In Praise of Budweiser (contains extended footnotes)

by Daniel on May 10, 2007

I tend to regard myself as Crooked Timber’s online myrmidon of a number of rather unpopular views; among other things, as regular readers will have seen, I believe that the incitement to religious hatred legislation was a good idea (perhaps badly executed), that John Searle has it more or less correct on the subject of artificial intelligence, that Jacques Derrida deserves his high reputation and that George Orwell was not even in the top three essayists of the twentieth century[1]. I’m a fan of Welsh nationalism. Oh yes, the Kosovo intervention was a crock too. At some subconscious level I am aware that my ideas about education are both idiotic and unspeakable. But I think that all of these causes are regarded as at least borderline sane by at least one fellow CT contributor. There is only one major issue on which I stand completely alone, reviled by all. And it’s this; Budweiser (by which I mean the real Budweiser, the beer which has been sold under that brand by Anheuser-Busch since 1876) is really quite a good beer. I have been threatening this post in comments for a while now, and here it is:

I am perhaps biased in this because Budweiser was the beer I was brought up on. When I was a kid, we lived in Oklahoma for a couple of years, which was at the time one of the states where the brewers sold beer that was 3.2% alcohol in order to comply with local regulations. My mum and dad therefore reasoned that it was a suitable beverage for ten-year-olds to have with Sunday lunch[2]. I didn’t actually like beer all that much at the time and only took a few sips in order to feel grown up, but I suspect that it probably had some formative effect.

So anyway, anti-Budweiserism, the form of mindless anti-Americanism that even anti-anti-Americans are prepared to endorse. The facts of the matter are as set out below: (by the way, I heartily recommend Maureen Ogle’s book “Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer (which has not gone down well with beer snobs. And just because I’m so happy to have found the Ogle book, here’s her blog)

  • Budweiser has been around for at least as long as your “traditional” British ales, most of which also date back to the Victorian period. The Anheuser-Busch company began selling it in 1876. This was a full 20 years before the Budvar brewery in Ceske Budejowice was even built, a subject I will come back to. The recipe has not changed since then, apart from a period during Prohibition when the alcohol content was reduced to 0.5% in order to comply with the law. It is an authentic, traditional product just like the ones CAMRA promotes.

  • Budweiser is not “full of chemicals”. It does not comply with the German “Purity Law”, but this is because it has a non-barley grain in it (rice). The Rheinheitsgebot is a stupid law in any case, and was originally passed not to safeguard the sacred purity of German fluids (a concept that ought to be regarded as suspicious in its own right, as history has shown that when the Germans get keen on “purity” it is not always a wholly positive development) but to preserve wheat for making bread. Budweiser is brewed with barley, hops, yeast and rice, and has a small amount of tannin in it from the beech chips used in conditioning. It’s a natural product. It is not “processed” either; it’s filtered to remove sediment (in other words, it’s a lager) and the bottled version is pasteurised, like Budvar or Guinness . Unlike Guinness, however, it isn’t served using a nitrokeg process.

  • Budweiser has rice in it. So what? So do Asahi and Kirin of Japan, Bintang of Indonesia and Efes of Turkey, and nobody has such a hate on about them. Lots of the people who claim to hate Budweiser will out of the same mouth discourse long and pretentious about the merits of sake. Rice is a perfectly sensible bulk grain to make beer out of if you want a light lager, particularly in countries like America which grow a protein-rich strain of barley. Plenty of real ale types will maintain that Anheuser-Busch uses rice in its brewing in order to save money, which shows a worrying lack of curiosity, as anyone making this argument can’t possibly have looked at the price of rice and the price of barley. Adolphus Busch in 1876 was a German master brewer of exactly the sort that beer nuts go gooey over, he was trying to make a high quality beer (as proved by Budweiser’s use of expensive Saaz hops), and he decided that the best way to brew a lager was to use rice.

  • Budweiser does not taste like piss. Normal urine has a pH of 4.6 to 8.0. Budweiser, like most lagers, has a pH of around 4.0. Therefore, Budweiser is definitely more acidic than piss. It’s also just the ticket if you happen to be drinking beer for breakfast, as the fresh taste of the rice content goes particularly well with most cereals (it is not coincidental that nobody has yet marketed Barley Krispies).

  • Budweiser is not for poofs. In fact, it is Bud Light which is the Anheuser-Busch brand targeted at the gay community, not Adolphus Busch’s original recipe.

  • No, bollocks to your “microbreweries”. These so-called “craft brewers” are a newfangled modern invention and have very little to do with the traditions of the brewing industry. We have no real way of knowing what beer tasted like in Ye Olden Days Of Bavaria Etc, but it was probably horrible. Beer as it is drunk today is a product of the Industrial Revolution; it was arguably the first recognisably modern industry. It is not an artisanal product and up until very recently could not be produced in small batches at all with any acceptable consistency of quality. “Microbrews” are in general wildly overpriced – some of them are quite nice because they use extremely expensive ingredients, but they are not intrinsically better than industrially produced beers. There are good and bad industrially produced beers – I am only arguing here that Budweiser is one of the good ones, because it has an excellent pedigree, it is 100% natural, the recipe has never been altered and it has never compromised on the quality of ingredients. This is not true of a lot of competing American (and Australian, the sad state of whose brewing industry probably merits a post from someone more familiar with it than me) beers.

  • Budweiser did not rip off the poor little Czech government. Budweiser did not steal the Czechs brand name. Budweiser is not a copy of Budvar. Budvar is not the original Budweiser. Budweiser does not use malicious lawsuits to keep the honest Czechs down. And a number of related issues. Ahem.

As I mentioned above, there is no question at all over which beer has been sold for the longest under the brand name “Budweiser”. It is the Anheuser-Busch product. The Budejowicky Budvar brewery sold beer under the brand name “Budvar”, (because that’s what the brewery is called) for most of its history until in the 1960s they realised that they might be able to stick on a few export sales if they put “Budweiser” in bigger type on the labels.

Anheuser-Busch had got the trademark on “Budweiser” internationally, and defended it in a pretty reasonable fashion. It is true that “Budweiser” is a generic term for beer from Budweis in the same fashion as “Pilsner”. (I parametrically note that the word “Budweiser” seems to me to be the only German place name that Czech nationalists get all proprietorial about, with the possible exception of Prague/Praha. IMO, if they want to be consistent, we should go back to Budweis, Pilsen, Carlsbad, and in general fewer diacritics on the road signs). But of course, Budvar didn’t want to establish it as a generic term – they wanted to claim the “Budweiser” trademark for themselves. “Bavaria” is also a pretty generic term, by the way, but somehow the Bavarians, who certainly care about their beer, don’t get so bent out of shape about it being trademarked by the Dutch.

