Economics

When You Say Bud, You Have Not Said it All, Thank You Very Much

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Words aren't adequate to describe how much I hate this company.

When the domestic beer industry consolidated into a duopoly of Anheuser-Busch InBev vs. MillerCoors in 2008, I was happy. Not because I like duopolies (or their mono cousins), but because I don't. As a general rule, the faster that industries try to consolidate away the competition, the faster they become uncompetitive, and leak away market share. Companies with a captive consumer base tend to treat them like, well, captives. As the Wall Street Journal's William L. Bulkeley put it in a smart 2006 piece about the suddenly troubled photo-processing duopoly of Eastman Kodak and Fuji Photo Film,

Photography and publishing companies shouldn't be surprised when digital technology upends their industries. After all, their business success relied on forcing customers to buy things they didn't want.

Lo and behold, American customers are busy this year not wanting all those Coors Lights and Bud Longnecks:

Frank Booth would approve

The $100 billion U.S. brewing industry is staggering into its crucial selling season from its weakest position in years. Sales for 11 of the biggest brands fell in the four weeks ended May 16, according to SymphonyIRI, and only four of the top 30—Keystone Light, Modelo Especial, Yuengling and Pabst Blue Ribbon—posted gains. Meanwhile, despite massive measured-media support, category titans Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite all declined. […]

Anheuser-Busch's Bud Light, the largest U.S. brand, is down 5.3% year to date, and the drop is in comparison to 2009, the first negative year in the brand's 28-year history. It's no less grim at No. 2 U.S. brewer MillerCoors, where the company's leading lights, Coors Light and Miller Lite, are down 0.5% and 7.5%, respectively.

Real American hero

The article is from Advertising Age (link via Conor Friedersdorf's Twitter feed), and thus obsessed with the top-down blues of ad-spending legacy beermakers. But there's a much cheerier story on the frothier (and more delicious) end of beer's Long Tail:

More than ever before, the craft brewing industry has a lot to celebrate. Even though overall U.S. beer sales were down 2.2 percent in 2009, craft beer sales grew 7.2 percent by volume and 10.3 percent by dollars in the same year. And in 2008, craft beer grew 5.9 percent by volume and 10.1 percent by dollars.

Stuff like this is why knee-jerk anti-trusters almost always leave me cold. In an almost-literal sense, they anti-trust American consumers to turn down bland crap from entitled behemoths, and instead create marvelous, idiosyncratic workarounds to industry mediocrity and idiotic government restrictions.

The craft brew revolution is a wonderful American–and libertarian–story. As Greg Beato explained in a terrific March 2009 column, post-Prohibition laws made home-brewing a crime for four decades, crushing a storied American tradition practiced by, among others, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. But then came deregulation:

Here's to you, Jimmy Carter!

In 1978, however, a supplier of beer-making equipment in Rochester, New York, asked his congressman, Barber Conable (R–N.Y.), to sponsor a bill that would extend the home winemakers' exemption to DIY beer makers. […]

Conable […] insist[ed] that independent Americans shouldn't have to "rely on the beer barons" for their daily libations. According to an Associated Press article written at the time, the bill "sailed through the House on a voice vote with no audible objection."

Under the guidance of Sen. Alan Cranston (D–Calif.), it fared much the same in the Senate. Then [Jimmy] Carter signed it into law, and just like that, after 43 years of government inertia, indifference, and undue concern about the ways home brewers might abuse the privilege of mixing hops and malt extract in their unsupervised kitchens, home brewing was suddenly legal again.

He'll kick you apart

This federal freedom, followed by deregulations at the state level, breathed life into an already growing microbrew subculture in the Pacific Northwest, and now you can finally find a rich variety of beers all over America.

I don't doubt that the watery beer duopoly will continue to lumber along, and warp various restrictive regulations in an attempt to preserve market share, but the future does not belong to them. You want to inflict damage on the Evil Beer Corporates? Instead of blocking their consolidation, dismantle the dumb laws that lock in their size advantage, then stand back and enjoy their slow, inevitable decline.

For more, watch Reason.tv's "Beer: An American Revolution," below:

NEXT: The Libertarian Party Picks Some New Leaders

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  1. Big brewing is the victim of two things. First, the American pallet has changed. People don’t like the light watery lagers that they used to drink back in the 1970s. People have a more European taste in beers these days. So the big two’s sales had to go down.

    Second, they have allowed their marketing agencies to completely destroy their brands. There is more to drinking alcohol than just flavor and getting drunk. People also drink to project an image. People routinely gag down harsh alcohols that they don’t really have the taste for to look good doing it. It is just human nature. But the big breweries have spent twenty five years saturating the country with TV ads that made their, especially their, customers look like beer crazed retarded people. They have made their brands and their customers into punchlines. In contrast, makers of Vodka started selling high end brands and made it sophisticated to drink it. And Vodka went in a decade from the booze of choice for degenerate alcoholics to the biggest selling hard liquor in the country. Tequilla is doing the same thing right now shedding its one to three floor image and selling itself as a sophisticated liquor. Big brand beer continues to sell itself as booze for those who are too dumb to feed themselves.

