“How’s your beer?” “It’s not bad.”
Anyone else tired of this answer? Where did beer take such a bad turn? Our palates seem to have been tricked and swindled by the microbrew explosion. Oatmeal stout, pumpkin ale, any fruit imaginable, triple IPA, bacon beer! Are you covering up bad ingredients? Is capitalism the culprit?
Just beer: lager so pure and crisp that you crave it with breakfast. Pork shoulder with Pilsner makes sense any time of day in Prague. Many European establishments take the decision mechanism away with one beer on the menu. The system only works if you’re serving liquid gold, an easy lager. Indulging in a triple chocolate imperial stout with my omelet feels dirty and immoral.
I’m in an Asheville brewery offering 14 types of ale: not a single lager. The indirect explanation from a superfriendly staff member: “Money!” Brewing ale is chemically aggressive, taking about two weeks. Pilsner, the ultimate in lager, takes a minimum of four weeks and colder storage. A much gentler brewing leaves you with a smooth, clean beer. The quick turnaround in ale means more money now.
Let us not be told that our demand is driving this travesty. Greater demand could only be in ignorance; collectively, we don’t know better. It doesn’t help that most American microlagers are barely drinkable; containing an unexpected “bite” in comparison to the European masters.
Geography isn’t to blame, as we’ve done it beautifully on American soil: Trumer Pils (Berkeley, Calf.), Prost Pils (Denver), New Belgium Blue Paddle Pilsener (Fort Collins, Colo.).
I’m certainly not here to support the big boys of the industry. But have a look at what’s dominating the globe: lager. Mass-produced, lacking in patience, flavor and quality ingredients — yet lagers nonetheless. It has and will stand the test of time. Lager is forever.
How many more times can we lie to each other about “how good this beer is” while taste buds freak out, blanketed in a layer of residual sugar.
Of course, capitalism doesn’t correspond with patience. It’s hard to have a slow, gentle beer dominating your tank space. But we know you’re out of red figures! Facilities are expanding, becoming glamorous. You’ve fooled us long enough.
We love to support local. I don’t want to leave “Beer City USA” markets with a German six-pack in hand! If you brew it, they will come (they being return locals as well as the drunk bus tours). Please give us the gold!
— Mike Peterson