However, in a number of European countries, Anheuser-Busch have either lost judgements or ended up settling out of court on disadvantageous terms to themselves (mainly France and Germany; Budweiser is marketed as “Bud” in a lot of Mediterranean countries, but this is because the name is easier to pronounce).

On the merits of the case, it appears to me that A-B have got pretty badly screwed in quite a few jurisdictions. As a pure trademark case, it certainly seems that they have got priority, so the Czechs’ case tends to revolve around “Budweiser” being a geographical indication. But this really doesn’t fit in with the reality of the brewing industry. Beer is an industrial product, not an agricultural one. It’s made from grain, a standardised commodity. Breweries can and do move from one location to another. There’s no real basis for a geographic appellation scheme for beer.

It seems not impossible to me that in a few cases, the legal judgements may have been coloured by the prejudices of beer snobs for a beer that wasn’t Budweiser. It wouldn’t be the first time it had happened.. The notorious “Beer Orders” of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in 1989 were basically a love letter to Camra. They had very little economic reasoning (the consumer interest in the beer market was in local monopolies in pubs, not large brewers) and they did very little to halt the slow decline of the independent UK brewing sector – all they did was create the “Pubco” specialist pub operating companies which – guess what – the real ale types are now whining about. (John Kay thinks that the Beer Orders were good for the licensed trade, but not in a way which the connoisseur would find congenial).

People seem to lose all rationality when dealing with things like beer. Football clubs are a bit similar – all sorts of idiotic and dishonest business practices are tolerated there, and people like Simon Jordan who try to insist that people honour contracts, tell the truth and don’t self-deal in business transactions get disciplinary hearings and dark mutterings that they are “not football people”. Meanwhile, it seems pretty clear to me that if Robert Mugabe were to buy West Ham tomorrow and promise to spend £100m on players, he’d be described as “a slightly controversial figure, but beloved in East London” by the end of the week. One good thing about countries like America where everyone with an income greater than a subsistence farmer but less than a Russian oligarch calls themselves “middle class” is that they don’t have this phenomenon of sensible middle class people doing silly things in order to pretend to be working class. Another good thing about America, of course, is Budweiser beer.

Coming next: Mick Hucknall is an excellent songwriter and Simply Red stand up very well as one of the best soul bands of the last thirty years.

[1] JM Keynes, JK Galbraith and Elizabeth David were all better, IMO.
[2] Actually this was something of a miscalculation on their part. In one of those irritating measurement discrepancies which occasionally bring down satellites, Oklahoma’s regulations define alcoholic strength by weight, rather than by volume under the European standard[3]. The “weak” Budweiser was actually 4.1% ABV, which made it substantially stronger than a lot of British beer of the time, including Robinsons’ bitter[4] and Wrexham Lager[5], for which my Dad was occasionally nostalgic while we were there. But no permanent harm was done.

[3] We really had no chance of understanding this one. The British standard for measuring the alcoholic strength of beer at the time was “original gravity”, which can of course be converted to ABV by subtracting the final gravity, a number you were not usually given, and dividing by 0.00738. Strangely, few tears were shed when this relic of the days of chains, bushels and furlongs was discarded in favour of a more sensible European metric.

[4] Robinsons is actually a local beer brewed and sold around Stockport in Greater Manchester, but they had quite a bit of tied estate in North Wales, presumably in order to reduce the culture shock experienced by holidaying Lancastrians.

[5] “Wrequest Wrexham Lager: The Local Hero”[6], as its ad campaign of the 80s went[7]. One of the genuinely awful beers of Britain; I and everyone else assumed that it was some horrible creation of a corporate marketing department but no, it was actually a local tradition that had been around since 1882 and had been desperately unpopular for its entire existence (it is now apparently, and deservedly, extinct) and went into insolvency roughly once every twenty years. Sold more or less exclusively through tied houses owned by the increasingly despairing Allied Breweries (later Carlsberg-Tetley), and in extraordinarily cheap and nasty cans and polyurethane bottles through the off-trade. No doubt there are a bunch of real ale enthusiasts out there who are prepared to claim it tasted better than Budweiser.

[6] Actually, the Wrexham Lager brewery was started by German immigrants, and thus the current inhabitants of Wrexham would probably have burned it down. The town had anti-asylum-seeker riots in 2003 despite having no asylum seekers there (they had a small community of about 40 Iraqi Kurd immigrants and got the wrong end of the stick). The BNP polled 9.4% there in the recent local government elections, on the back of local dislike of Polish and Portugese workers (there is no Kurdish community in Wrexham any more as all 40 of them decided to go to Birmingham or somewhere). As post-industrial hellholes go, Wrexham really is thoroughly deserving of its EU Objective One money; it doesn’t even have particularly nice scenery surrounding it. About the nicest thing you can say about Wrexham is that they don’t make Wrexham Lager there any more.

[7] An entirely counterproductive slogan because the North Wales coast is a really quite parochial place and we certainly didn’t regard Wrexham as “local”; they talked funny there and local mythology held them responsible for our heroin problem. I suspect that the ad agency people hadn’t spent much time in Wrexham, although thinking about it this is pretty obvious; Wrexham did not have much of a media industry[8] and if you’ve got a job in an ad agency (or for that matter a job at all) you’re not going to visit Wrexham very often.

[8] The media capital of North Wales would of course be Caernarfon, home to the Sain record company (basically the Bertelsmann Group of nashie culture; Wales is like one of those Balkan republics where the pop music industry is heavily entwined with nationalist politics, albeit that Dafydd Iwan is both a more serious musician and in general a more progressive political figure than Arkan) and to the Northern office of the Cardiff kiddie CGI titans (“Fireman Sam”, “Superted” and about a dozen others) Siriol Productions. Wikipedia is completely untrustworthy on this one, by the way, listing Wrexham as “the main commercial, educational and cultural centre in North Wales and often termed ‘The capital of North Wales’”[9]

[9] No, I am not going to let this one lie. Those arrogant Wrexhamites cannot have this one all their own way. This aggression will not stand. Let’s look at that little list shall we? Wrexham is the main “commercial” centre? I think not; the town’s main industry is tripping over paving stones. Main “educational centre”? Really? NEWI is more prestigious than UCNW Bangor is it? Which one of these is the UK’s premier research centre for marine biology, with a medical school and a well-regarded School of Banking and Finance, and which one is a jumped-up teacher training college? “Cultural centre”? The Welsh National Opera plays in Llandudno when it comes North, not Wrexham; there is only one theatre in Wrexham and it is about a third of the size of Theatr Gwynedd in Bangor. Even the “ooh la di da, look at us, we play in the English League, the Principality Building Society League of Wales isn’t good enough for us [10]Wrexham FC[11] is not the power it once was (insolvency and a three year legal battle trying to prevent the chairman from selling the stadium will do that to you). The only place that is often termed “The capital of North Wales” is Liverpool.