    1. In contrast, makers of Vodka started selling high end brands and made it sophisticated to drink it. And Vodka went in a decade from the booze of choice for degenerate alcoholics to the biggest selling hard liquor in the country.

      While not losing the degenerate alcoholic demographic. Still, vodka is for girls and poseurs. Whisky, whiskey, cognac and brandy are what sophisticated drunkards imbibe.

      1. Of course it is for poseurs. But who ever went broke selling image to poseurs?

        1. I love poseurs.

        2. I’m racking my brain to come up with an example – nope, can’t find one up there.

          While not for mr, tequila drinkers are all right too.

      2. Cognac is a type of brandy…

    2. The palate hasnt changed. They didnt like them pre-pro, they dont like them now, they didnt like them when they were all that existed.

      Of course, by they I mean the tiny (but correct!) minority that dont like them.

      1. That reminds me of the Edward G. Robinson movie A Slight Case of Murder, where he plays a bootlegger who has to retire after Prohibition because he actually tastes the contraband beer he was making and finds the only reason people could have drunk it is because it was the only game in town.

      2. False. Hell, the 5th paragraph from one of the linked articles says as much:

        But then the government entered the picture, crushing quality brew like a frat boy crushing Budweiser cans on his forehead. Prohibition decimated the industry, and in World War II the military requested watered-down drinks so soldiers wouldn’t be too inebriated to fight. The upside: They won the war. The downside: Many came home with a taste for milder beers.

    3. its one to three floor image

      Sometimes I think John’s spelling is a form of performance art.

    4. “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.”

      1. Best beer campaign ever.

      2. “I don’t always drink water, but when I do, I prefer Vitamin Water.” -Steve Nash

        Youtube it! Those videos are hilarious!!!

    5. Zima, because zhit happens.

    6. Airline deregulation may have helped. More people were able to fly out of the U.S. and get a taste of beer with flavor.

    7. Life is too short to drink shitty beer!

    8. There is some truth to what you say. Marketing-driven sales growth was the name of the game for 20-30 years by the big brewers. Many, including myself, believed the declining benefits of marketing-driven strategy meant that they’d have to start buying up regional brewers and expanding their portfolios. To some degree they tried (with varying degrees of success or failure: see Red Hook, Blue Moon, Leinenkugels, whatever that crappy red stuff was… oh yeah, killians)

      But I think the real issue are the prohibition Distribution laws that grant exclusivity to local wholesalers. Similar to the Coke/Pepsi systems (although not created by 1930s law), the Bud and Miller-Coors systems combined own the vast majority of distributorships in the country. They own all the trucks that bring beer to the retailer, and if you want as an independent brewer to get access to retail, you need to play ball with the existing franchised distributors, who in many cases are strongly incentivized away from carrying third party products by their franchise owners.

      (see Bud’s: “Share of Mind” programs starting in 1996, evolving slowly with some concessions over the years, but still mainly targeted at rewarding distributors who focus entirely on AB product; Miller & coors to some degree differentiated themselves – for survival’s sake! – by allowing distributors to broaden their portfolios, but it has always been an issue)

      In short, I think if you want to find what is the least ‘free market’ element of the US beer industry, it is not the brewers so much as the distributors (the ‘second tier’) that maintain cozy local monopolies that rely on antiquated and corrupting regulatory practices. Read up on the industry structure a little bit and you will start to get an idea of why the brewers have never really *had* to innovate; they maintain 90% of the access to the market through their distributor partners.

      http://www.fermentarium.com/in…..tem-works/

      A big (feared) consequence of the major changes in US brewing in 2008 (the acquisition of AB by InBev, and the JV of SABMiller & Coors) was that distributors felt that the new, foreign ownership would bring about increased pressure from the brewers to capture a larger share of profits which distributors in the US are privy to, and which is less common internationally.

      If you listened to investor conference calls over the period of these changes, both brewers went to pains to assure distributors that they “support the three tier system”; Meaning, they arent going to try and put pressure on their systems to become more lean and efficient. I’m not sure whether it was taken at face value or not; some distributors I used to talk to felt they had the brewers by the balls. Others welcomed transformation of the industry, if not changes to the franchise laws which grant them their cozy monopolies. Added to this in increasing pressure from retailers for the system to change. Both big box stores like Walmart/Costco and small format stores like 7-11 have expressed frustration with the way the system works, asking for more concessions from the beverage companies that do DSD (direct store distribution).

      Anyway, neither here nor there, but just offering that much of the transformation that will need to happen in the industry is probably in the middle tier, and if distribution became more competitive and less protected by old prohibition era law, we would see much faster evolution of the US beer industry, particularly through expanded availability of smaller regional brewers who currently have little influence relative to the ‘big guys’ with the franchise distributors.

      1. p.s. I was replying to John’s original post. @!#$(*)@ threaded comments.

