’t want to live pleasantly?

Review: National Bohemian has a subtle beer-type taste that, when consumed quickly in quantities of 5 to 6, produces a pleasant buzz that is perfect for enjoying a college football game or forgetting, ever so fleetingly, the disappointment that is life.  The fellow on the can appears to have lost an eye or perhaps is winking.  Either way, he is compelling enough to have sustained my gaze for an awkwardly long period of time.  I better pull my crap together.

This beer is best paired with an unkempt, older gentleman, like the one sitting to my left at the bar.  A man who can successfully rationalize a daily drinking habit with one word: “retirement”.

God damn you, youth, for cockblocking my fun.

I wish to end my review with a simple thought.  Never use words like “clovey” or “fruit” to describe a beer.  Better yet, never describe a beer.  It shouldn’t matter.  If you are not drinking to feel euphoric and better tell tall tales, you are flatly doing it wrong.  Don’t be that guy.

Thank you Google image search for “hipster douchebag”.

Now, from the barstool to my right where she has ignored me for the better part of three hours while reading yet another book about vampires is my haybag for her review. 

The Curmudgeon’s Haybag Review:  Your post was incredibly disappointing.  Not unlike your lovemaking and inability to produce viable semen.  A part of me truly hates you.

Well, that’s all I’ve got.  Merry Christmas everyone!