[10] In fairness, I cannot actually blame them for this; the Principality Building Society League of Wales isn’t good enough for anyone. Its only claim to fame is that about ten years ago (when it was called the Konica League of Wales), David Taylor of Porthmadog FC won[10a] the Golden Boot for having scored the most goals in league football in Europe, making him undisputably the equal of Ronaldo, Marco van Basten etc.

[10a] Actually, although David Taylor was indisputably the highest scorer in Europe in 1993-94, he didn’t officially win the Golden Boot. The sponsoring body for that trophy had suspended it in 1990-91 after a nasty argument and legal tussle involving a player in the equally pointless and uncompetitive Cyprus football league who was demanding to be awarded it for scoring 40 goals past clubs that nobody was even sure if they existed. The Golden Boot was only reinstated in 1996, with some bogus stipulation that places a greater weight on goals scored past teams like AC Milan relative to goals scored past Abergavenny Thursdays or NEWI Cefn Druids (both actual teams from the League of Wales and by no means the worst ones). What a chiz, I ask you. Tony Bird of Barry Town and Marc Lloyd Williams of Bangor City have already been screwed out of their rightful honours in this way.

[11] I get an uncomfortable feeling that I ought to be writing the article rather than just piling up footnotes having a go at Wrexham, but I am determined to shoehorn in a reference to Mickey Thomas[12] as Wrexham FC’s third most famous ex-player after Ian Rush and after his contemporary, the iconic Joey Jones.

[12] Mickey Thomas will always be identified in North Wales with Wrexham as he played for them at the beginning and end of his career, but he was actually born in Mochdre[13] (literally “Pig-Town”) further to the West. Mickey Thomas was something of a larger than life character who played for Manchester United during one of their unsuccessful periods in the early 1980s. He is most famous in football for his ability to earn free kicks by play-acting (he claims, undeservedly), and outside football for presenting a radio show, getting arrested for his part in a counterfeiting racket in 1993 (a forged note is still called a “Mickey Thomas” in North Wales I am told) and being stabbed in the bum with a screwdriver by a jealous husband.

[13] Apparently Mochdre was the first place in the world where trackside water troughs were used so that steam trains could take on water without having to stop, as if anyone gives a fuck. Oh yeh, and NEWI Cefn Druids can trace their history back to the original Druids FC, the oldest club in Wales and therefore are the oldest football club anywhere in the world outside England. To be honest I’m now just trawling through Wikipedia looking for fascinating facts (many of which are probably just disinformation put there by passing Wrexhamites) and diminishing returns have surely set in. Back to the article about Budweiser.
[14] I have a feeling that neither Kieran nor John are going to be particularly big fans of this endnoting strategy, particularly this last endnote which is not even referenced anywhere in the text.

{ 10 trackbacks }

KING. OF. BEERS. | FreakyTrigger
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NForget.com | Level One, Nathan Forget's Blog » Blog Archive » links for 2007-05-11
05.11.07 at 7:19 am
In which I allow for a grudging respect of Budweiser » Almost Blue
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05.15.07 at 2:31 am

{ 223 comments }

1

stostosto 05.10.07 at 8:46 pm

What you say about Budweiser may well be true. It doesn’t taste very well, though.

2

Henry (not the famous one) 05.10.07 at 8:55 pm

So Miller Brewing Company was exaggerating when it took out ads in the 1970s saying that “beechwood aged” meant throwing some pieces of chemically treated lumber into the vats?

I look forward to volume two through seven of this series, in which you explain the virtues of Iron City, Lone Star, Voodoo, Genesee, Narragansett and Lucky Lager. I still have some cans of Razorback Beer (made by the same criminals who produce Lone Star and Voodoo, I believe) somewhere.

3

otto 05.10.07 at 8:59 pm

So the last few times you were in a pub, you drank Budweiser, right? Or is this just cheap talk.

4

Matthew 05.10.07 at 9:04 pm

It doesn’t taste very nice though, does it?

5

Matthew 05.10.07 at 9:05 pm

Ah, I didn’t see comment one. I thought I was the first person to comment, but it took so long to read the footnotes obviously someone else got in there.

6

Ian 05.10.07 at 9:09 pm

One more thing in favour of mainstream American beers, incl Bud: in my humble experience, most common-garden American bars, restaurants and corner stores keep their bottles consistently and mildly chilled, at around 5-7 C I’m guessing. The Corona fad may be shifting this in some quarters, but in general the mild chilling is perfect for nurturing the flavours – in contrast to the excessive temperatures (either way) at which British & Antipodean beers are often stored and served. This assumes we’re talking about beer rather than about some tribal signifier, ref your point about the disconnect between beer and rationality even before consumption.

7

nick s 05.10.07 at 9:18 pm

I use the ‘American beer display’ metric, in which beers are divided into ‘cheap stuff’ and ‘not cheap stuff’. Bud generally sits at the ‘good’ end of the cheap stuff fridge, or the ‘bad’ end of the ‘not cheap stuff’ fridge.

We have no real way of knowing what beer tasted like in Ye Olden Days Of Bavaria Etc, but it was probably horrible.

Most ‘historic recipe’ beers taste atrocious: there’s ‘King Cnut Ale’ done by St Peter’s — an otherwise great brewery, based in the sticks of East Anglia — that’s for masochists only. Sam Adams also had a set of weird concoctions recently, too.

8

catchy 05.10.07 at 9:20 pm

Daniel –

“Budweiser does not taste like piss. Normal urine has a pH of 4.6 to 8.0. Budweiser, like most lagers, has a pH of around 4.0. Therefore, Budweiser is definitely more acidic than piss.”

First, I’m guessing you have never tasted yours or anyone else’s piss. If you had, you’d know that the pH balance isn’t really the salient feature of piss’s taste or even its tang.

In my experience, the flavor overlap of piss + Bud are quite remarkable.

Both are acceptable and desirable alternatives to Coors.

9

abb1 05.10.07 at 9:20 pm

It doesn’t taste good, I agree. Otherwise it’s great.

10

catchy 05.10.07 at 9:24 pm

p.s. “John Searle has it more or less correct on the subject of artificial intelligence”

Are you nuts? Consciousness is a unique causal power of our brain’s chemistry?