      2. The disagreement that I would have with you vis a vis distributors is that the current “craft beer revolution” has taken place in the same system that you say is keeping the lid on quality beer. The number of breweries today (around 1600 in the US) is easily on a level with the number of breweries prior to Prohibition. The variety and quality of beer today far exceeds what it was prior to Prohibition. I don’t think your argument that “transformation” needs to happen in the middle tier works in light of the fact that we have so much choice and variety today versus 20 years ago in the very system that you say does not allow it.

        I think the reality is simply this: the consumer is asking for more and getting it. Today’s consumer has access to more information (Internet and travel) and has enough experience to be more discerning.

        Spend some time in a country with no middle tier and I think you’ll see that our selection and variety in the US is far superior. But when presented with a choice, the consumer still has to make the final decision on what to purchase.

    9. First, the American pallet has changed.

      No, they’re pretty much the same size as before. If they weren’t, the forklifts wouldn’t work so well.

  2. Pennsylvania’s own Yuengling is getting me through the Stanley Cup Finals. (It’s hard for a Pens fan to accept the Flyers getting anywhere near the Cup.)

    1. The rest of Hockey America is still too busy laughing at Sydney Crosby getting a penalty 10 seconds into a game 7 and completely spitting the bit to engage in their usual Flyers hatred.

      1. Jesus Christ, John, let the Olympic hockey game go already.

        1. I just can’t help it. I was so looking forward to Canadian tears. It will take a long time to get over not having the opportunity of beating the Canadians at their national sport and watching it be a page 2 story in the US.

          1. While the dismay of the Canadians would have been hilarious, it’s OK to let them have something. Once in a while only, though.

            1. That’s ok we have Marc Emery

            2. They got the women’s hockey gold. I root for Canada in that just because of how the bigots in American sports journalism use women’s hockey and soccer to propagandize for the genital quotas of Title IX.

          2. Why not just turn your attention and hope for English tears on the 12th instead of dwelling on the past.

            1. I have done that to. That would sweet, although I think they will probably kill us.

              1. I think there’s the potential for that, but then again, despite all the scary names they have, we tend to do very well against sides that have unreasonable expectations placed on them in the first game of group play.

                1. Damn few teams get a tighter sphincter than the Three Lions in a big soccerball match. Even the dourest Italian of them all might not be able to change that.

                  1. It’s not just that, it’s also that they’re just not as good as the English people really, really need them to be. This seems to be a nearly half-century trend, too.

                  2. Of course I want the US to win it all, but besides that, anyone but the Azzure. I fucking hate their style of play.

                    Step 1. Punch mark in the back of the head while simultaneously flopping backwards.

                    Step 2. Complain to ref.

                    Step 3. Score 1 goal with opponent down a man.

                    Step 4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the rest of the match.

                2. It depends on whether Wayne Rooney gets away with stamping on opponents’ crotches.

                  1. Keep soccer off my thread.

                    1. Wayne Rooney looks a disturbing amount like me. Fuck that mick-limey cocksucker.

                    2. So you are an ugly, freckled fucker who looks like he got hit in the face with a frying pan?

                    3. That’s it. I’m afraid I’m just going to have to shut down this thread.

    2. Oh dear, hockey AND beer in the same thread… head … getting ready … to explode.

      GO BLACKHAWKS!!!!!

      1. Has the Fan-in-Chief discovered them yet?

        1. Indeed…his favorite Black Hawk is Dominique Wilkins.

  3. “Words aren’t adequate to describe how much I hate this company”

    Well, with the help of those Belgians, I was locked in at 70 dollars a share and my biggest capital gain ever in a largecap during a market implosion, so I for one tip my glass (with someone else’s product) to Mr. Mackenzie and the boys.

  4. I thought the big two were just buying up the better micro brews. Aren’t most of the big “micro brews” now owned by the big two?

    1. That’s a good point. I don’t know about “most.”

    2. Dominion Brewery comes to mind.

      “The company was sold in March 2007 to Coastal Brewing Company, located in Annapolis, Md., which in turn is 49% owned by Anheuser Busch.”

      Abita, Lagunitas (which puts out some weird stuff), and Stone are still private.

    3. I know one of my favorites Leinenkugel was bought by Miller a long time ago. I do think that sort of thing needs to be part of any anti-trust discussion. Yes, there will always be innovaters building better mousetraps (if the goverment lets them). I do not argue that fact, however, if the monopolies have large enough pockets, what’s to stop them from cannibalizing them?

      1. what’s to stop them from cannibalizing them?

        Why should we stop it? Lt them be cannibalized, let the corporate bigwhigs change the product, let the customers not buy it anymore, and let them go out of business.

        Or is Big Beer “Too Big To Fail”.

        1. How would they go out of business if their the only company offering something that’s high in demand?

          1. If only ford cars were available to consumers would they stop buying cars?

        2. How to get rich creating a competing product and selling out to the big boys.

    4. Not really. Goose Island is minority owned by Widmer/Red Hook which is owned in part by AB. This allows the Goose to use the AB distribution network while still being majority controlled by the original owners.

      Its enough ownership that Goose Island is no longer considered a “craft” brewer by the Brewers Association, but not enough to say they were bought up.

  5. Keystone Light, Modelo Especial, Yuengling and Pabst Blue Ribbon — posted gains.

    In related news, white unemployment, Hispanic employment, being a fat guy with long hair, and being a badly tattooed pile of bitch are up.

    1. Now that’s fucking funny.

  6. HOMEBREW THREAD!!!!

    Irony: The fact I enjoy talking homebrew on a political more than on the three homebrew lists to which I belong

    1. How bout we just turn it in to a beer snob thread?

      Am I the only one who misses Pete’s Wicked Ale? I haven’t had a decent one in ages.

      My current favorite is Duvel Maredsous. I could drink them all day long except they are pretty strong and “all day” turns in to “a few hours followed by involuntary naptime”.

      1. I love Duvel. There are some really good Belguim restaurants here in DC. One of the few advantages of living here.

        1. Leffe > Duvel. Cheaper, too.

          1. Kwak is the shit.

            1. Amen. My local pub back in CA used to carry it on tap periodically.

          2. Leffe is a very different product from Duvel. They are good for different reasons. I am a big fan of Hoegaarden. It is the best beer to drink a lot of on a hot day.

        2. I’m not that much of a religious guy, but those Monks in Belgium sure seem to know what they are doing when it comes to beer.

          Can’t we adopt Belgium or something? We get them out of the EU so they can buy and sell their beer in peace, and we get awesome beer cheap. Win-win.

          1. Leffe is owned by InBev.

            1. Half of Belgium is owned by InBev.

          2. Are you talking about the Weinstepphaner stuff?

            The Heffe Weis variety is damn good.

        3. There’s also a great German grocery store in Fall Church:

          http://www.germangourmet.com/

        4. I enjoy Gulden Draak.

      2. How bout we just turn it in to a beer snob thread?

        I prefer wine to beer, thank you very much.

      3. Haven’t had a Maredsous in a few years, but I will confirm that it doesn’t take too much to induce that “involuntary naptime”.

    2. NONE OF THIS DISCUSSION IS HOMEBREW!

      damn libertarians and their silly individualism…they don’t listen for crap.

  7. Going to keg a homebrewed Saison tonight.

  8. Beer-related, Bell’s had to jump through some hoops in Illinois b/c of that state’s law protecting beer distributors (the Beer Industry Fair Dealing Act).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell's_Brewery

    1. And Midwest beer drinkers are grateful. I haven’t lived in the Chicago area in over a decade. But, every time I go back to visit I pick up some Bell’s products. My first homebrew was a clone of Two Hearted Ale.

      It was a tough couple of years not being able to get their great nectar while Larry Bell fought it out. His stand sets a precedence for other craft brewers. Cheers to Larry Bell!

  9. Under the guidance of Sen. Alan Cranston (D?Calif.), it fared much the same in the Senate.

    Alan Cranston struck a blow for freedom? The Mortician???

  10. I’m not really a beer snob. While I do drink “better” beer at home (porters, stouts, red lagers, nut browns, etc), I do enjoy Miller Lite when out partying with friends due to both the price and the fact that it’s not filling. I think it’s a fine beer, as is bud lite, for what it is. It taste great after a rough day at work and that’s all that matters to me. I do enjoy trying different crafts and types of beer when available but usually after two or three I need to go lighter.

    1. I’m kind of the opposite. I try different things when I’m out (I don’t get out much and when I do, I tend to have no more than two) and drink what I know I like at home because of the price per bottle, which are Harp, Smithwicks, Bass, or Budweiser if I’m being cheap and my in-laws are in town. People complain about it but it’s really a decent cheap beer.

  11. Great Lakes Brewing Co.

    Book it.

    1. just had that for the first time last mounth… it is indeed amazing.

    2. Generally I agree, but they may make the worst saison in the history (including the future) of the universe.

      1. I’m not sure I’ve had it. It’s not one of the styles I usually seek out.

        1. this beer is amazing:

          http://www.surlybrewing.com/

          1. Surly is not distributed in NJ, but a kind soul from Minnesota sent me some and let me say that Surly Furious is some god damned good beer

      2. Everyone hates Grassroots (besides me, I guess).

        1. There is something seriously wrong with you.

          Very, very seriously wrong.

      3. The worst beer ever made for sale:

        Samuel Adams Triple Bock

        At least you can drink a mass-produced American lager without gagging.

    3. Love their beer, roll my eyes at their “social responsibility.”

      1. Yeah, I try to ignore that for the sake of my own sanity.

  12. 1. Ommegang Witte
    2. Ayinger Ur-Weisse
    3. Gingo Kogen Unfiltered
    4. Hacker-Pschorr Munich Gold
    5. Kwak
    6. Franzikaner Hefeweizen
    7. Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat
    8. Wittkerke
    9. Efes Dark
    10. Schneider Weisse

    1. I like the Franzikaner a lot. There is a restaurant by where I work that has that on tap and sells a half a liter for five bucks during happy hour. It makes getting off work very bearable.