If you’ll swallow that, you may as well swallow your own piss.

11

sharon 05.10.07 at 9:24 pm

One thing is true: Wrexham is one of the most depressing shitholes I’ve ever had the misfortune to pass through. (Several times, a few years ago on a weekly journey to Ruthin, which is a cute place with some very nice archivists, but nearly fucking impossible to get to by public transport from anywhere else in Wales.) And Wrexham Lager was utter piss. Fizzy piss.

I’m still not convinced by the pro-Bud argument though. But I’m not a huge lager fan. Quite like Corona, but only if it has its pretentious lime slice in the top obviously.

12

Jay Conner 05.10.07 at 9:24 pm

The horse experiment has never been done in a properly controlled setting, for while a horse will happily eat the A-B Blend of barley and rice, and even drink pH adjusted water, the horse can never be induced to eat an adequate amount of hops.

13

Gene O'Grady 05.10.07 at 9:25 pm

Although I disagree with you on most of the list at the top of your piece, like Kosovo, I also tend to like Budweiser, not that I’m much of a beer drinker.

But it isn’t just anti-Americans, or even anti-anti- Americans, one catches flak from. Several times I’ve been enjoying a little Budweiser and had a red blooded American come up to me and say something to the effect of “Budweiser? I always thought you had taste.”

14

Nix 05.10.07 at 9:25 pm

I feel it’s time to take out a large advert in the Times or Private Eye or some similarly important journal: `Daniel quite a fan of Wrexham really’. This is simultaneously enigmatic enough to cause a stir, and obviously true. :)

15

Richard 05.10.07 at 9:25 pm

Shout out to Liz David! I don’t know anything about beer, but anyone who appreciates Liz’s limpid elegance is all right in my book.0

the Czechs’ case tends to revolve around “Budweiser” being a geographical indication

cf. Champagne, Chablis, Bordeaux – all of which I’ve seen on the sides of bottles of the nastiest battery acid the US can produce. I understand the French have complained quite a bit about this, but I don’t see any legal repercussions for the US (perhaps because US producers realise they can’t shift that stuff in Europe).

16

Ssezi 05.10.07 at 9:28 pm

Horses for courses, when drank at moderate temperatures Bud has a definite tang to it and an almost rotting overtone, which is probably where the “tastes like piss” idea came from. This is not surprising because sake also is tangy and smells like rotten vegetables when warmed, however much one thinks it makes them look sophisticated to drink. Given this relationship I suppose the rice is responsible and that is my objection to beers brewed with rice, and no I’m not a big fan of Asahi, Kirin etc. either.

On the other hand when chilled to refrigerated temperatures, which removes most of the flavor notes in all beverages, Bud has a pleasant hint of malt without the apparent weight that most so-called craft or micro brews have, making it a great accompaniment to a summer BBQ in the typically sweltering American summer. Why anyone would want to drink refrigerated beer in most European climes, or during winter, is beyond me though.

17

John Emerson 05.10.07 at 9:33 pm

Contrarians seem to be running out of things to be contrary about.

My German great great grandfather founded a better brewery in Omaha in 1853 (a year after the start of St. Louis brewery that eventually became the Budweiser brewery.) His name was Selzer and his wife’s maiden name was Wasser, what are the odds on that? The brewery lasted for decades (after migrating to Sioux City) but succumbed to competition sometime in the twentieth century. One prohibitionist preacher was killed for the sake this brewery.

18

dsquared 05.10.07 at 9:36 pm

So the last few times you were in a pub, you drank Budweiser, right?

Yes. I actively seek it out, although few UK pubs serve it on draught. I mainly see it as a breakfast beer though; do any of these “connoissuers” really drink Belgian lambics with their cornflakes? I think not.

19

listentoyourselves 05.10.07 at 9:56 pm

Listen to yourselves. You sound like a bunch of wine snobbs. If you’re that worried about the way your beer tastes, I’d advise you to stay away from it all together. Notice I said THAT worried.

20

notsneaky 05.10.07 at 9:58 pm

Daniel’s right on this one.
Cheap beer – Pabst or Stroh’s
Medium beer – Budweiser
Expansive beer – Newcastle

21

Kevin 05.10.07 at 10:01 pm

It’s generally held that the recipe for Budweiser has changed, even in the past 25 years.

Some experts claim that Bud has decreased the amounts of those expensive Saaz hops, and that the IBU amount has been steadily dwindling. http://www.allaboutbeer.com/columns/fred4.html

I’d even argue that the recipe changes yearly or monthly, because Bud brews not for a given flavor profile, but for consistency. Trying to keep all 7 or so of it’s breweries running at the same clip requires constant changes and adjustments.

And those beechwood chips are completely inert. They only use them for clearing purposes.

22

CJColucci 05.10.07 at 10:02 pm

The distaste for Budweiser has less to do with it’s taste (or lack of it) than with its market dominance. It’s a bland, inoffensive, least-common-denominator beer. I don’t think it’s bad, I just don’t think it’s good. (No, I don’t like Japanese beers, either.) What I really don’t understand is the Rolling Rock fad. When I worked driving a beer truck 30 years ago, RR was our distributorship’s bargain beer, delivered to working class drinkers looking for a cheap buzz in blue-collar joints that trendies wouldn’t set foot in. Ten years later, yuppies were swilling it and going nuts.

23

Anderson 05.10.07 at 10:04 pm

(1) Elizabeth David would not have been caught dead drinking Budweiser.

(2) Bass rules.

That is all.

24

Anderson 05.10.07 at 10:06 pm

What I really don’t understand is the Rolling Rock fad.

Ah, we cross-commented, or I would’ve noted this.

One of the most delightful aspects of the death of Bunny, in The Secret History, is that he was clutching a Rolling Rock as Henry pushed him over. I would have cheered, had I been present.

25

voyou 05.10.07 at 10:06 pm

Budweiser strikes me as too gassy for breakfast. A nice barley wine seems more the thing – sweet, fruity, 8-12%.

(An advantage of Budweisser, though, is that, unlike Pabst, it has yet to become a favorite of the ironically-white-trash hipster).

26

Alex 05.10.07 at 10:18 pm

“Reinheit” = purity
“Rheinheit” = similarity to water from the Rhein

German – it’s not a language to play with.

BTW it was passed in 1516, a hell of a long time before anyone thought of German fluids or for that matter anything “German”.

Further, I think I’d have kept the 50 per cent of this post that is made up of footnotes devoted to a Borgesian hymn of hate to Wrexham for my own personal blog rather than this one.