      1. The Ommegang is very close to Franzikaner. A little less creamy and a bit crisper. The Schneider and Ayinger have much more of the sour bite from lacto-bacilli.

        1. ????

          A wit is really close to a hefe? I call bullshit.

          1. Only real difference is the yeast and wheat % of grain bill. Less flavor and flocculation with wit yeast. I always found Ommegang’s spectacularly bland, personally.

            Surprised Paulaner Hefe-Weisse didn’t make a wheat heavy list. If you haven’t tried it, you should.

            1. I do like it, but in the same general categories, there are ones I like better.

              (It was the very first hefe I ever drank, though. I got a good start.)

            2. Only real difference is the yeast

              And that makes a huge difference. Its also why I think american wheats are a beer abomination (Im pretty sure Deuteronomy forbids the use of Chico yeast in a wheat beer).

              Sure wits and hefes have some similarities. As do IPAs and bitters. I wouldnt say Stone IPA is very close to London Pride.

              1. Exactly, the yeast is defining character of a wit.

                1. All beers have similarities, but the only difference between wit and weiss is yeast.

                  Yeast is the defining character in every beer. People would say that it’s not true for American styles, but cleanliness and neutrality is also a characteristic (when it comes to yeast, anyway). But as far as yeast strains go, it’s not as drastic a difference as say, american ale vs. belgian tripel.

                  Bitters and IPAs have different yeast, grain, and hops(both character and IBUs). Huge difference.

                  1. Yeast isnt the only different between wits and weiss. For example, wits often use unmalted wheat, why hefes use malted wheat. The hops are also different, although that is a tiny difference that sometimes isnt even a difference. Hefes are never spiced, while wits sometimes are.

                    There is very little difference in yeast, grain, and hops (other than amount) between a bitter and an english IPA. Sure, a west coast IPA would be different (although they might use british 2-row instead of american).

          2. Nit-picker. I’m really only describing similarities in drinkability, not manufacturing details. If you are a fan of Franzi, it’s reasonable for someone to suggest that you might like OG Witte as well.

    2. A list containing hefes that doesnt include Weihenstephaner is epic fail.

      1. Im claiming “authority” with that statement too, as 2-time defending KY State Fair homebrew champ in category 15, German Wheat and Rye Beer.

        1. Yeah, yeah.

          My real complaint is that I’ve yet to have Weihenstephaner on tap, to really put it in it’s place in my list.

          The Pazzo guys have opened a specialty beer and take-out growler bar in Lex, The Beer Trappe. 8 taps and they rotate them out. I wish they had more wits and weizens (Seriously… 8 taps and 7 have IPAs?), but it is still an impressive collection. And it’s all loose bottle.

        2. I’ll claim some authority here, due the accidental detonation of five gallons worth of chocolate porter “grenades” located in my refrigerator during the summer of 2004.

          The popping bottles were triggered by a combination of several hurricane related power outages, and my own piss poor judgment regarding which fridge stayed connected to the generator.

          If anything there ought to be a Federal law against hurricanes…

      2. A list containing hefes that doesnt include Weihenstephaner is epic fail.

        This is the truest thing.

    3. Dogfish Head 120 minute IPA
      Dogfish Head World Wide Stout
      Boulevard Long Strange Tripel
      Cantillion Gueuze
      Basement Brewing India Ink
      Goose Island Bourbon Stout
      Olympia!

      1. Dogfish Head 120 minute IPA – yes
        Dogfish Head World Wide Stout – yes yes
        Boulevard Long Strange Tripel – yes yes yes
        Cantillion Gueuze – have not had this
        Basement Brewing India Ink – on my “dying to try” list
        Goose Island Bourbon Stout – had it on tap but thought Dick’s Bourbon Oak Stout was better
        Olympia! – beer for after mowing the lawn

    4. Ommegang’s Three Philosophers is tasty as well.

      Corsendonk Brown Ale needs some love too.

      1. OG Hennepin is good too. But I’m not super familiar with saisons to know how it ranks with the European labels.

        1. I really like Hennepin, its my go to summer drinkin beer.

          Dupont and Fantome are the two big saison breweries in Europe. Both have some really good stuff but are pricy. Especially Fantome. I will take Hennepin as the “best buy”, but the others are damn good.

          I had another Saison over the weekend that I cant remember the name of, but it was cheaper than the Saison Dupont and very tasty.

          None of the American made ones Ive had can hang with Hennepin.

          1. Was it Golden Cap? I had it on draft at the Lexington Beer Festival last year and really liked it. But when I got a six-pack from Jungle Jim’s I didn’t care for it at all. Don’t know it it was old or a brewing error, but it was IPA-level bitter and hoppy.