27

Delicious Pundit 05.10.07 at 10:19 pm

1. I second the point that Budweiser is better understood in the context of summer in St. Louis, Mo. Your hand-crafted, fit-to-be-sliced ales are not what you’re going to be reaching for. Mexican beers understand this, also.

2. That being said, Bud really is “the one beer to have when you’re having more than six,” to steal a joke from the 70s-era National Lampoon.

3. Someone didn’t slag Genesse in the comments, did they? Because I could easily have been a teen suicide if not for the easy and illegal availability of Genny Cream. I don’t know how the kids today get by.

28

Matt Kuzma 05.10.07 at 10:28 pm

“It doesn’t taste very well, though.”

Indeed, lacking taste buds, it doesn’t taste at all, let alone doing it well.

“John Searle has it more or less correct on the subject of artificial intelligence”

Well, it’s easy to be correct when you make circular statements. Intentionality is a property of minds. Computers are not minds, so they have no intentionality, which makes them incapable of being minds. Brilliant.

Regarding your (all too exhaustive) points about Budweiser, thank you for opening my eyes to a crazy world of beer debate sophistry. I had no idea people went to so much trouble to discredit a beverage, when you really can just drink something else because you like it more. I like Belgian beers, and I don’t really care what that “says” about me, because anyone who’s reading into the quality of my beer selection is a wanker who I’m better off not knowing.

Let’s keep the polemics restricted to things that matter. Like football.

29

Kevin 05.10.07 at 10:31 pm

I second the point that Budweiser is better understood in the context of summer in St. Louis, Mo. Your hand-crafted, fit-to-be-sliced ales are not what you’re going to be reaching for. Mexican beers understand this, also.

There are a lot of tastier, more refreshing beers out there than what Mexico or Budweiser has to offer. Try a Victory Prima Pils. Try a hefeweizen.

And genny cream tastes worse than Bud. They still sell it, go get yourself one of those returnable 16 oz bottles.

30

MR. Bill 05.10.07 at 10:43 pm

That being said, Bud really is “the one beer to have when you’re having more than six,” to steal a joke from the 70s-era National Lampoon.

That’s why it’s the perfect beer for a cocaine binge.

31

SamChevre 05.10.07 at 10:43 pm

I think the definitive cheap beer is “Beast” (Milwaukee’s Best).

I’m with Dsquared–for a light lager, Budweiser isn’t a bad beer (although “Bullet”–Coors Light–is my preferred class member.)

32

dsquared 05.10.07 at 10:54 pm

Further, I think I’d have kept the 50 per cent of this post that is made up of footnotes devoted to a Borgesian hymn of hate to Wrexham for my own personal blog rather than this one.

oh alex you puritan.

33

dsquared 05.10.07 at 10:55 pm

(I would add that although the footnotes may be 50% of this post by volume, they are only 33% by weight)

34

Jay C 05.10.07 at 10:59 pm

Interesting post, Daniel; even if the Wrexham references (or are they “wreferences”?) will go over many reader’s heads. But I would take issue with your overfacile equation of anti-Budweiserism with “anti-Americanism”, however tenuous. Anti-Budweiserism is typically a manifestation of anti-bad-beer-ism: although even beer snobs will, if pressed, admit that Bud is rarely truly “BAD” – just mediocre. And while settling for mass-production mediocrity may indeed be an American trait, fortunately, it is a flaw that can be overcome.

35

sidereal 05.10.07 at 11:08 pm

Budweiser is one of the good ones, because it has an excellent pedigree, it is 100% natural, the recipe has never been altered and it has never compromised on the quality of ingredients

Interesting, because when I (unfortunately and rarely) drink it, the gentle flavors of the pedigree, the naturality, and the unaltered nature of the recipe don’t manifest for my apparently gross palate. I suspect it’s because these features are wholly unrelated to flavor. As to the quality of the ingredients, I will defer to your knowledge. But I could mix up a concoction of extremely high quality vinegar, mint, and sardines that would make you slough off your stomach lining and would have little to recommend its flavor. In the presence of a good-tasting beer, these features may well be strong selling points (and I do appreciate such features in good-tasting products I do drink, such as coffee). In its absence, they’re inconsequential.

And for breakfast, a porter of the ‘Entire Butt’ lineage. The remainder of the meal may thence be skipped.

36

Ex Ponto 05.11.07 at 12:05 am

“(and Australian, the sad state of whose brewing industry probably merits a post from someone more familiar with it than me)”

I can’t let this outrageous slur stand without comment. The Tasmanian lager industry, at least, is worthy of much more respect. James Boag and Cascade are arguably (I argue, at the very least) two of the finest simple all-purpose lagers in the world. Name me an English, or American, lager with as much understated class. They can be appreciated by both beer snobs and in bulk, should you so desire.

Even the mainland beers are better than Budweiser. I’d take something like a Tooheys New or a Victoria Bitter over a Budweiser any day and they’re not even remotely representative of the high quality of Antipodean lagers available (Kiwi lagers are also quite reasonable).

37

Freddie 05.11.07 at 12:31 am

I’ve never read a critique of Derrida that wasn’t at bottom a slipshod collection of attacks on strawmen.

38

aaron 05.11.07 at 12:41 am

Never thought I’d say (type) this: Nice post Daniel!

I’m not a fan of bud, but it is a fine beer. I’m a guiness and boddington’s fan. And when I go domestic (other than micro–we have great breweries in michigan), I usually get Labatte’s (it’s domestic, Canada isn’t really a country, it’s just a suburb of Detroit.).

39

MeatFrappe 05.11.07 at 12:47 am

They *have* made a breakfast cereal based on barley… read the description.

http://www.kraft.com/100/innovations/grapenuts.html

An interesting article, allthough some facts are a tad skewed.

40

SG 05.11.07 at 12:53 am

I agree with 37, and would go futher to say that NZ has the best cheap draught beers I have ever tasted – tasty, a nice colour, remind you that you`re drinking beer without a foreboding of evil hangovers.

I have never tasted Budweiser, but generally got the impression that it was associated with that evil college drinking, violent jock cultural phenomenon. Also it has ruined the opening of every boxing match I have ever watched. Could this be part of the so-called “beer snobs” objection to it?

And before I take Daniel`s opinion of the taste seriously, i have to ask: Daniel, do you like Fosters?

41

aaron 05.11.07 at 12:58 am

“It doesn’t taste well.”

I hear cow tongue tastes good.

42

aaron 05.11.07 at 1:07 am

Budweiser is also a great shower beer.

43

paul 05.11.07 at 1:39 am

“I’d take something like a Tooheys New or a Victoria Bitter over a Budweiser any day and they’re not even remotely representative of the high quality of Antipodean lagers available”

I’ll attest to the second half of that claim, but certainly not the first. VB and Tooheys New are simply awful beers, and it’s depressing that a country as proud of its beer swilling heritage as Australia willingly consumes so much of them.

44

marcel 05.11.07 at 1:47 am

What, no mention of Champale?

45

Thomas 05.11.07 at 2:12 am

Real men drink Scotch.

46

debris 05.11.07 at 2:17 am

What I really don’t understand is the Rolling Rock fad. When I worked driving a beer truck 30 years ago, RR was our distributorship’s bargain beer, delivered to working class drinkers looking for a cheap buzz in blue-collar joints that trendies wouldn’t set foot in. Ten years later, yuppies were swilling it and going nuts.

I’ve always assumed that the trendiness of Rolling Rock originated with The Deer Hunter.

47

Kieran Healy 05.11.07 at 2:22 am

On the Microbrews, see Carroll and Swaminathan, “Why the Microbrewery Movement? Organizational Dynamics of Resource Partitioning in the U.S. Brewing Industry.” Daniel is not nearly as alone as he thinks, but it’s important for him to be second in command of the splinter group.

48

Randy Paul 05.11.07 at 2:27 am

Budweiser is good to cook with (e.g. beer-battered fish and chips), but that’s about it. The one I don’t get is Corona Light. When is a Corona ever so rich that you have to have a light one instead.

Anchor Steam is a great American beer and Sam Adams makes some good beers. I like Newcastle Ale as well.

49

derrida derider 05.11.07 at 2:33 am

Nah, Toohey’s New is a dreadful excuse for a beer – it always gives me the runs the next day. VB is tolerable (better than Fosters for sure), but it’s true that in Oz there are much better beers around. If you prefer a proper ale to a lager try Coopers, otherwise Cascade is pretty good.

On the main topic, I’ve never tried Bud because people keep telling me it tastes like horse piss (but then, come to think if it they’re the same people who claim Corona – that watered-down Mexican donkey-piss – is OK. I shouldn’t believe them).

As for the vexed question of temperature if you think a beer needs to be chilled to be enjoyed in a St Louis summer, try a Brisbane or Darwin one. You serve em ice cold so that they’re not hot by the time you reach the bottom of the glass. Mind you, I can see how it’d be different in a pommy climate.

50

KCinDC 05.11.07 at 2:35 am

for a light lager, Budweiser isn’t a bad beer

I’ll buy that. The question is why you want to be drinking a light lager in the first place. Maybe Budweiser isn’t any worse than various Japanese, Mexican, and even German lagers, but that doesn’t mean it’s good.

51

swampcracker 05.11.07 at 2:46 am

Adelscot, anyone here know of it?

52

KCinDC 05.11.07 at 2:55 am

most common-garden American bars, restaurants and corner stores keep their bottles consistently and mildly chilled, at around 5-7 C I’m guessing.

That may be, but the Indian place I went to here in DC a few weeks ago poured the beer from the mildy chilled bottle into a frosty mug straight from the freezer, cold enough that much of the beer actually froze into a slush. Not a nice way to treat an innocent Bass Ale.

53

notsneaky 05.11.07 at 3:00 am

To follow up Kieran’s suggestion of academic articles on the subject, the Journal of Economic Perspectives (latest issue?) has an article on how the beer market has changed in US and Germany over time. My issue’s back home and it’s not up online yet, but one thing that it discusses is how the post WW2 rellocation, and the post reunification rellocation of Germans resulted in some legal and economic battles. Basically, those from the East liked/like different types of beer than those from the West, pilsners vs. lagers, I believe. As a consequence West German brewers, faced with new competition, on both occasions tried to have the courts declare that pilsners (or whatever kind it was) really weren’t “beer”, using similar arguments as those Daniel rails against.
I can look up the details later. Recommended reading though.

54

Quo Vadis 05.11.07 at 3:20 am

It’s said that lighter, – more piss-like if you wish – beers fare better in warmer climates.

When I was a lad, I would work outside in the sweltering Texas heat all summer. At the end of the day one wants a crisp, refreshing beer rather than something thick and full flavored. Beers like Budweiser and Coors are good for that. Of course as I was buying my beer with my hard won wages, I rarely sprang for anything as up-market as Bud.

55

seth edenbaum 05.11.07 at 3:48 am

Budweiser sucks donky cock. John Searle doesn’t. Or if he does he does it really really well.
I’ll read the rest of whatever you wrote when I’m sober.

56

LarryM 05.11.07 at 3:56 am

Expansive beer – Newcastle

What is it about Newcastle that makes it so much better than most other beers? Seriously – do any of the serious beer drinkers here have an explanation?

57

Matt 05.11.07 at 3:58 am

_do any of these “connoissuers” really drink Belgian lambics with their cornflakes? I think not._

Lambic is actually one of the only types of beers I’ve drank for breakfast- the raspberry kind is especially nice, I think. An oatmeal stout is also okay, since it is, you know, like oatmeal and all.

58

Incertus 05.11.07 at 4:49 am

These so-called “craft brewers” are a newfangled modern invention and have very little to do with the traditions of the brewing industry.

I suggest you look at the history of Anchor Steam Beer. It doesn’t get more traditional than that, and Fritz Maytag did more to make American beer drinkable again than any other person in the US. He’s as responsible as anyone for the fact that Budweiser can be compared to real beer and found wanting.

59

Jon Kay 05.11.07 at 4:58 am

Well, I, for one, see your point. I mean, I happen to like water, too.

So do Asahi and Kirin of Japan … and nobody has such a hate on about them

BZZT!!!!!!! In fact, I do hate them. I see – so you actually LIKE bland, ricey beer. BLEAH!! Sigh. Oh, well, more Dead Guy for the rest of us (I drink cider when hot).

Weirdly, I used to love Genesee and Labatt’s as an undergrad, but the weekend I reported for grad school, I instantly changed to a stout-lover.

John Searle has it more or less correct on the subject of artificial intelligence,

You’ll regret it when our future robotic overlords take over the Earth! ;-) (they, of course, will have every blogpost ever written, bwahaha).

60

dsquared 05.11.07 at 5:15 am

Sam Adams makes some good beers

yes and he makes every keg individually in a single batch, because Sam Adams is a craft microbrewer whose processes are completely different from those of Budweiser (I’m joking of course).

61

'As You Know' Bob 05.11.07 at 5:21 am

I became an expert on cheap beer during my summers in college, when I was working construction and needed it for hydration*. There is definitely a market niche specifically for cheap, hot-weather beer**.