            1. Hennepin is my go-to favorite commercial saison, it introduced me to Ommegang, but I prefer mine.

              ginger, orange peel, star anise, coriander, seeds of paradise? check.

              1. The one Im kegging tonight is spiced with just ginger, orange peel, and gop.

                1. gop? I’m not familiar with that.

                  1. gop==Grains of paradise. Same things as your seeds of paradise.

            2. Was it Golden Cap?

              Nah, something Belgian I bought at The Keg in Clarksville.

          2. Check out the Great Divide Colette Farmhouse Ale for an excellent American variation on a saison

      2. I got mugged by Three Philosophers one night…

    5. 1. Ommegang Witte
      2. Ayinger Ur-Weisse
      3. Gingo K….

      But THAT makes it through the “English Only” filter? ok then.

    6. Synth-pop and wheat beer … you can tell us, SugarFree.

      1. My confession is that I really, really don’t like heavily hopped beers. I have that thing where you taste bitter very strongly. I have a very wide palate, but something like an ESB? I don’t understand how humans can drink it. Tastes like poison to me. (To each, his own, of course.)

        1. ESB is not a heavily hopped beer. It actually leans more towards the malt side of the balance.

          1. Following up, looking at style guidelines, ESBs tend to be balanced (between hops and malt) to slightly bitter. Fuller’s is the exception, its much maltier than the typical ESB, although I think of it as the standard.

            But anyway, ESBs arent hoppy if you have been hanging out in IPA land.

            1. Be that as it may, it still tastes like poison. To me. Which is all that matters to me.

              1. Be that as it may, it still tastes like poison. To me. Which is all that matters to me.

                That’s fine. Opinions are like you. But Im gonna call you out on factual things like saying an ESB is “heavily hopped”.

        2. Ah, you have a feminine palate.

          NTTATWWT! 😉

          Can you drink helles or pilsner styles?

          1. Yeah, IPAs and certain ESBs are the only things I don’t really care for. I had an Avery Maharaja recently and I wanted to cauterize my tongue to get the taste out.

            1. I would hate to be you on that basis alone

        3. I will often sneeze a couple of times (fairly violently) if I have something that is very highly hopped.

          It doesn’t stop me from drinking IPAs, though. Just a strange reaction.

          1. Not that strange. It is from a flower, after all. You might be mildly allergic.

            1. I think it’s more a reaction to bitterness or some such. Very dark chocolate (>70% cocoa) will do it to me as well. York Peppermint Patties (for some goddamn reason). Other very strong mints.

    7. I like the Franz Dunkel Hefe. great flavor with the same yeasty goodness as the hefe weiss

    8. Anything Efes is hard to list, as the quality seems to go up and down with each bottle or pitcher. It was hard to find my limit in Istanbul because the Efes Pilsen was different from hour to hour.

  13. Their PR/legislative agenda for the next 5 years:

    1. We employ too many Americans who are losing to unfair foreign competition and need subsidies and high import tariffs to survive

    2. We propose the American Purity Law of 2015 in order to ensure that only gubmint-certified grain, hops and urine are used in brewing beer to push out our smaller competition

    You’ll know when they start hiring former GM and Chrysler execs…

    1. Considering none of AB, Miller or Coors are American companies, I dont see that happening.

      AB is Belgian (or BraziloBelgian)
      Miller is British (or South African, but SAB is based in London)
      Coors is Canadian.

    2. Except MillerCoors and AB/InBev are the foreign competition. Boston Beer Co is the largest American beer company.

  14. Currently on tap: Five Dog Red, Buckwheat Wit.
    Just racked to secondary: Juniper IPA
    On Deck: ???

    1. Buckwheat wit sounds interesting, got a recipe to share?

      1. Pretty much a standard Wit recipe with boiled buckwheat instead of the wheat. You’ll have to gelatinize the buckwheat starches prior to the mash (still working on the best way to do this). I’ve tried straight boiled and, doing a cereal mash. Both are a pain in the ass but, the beer is delicious.

        (from memory)
        5 lb 2-row
        4 lb buckwheat (uncooked)
        .5 lb flaked oats.
        (don’t remember the hop schedule off-hand)
        coriander
        cardamom
        bitter orange peel

  15. Craft beer is pushing itself on the path of wine, more aligned to appreciation and enjoyment in the flavor of beer. Unfortunately, 90% of the population still sees beer as the light yellow stuff with no flavor.

    To the comment about craft beer being owned by the Big 2, that is not true. The countries biggest craft beer are not true ‘mircobreweries’ but are still independently owned. Sierra Nevada, Boston Beer Company, Stone, Dogfishhead, Anchor, Bells the list goes on.

    True microbreweries are usually localized or regional and independent. I have 9-10 of these ‘local’ microbreweries in our Asheville, North Carolina area.

  16. BANDIT: Wait a minute. Why do you want that beer so bad?

    LITTLE ENOS: Because he’s thirsty, dummy.