I think this post is overstates the case a bit: the thing about Bud is that, hey, it’s not really as bad as you might expect: Why, it’s surprisingly tolerable.

But one of the positive virtues of Bud (alluded to above) is that it’s mass produced – the flip side of which is that it’s also mass consumed. Any wet county in America, the stock turns over quickly enough that I’ve never had one that was skunky from the store.

Whereas the posh brands sitting next to it in the beverage store (my local carries a really astonishing range of Samuel Smith brews, from quite far away) have been sitting there all summer, and are often purchased past their peak.

There’s a lot to be said for “consistently cheap and tolerable” over “preposterously overpriced and not even as drinkable as the cheap stuff.”

Yay, mass markets.

*And so that the crew would be mellow enough after lunch to not kill the foreman.

**Three summers of this pretty much put me off ALL cheap beer. “Life is too short…”, and all that.

62

Belle Waring 05.11.07 at 5:53 am

w000t! crooked timber’s contrarianism now surpasses the entire contrarian output of slate.com on the basis of this single post on budweiser and wrexham alone! suck it saletan! we’re number one! we’re number one! etc.

63

Matt 05.11.07 at 6:06 am

I dare someone to try a good hefeweizen on a warm summer day and then tell me they’d rather have a bud. Earlier today I had a Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier while relaxing by the lake, and it was the most refreshing beer I had ever had.

Budweiser isn’t a bad beer. It’s of good quality for what it is, but it tastes too bland. There’s nothing to it. Why settle for Budweiser when there’s a whole world of better beers available?

64

Alan de Bristol 05.11.07 at 7:32 am

Look, if you like a shitty beer, fine.

Try a Sierra Nevada Summerfest. It’s American, it’s light, it’s great for a summer barbecue setting. Drink one side-by-side with a Bud. Apart from the taste, bouquet and mouth-feel, they’re exactly the
same.

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you have to drink over-advertised fizz.

65

bad Jim 05.11.07 at 8:03 am

The key advantage of microbrewed beers is their chief disadvantage, that they’re different from batch to batch, which they have in common with vintages of wine. However much one might wish to say “Verweile doch! Du bist so schön!” the keg runs out, and the next one’s something else.

The brands of beer I sampled as a child, Valley Forge and National Bohemian (“Brewed on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay”) are distant memories and most likely no longer exist. Perhaps years of smoking have so coarsened my palate that any lager seems insufferably bland, and only the hoppiest ales (Sierra Nevada!) and darkest stouts even register any more.

But really, why would anyone want to repeat the same taste they had yesterday, a month ago, a year ago, a decade ago, four decades ago, even if it was possible? (My tongue’s Heraclitean: tonight’s ambrosial delight might be rough and sour tomorrow.)

The lure of traveling, or even of waking up in the morning, is the chance of encountering something that couldn’t be experienced otherwise. I’ve had local brews in Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Spain, Denmark, England and Scotland, and though I’m inclined to award the laurels to a few I’ve had stateside, the only one I’m looking forward to is the one I haven’t tried yet.

66

Thom Brooks 05.11.07 at 10:41 am

I have no problem with the quibble against the Czechs and agree with most of your post. I do disagree on two things:

(a) When we drink Budweiser these days, it is certainly served far differently than it was traditionally. If it is a traditionally brew, then let’s drink it properly and poured hand pulled without the gas added to it that makes us produce odd noises.

(b) Budweiser really does taste like piss—perhaps the rice in it tells us part of the story. Perhaps, too, that your drinking this crap since you were ten years old created some damage to your taste buds!

67

novakant 05.11.07 at 11:03 am

dsquared, you should write for Slate

68

bill the turk 05.11.07 at 11:23 am

Budweiser has rice in it. So what? So do Asahi and Kirin of Japan, Bintang of Indonesia and Efes of Turkey, and nobody has such a hate on about them.

You might want to drop into my local next time you’re passing through central Anatolia for a different perspective on this one, Daniel.

I’m guessing that you thought no-one was going to pull you up on that particular rhetorical flourish – tho’ I’m surprised that there’s been no Brit whose hoildayed in Bodrum or Kusadası to squabble with you over it. Perhaps CT attracts a better class of reader, though.

I read somewhere that it was the Hittites that invented beer. So it’s a bit of a pity that turkish beer is, on the whole, rather poor. (I don’t know whether that’s best explained by the rice or state control of a brewing monopoly)

When I stop doing what I now do for a living, I think I’m going to set up a microbrewery called ‘Hattusas’ after the Hittie capital.

69

bill the turk 05.11.07 at 11:28 am

On the other hand, Daniel’s dead right about Wrexham. Which is far more important.

IMHO

70

R. Stanton Scott 05.11.07 at 12:02 pm

Geographical location is a very common way of classifying beer–as it is for wine and whiskey. This makes sense, since the nature of the water used in brewing/vinification/distilling makes a difference in the flavor of the final product. Even Coors, with its “Rocky Mountain Spring Water,” gets this.

Bud may be natural enough, but their efforts to make a product that appeals to every taste makes it bland and tasteless. Though it can be a passable beverage on a hot day if served ice cold (best from a cooler full of ice), it is just not very interesting, and I for one can scarcely tell any difference between Bud, Miller, and Coors.

Bottom line: A can of Budweiser is to beer as a McDonald’s “hamburger” is to hamburgers. Every can is the same, and they all suck, however natural the ingredients.

71

stostosto 05.11.07 at 12:28 pm

#29: Indeed, lacking taste buds, it doesn’t taste at all, let alone doing it well.

#43: I hear cow tongue tastes good.

Oh, bugger. That’s what you get as a wretched furriner for trying to speak Englishly.

(I did have a feeling there was something wrong (wrongly?) when I wrote that).

On topic: Budweiser for breakfast? Seriously? I mean, that would be like eating, say, sausages and baked beans for breakfast. No one does that, for real.

72

alf 05.11.07 at 12:44 pm

Industrial brewing is truly one of the wondres of the modern world, and by far one of the cleanest industries around. Budweiser is an underated beer, it has a pleasent green apple aroma that puts its apart from other american macro brews (being from milwaukee, this is a high blasphemy). The vast majority of people drink beer because it of the image associated with drinking it and not because of the taste. The popularity of truly aweful beers such as bottled Heineken, (always skunked), or Corona attests to this. As does the legions of people who think medicore foriegn beers like Stella Artois are the greatest beers in the world.

73

Doctor Slack 05.11.07 at 1:28 pm

You couldn’t be more right about Derrida, Orwell, Kosovo and Simply Red. For the rest: what is there to say? Long have the people of the Intertubes waited for a post more deranged than this one, and at long last, the prophecy is fulfilled. Well played, sir. Well played.