    1. +1 Snowman

  17. The only beer I can’t get now that I miss is Bell’s Two-Hearted.

    Nowadays? Allagash White, anything from Left Hand, Smuttynose or Harpoon (including UFO Witbier), Dogfish Head, and Ipswich IPA or Oatmeal Stout are where it’s at.

    1. Bell’s 2-hearted is one of the greatest beers on the earth.

      Except for the 2 recent infected batches. Glad I didnt get ahold of any of those.

      1. Yep. Wish we could get Bell’s in the lA area.

    2. I had Allagash White on a recent trip to NYC, but it was from the dregs of a keg, so I didn’t get a really good read on it.

    3. There’s a bar nearby that offers mostly m’eh (Asshat #9) but then has Two Hearted. I’ve never asked but I assume the owner is a Michigan transplant.

      1. Hmm. I’m with you on #9. New England has lots of great small breweries, but Magic Hat is the only vastly overrated one.

        1. If Magic Hat’s beers were as good as their packaging, they’d be one of the best brewers in the country. As it is, they are not even close

        2. Magic Hat is a bunch of crap. How do they stay in business and Catamount disappears?

          1. I had forgotten about Catamount. They made some good stuff

            1. I agree. Magic Hat is also like 5th largest craft brewery (by production)

  18. My desert island 6-tap:

    Bell’s 2-hearted
    Sam Smith Nut Brown
    Fuller’s ESB
    Chimay Grande Reserve
    Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier
    Uerige Dopplesticke (I usually put an Ofest in here, but, eh, I need a 7th tap)

  19. I live in the microbrewing mecca that is Boulder, CO, and I have to say it’s wonderful.

    The stuff from Avery is probably my favorite.

    1. In CO I really like Odell Cutthroat Porter.

  20. The one thing that West Texas lacks is any kind of local brewing industry or beer appreciation culture.

    Which sucks.

    The liquor store has an occasionally adequate selection of good beer, which helps, but its just not the same when its not on tap.

    1. Texans are philistines when it comes to beer. When Shiner is considered “premium”, there is a problem.

      1. Pfffffft, wh–, psh–, awwwwwww.

      2. Well it is better than Pearl.

      3. Texans are philistines when it comes to beer. When Shiner is considered “premium”, there is a problem.

        This is exactly like saying: Americans are philistines when it comes to beer. When Michelob is considered “premium”, there is a problem.

        Just because you’ve never heard of Real Ale, Live Oak, Southern Star, St. Arnold, (512), etc. doesn’t mean they’re not brewing great beer.

        1. I have heard of all of that. I lived in Texas for years. And actually I think Shiner isn’t bad beer. I was just kidding RC.

          1. I had a Shiner Rauchbier flavored with hickory smoke. It was pretty good. Some of the Shiner specialty beers are decent. Shiner Bock kind of sucks.

          2. Adjusting offense/humor toggle… and set.

  21. No love for Victory, my current and always favorite?

    Just brewed 80 gallons for a friend’s party:

    20 gal pilsner
    15 gal ipa
    5 gal dipa
    10 gal stout
    10 gal amber ale
    10 gal american wheat
    10 gal altbier

    At home
    5 gal maibock
    5 gal ipa
    10 gal double amber ale
    5 gal belgian tripel w/ chai

    It’s a thirsty season.

    1. Victory’s good stuff. Their Storm King Stout’s very tasty.

    2. Hop Devil is fantastic, and their saison is top notch as well

    3. I love virtually all of Victory’s offerings. My GF’s from the D-town area and we go to their brewpub and pick up the fresh stuff when we visit.

  22. Three friends and I are going to Milwaukee to celebrate shitty beer for three days at the end of this month. We have christened it Shitbeercation. We do have lives (debateable I know) but sometimes you just need to go slumming.

    Beer, it’s what’s for breakfast

    1. All I wanna do is drink beer for breakfast
      All I wanna eat is them BBQ chips
      All I want is someone just to try to protect us
      You can try but you’d never wanna try to defend us

  23. I’m heading to my local soon to drink the k?lsch they have on draft.

    YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM

    God damn I love German and Bohemian beer.

    1. If you’re ever in Chicago try Kr?nkshaft K?lsch from Metropolitan. Now THAT’S a summer beer…

      1. Will do. If you’re ever in London don’t try the Meantime K?lsch style. That’s one shitty, shitty beer.

        K?ppers is the one at my local, and is pretty good. Only 5 mins to go to beer time!

  24. For everyday drinking:

    Dog Fish Head 60 minute
    Troegs Hopback Amber
    Dale’s Pale Ale
    Brewer’s Art Ozzy
    Lakefront IPA
    Grain Belt Premium (for hot days and baseball games)

  25. While not exactly a hot bed of craft brewing, New Jersey does have two excellent breweries. Boak’s is a small brewery in Northern NJ started up by a guy who was a homebrewer. Distribution is limited but grab some if you see any bottles.

    Flying FIsh is located in South Jersey and they are putting together an impressive roster of beers. CHeck out their IPA and Pale Ale, and any of their Turnpike Exit Series of specialty beers get very high marks.

    Would it be a dickish move if I posted a link to my beer blog on this thread about beer? Screw it, I am a dick. My blog is called Tilting Suds and you can find it here:

    http://tiltingsuds.wordpress.com/

  26. Beer, it’s always about the beer.

    I did place well at the Mazer Cup International this year 😉

  27. The local brew pub (Hog Haus, Fayetteville, AR) has 22 oz. happy hour pilsners for around $2.50, and their brewer specializes in bitters and pale ales. So I can get excellent beer for a really modest price.

    1. When the local baseball team is doing $1 Bud Light night, the brewpub attached, but outside the stadium, does $1 beer night too. And yet some people choose $1 Bud Light over $1 craft beers. Huh.

  28. I would like to point out that beer sales being down by 2.2 percent in 2009 is a national embarassment. Did some of our ringers die, or did the recession cause people to head for the spirits aisle?

  29. I would like to propose that Keystone is the worst beer in the world. A freshly opened can tastes as if it has already been used for an ashtray.

    1. Seconded, with co-nominations for Schlitz and Meisterbrau.

      1. I’m assuming you haven’t had the ’60s formula Schlitz (what you generally get in longnecks and on draft these days)? It puts most other macro lagers to shame…

        1. The last time I had an Schlitz was when I was in college and some unknown benefactor donated about fifteen cases of it to my fraternity. We all sat around looking at it and then dug in. I can say that wasn’t a good beer, but luckily I was soon drunk enough to no longer detect its subtle taste profile.

        2. One of my boy scout leaders told me one of the first ‘dirty’ jokes I heard as a 12-year-old young lad:

          They had to stop selling beer at the beach — the girls kept getting sand in their Schlitz.

    2. Corona sucks as well. I have never understood the appeal of that stuff

  30. I don’t think you can discount the impact that a growing marijuana consumption base is having on the industry as well. When it’s legalized it will provide healthy competition to alcohol. That can’t be a bad thing.

    1. I don’t partake myself, but if some of my friends are any indication (including some professional brewers) I don’t think the two are in competition at all.

      1. i’ve actually had some great no. cal weed that paired great with some no. cal ipa’s like racer 5. competition? more like a marriage made in heaven.

  31. Ten Fidy…it’s black as pitch, pours like used motor oil, and comes in a can, but it’s one of the best dark beers I’ve ever had. Got turned on to it while in D.C. at the Brickskeller, which should be a mandatory stop for beer fans.

  32. Smuttynose from New Hampshire makes some great beers, and they are usually priced competitively. They recently released the Big IPA which is their take on an Imperial IPA. It is not a West Coast Hop Bomber by any means, but it is still really good

  33. while I’m not the beer connoisseur you guys are, I have consumed quite a bit of the cheap stuff over the years, so I know a good beer when I taste it. And the best beer I’ve ever had was the Heineken on tap they served at the end of the brewery tour in Amsterdam…..its been 10 years now and I can still taste it…ummm!

  34. The best beer I’ve ever had is my own.

    Brandeis Brewing Club FTW!

  35. If you ever visit the Smokey Mountain’s I recommend a visit to the restaurants in Gatlinburg right by the park entrance on the main drag. They all serve beers from the Smokey Mountain Brewery which is located there and also has a restaurant. Great beer. I especially like the Tuckaleechee Porter. Their restaurant is pretty good too but you can also get their beer at Calhoons which has great ribs as well as a couple other restaurants in the area.

  36. Green Flash West Coast IPA
    Victory Hop Wallop
    Victory Prima Pils
    Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
    Dogfish Head 90 Minute
    Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
    Victory Whirlwind
    Yuengling Porter
    Negra Modelo
    …and lots of homebrews

    1. Don’t forget Victory Golden Monkey.

  37. My dad, the homebrewer, is adamant that Budweiser used to be a much better beer than it is now–it used to be a real Pilsner with all of the bite and flavor that implies.

    He and I haven’t talked about the other “legacy” beers like Miller or Coors, but I suspect the same is true of them.

  38. I wish I could Oberdorfer beer again…

    1. I wish I could find Oberdorfer beer again…

  39. The big beer makers are in trouble because, in a Depression, people look for more cost effective ways to get inebriated.

  40. Gotta mention some of Three Floyd’s brews. Always liked Alpha King and Robert the Bruce.
    Bell’s and Clipper City out of Baltimore are probably my favorite breweries at the moment. Bell’s had a Sparkling Ale that was on the shelf for a month before it disappeared that was pretty good.
    Anyone ever had an IPA called Racer 5? I think it’s out of Bear Republic in CA, but I’m not sure.

  41. Finally after weeks of waiting and anticipation!! Blackhawks run in the Stanley Cup Finals take them to the top of the event rankings .I’m sure that Chicago Blackhawks Tickets will be a sell-out too! Chicago has ALWAYS been a hockey town.
    http://www.ticketsinventory.co…..s-tickets/

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