74

HTML Mencken 05.11.07 at 1:30 pm

Thanks for this; know that a fellow lefty blogger has grown some of the rice you drank in your Budweiser (A-B buys the broken grains that are too unattractive for food sales).

One thing about Budweiser in specific and light american (and mexican) lagers in particular — and you know this from your Oklahoma experience — but they fit the climate here. In summer the heat and humidity are Egyptian in the South, southern plains and Midwest. Heavy beers and ales just don’t go well in that context. In my experience, the farther north (and to the coasts) you go in America, the more popular the dark and heady stuff. Well now of course, say those folks — people in the flyover country don’t know any better than to have crappy taste. And while I’ll concede some of that, there’s more to it than cultural sophistication and economics.

75

theophylact 05.11.07 at 1:58 pm

On the one hand, Wrexham is part of Viriconium, so a visit there will allow you time travel to both past and distant future.

On the other, Budweiser is a lousy beer.

76

eweininger 05.11.07 at 2:02 pm

I’m surprised that there’s been no Brit whose hoildayed in Bodrum or Kusadası to squabble with you over it. Perhaps CT attracts a better class of reader, though.

Not a Brit, but I’ll play.

Drank lots of Efes on a long trip through Turkey some years ago, and if I was stranded on the proverbial desert isle, I’d take it over the Bud in a heartbeat. Just don’t make me go near Bodrum ever again.

Parenthetically, if you want to sample a truly execrable, watery beer, try the German version of Efes.

77

Rich B. 05.11.07 at 2:19 pm

80 posts in, and I’m the first to out-contrary the contrarian by admitting that I have never, in my life, tasted Budweiser?

Maybe its a Pennsylvania thing, but I had no idea until college that Yuengling wasn’t the #1 selling beer in the world by a large margin. It is cheap enough, and tastes good, its always on tap, and I and have no idea if its market-cap makes it a “micro-brew” or not. I know now you can’t get it out of the mid-Atlantic states.

78

Hedley Lamarr 05.11.07 at 2:20 pm

Who is this Daniel? Can he be thrown into a vat of Butt Light?

79

Ginger Yellow 05.11.07 at 2:26 pm

“Microbrews” are in general wildly overpriced – some of them are quite nice because they use extremely expensive ingredients, but they are not intrinsically better than industrially produced beers.

See that’s the thing. There’s not much point in arguing over taste, as noted above, but in the UK microbrews or rather real ales are often cheaper than the “industrially produced” beers like Kronenburg or Fosters.

80

des von bladet 05.11.07 at 2:34 pm

Bavaria Holland Beer is not exactly well received in Bavaria, Chermany:

Bierbrouwer Bavaria mag in de Duitse deelstaat Beieren niet haar eigen naam voeren. Een rechtbank in München oordeelde dat het merk Bavaria Holland Beer ten onrechte suggereert Beiers te zijn.

The brewery Bavaria can’t use its name in the German state of Bavaria. A court in Munich has decreed that the make Bavaria Holland Beer misleadingly suggests it is Bavarian.

It is also not very good bier, and I say this as a resident of neither “Holland” nor “Bavaria”. (I do live in the Netherlands, though, so I get plenty of opportunities to check this.)

81

debris 05.11.07 at 2:47 pm

#43: I hear cow tongue tastes good.

It’s the only food that tastes you back.

82

professor fate 05.11.07 at 2:52 pm

To give the devil its due – when you open a bud you know what you are getting every time. It’s hard to be that consistant across the world. It also is better than Miller High life which tastes like some kind of beer substitute. But really the best you can say about Bud is “it doesn’t completely suck”
A personal observation: Bud gives me a headache – every damn time I drink it. So I don’t. I don’t know why it may the rice – (I don’t have this problem with Kirin but maybe they don’t as much as Bud does.)

83

debris 05.11.07 at 2:54 pm

Yuengling, especially the Porter, is one of the things I miss the most about Philadelphia. I would imagine that Yuengling Porter and scrapple would make a fine breakfast; but I despise scrapple.

84

PSP 05.11.07 at 2:57 pm

PBR, Coors Banquet Beer, Miller High Life, and Yuengling are all better light lagers. But all the major brewers also produce even more tasteless beers.

Rolling Rock was bought by A-B. The brewery was closed and production moved to Newark NJ. Soon A-B will kill it, like so many before.

85

Incertus 05.11.07 at 2:59 pm

Maybe its a Pennsylvania thing, but I had no idea until college that Yuengling wasn’t the #1 selling beer in the world by a large margin. It is cheap enough, and tastes good, its always on tap, and I and have no idea if its market-cap makes it a “micro-brew” or not. I know now you can’t get it out of the mid-Atlantic states.

Not true. There’s a Yuengling plant in Tampa now, and it’s all over south Florida. It’s also a damn sight better than Bud.

86

The Modesto Kid 05.11.07 at 3:14 pm

rice

Also corn, I believe.

87

Timothy Burke 05.11.07 at 3:14 pm

Everybody already said it, but the entire post neatly sidesteps the fact that Bud just doesn’t taste very good. It’s not piss: it’s water with a slight beer flavor. If you get it in an aluminum can, you also get a slight flavor of metal, which is actually kind of tangy.

Now if people want to say that there are inexplicably popular beers like Rolling Rock or Heineken which are no better, I’m ok with that. In fact, Bud *is* better than those, in that it’s got a very clean taste (e.g., it’s water with a slight beer flavor) in comparison to the almost always skunky Heineken.

88

aaron 05.11.07 at 3:18 pm

On micro brews, while they do use more expensive inputs and also buy in less economical lots, most of this is due to the burden of heavy regulation, taxes, fees, and licensing. It’s difficult to make their product available outside their closest distrubution network (which is a very political monopolistic entity).

Michigan needs to raise taxes and, of course, a sin tax is a politically convenient way to do that. It’s also not very transparent. Our brewer recently had a petition requesting that the state refrain from raising beer taxes. The petition pointed out that 44% of every beer is tax (I assume this refers to in house consumption and not store purchases, don’t know).

89

rea 05.11.07 at 3:18 pm

Daniel, it profits a man nothing to lose his soul for the whole world… but for Wales? Not to mention Budweiser . . .

90

The Modesto Kid 05.11.07 at 3:24 pm

Ignore 89, it is incorrect.

91

perianwyr 05.11.07 at 3:42 pm

As a side note, since Bud is brewed from rice, it may prove more digestible for those who are intolerant of glutens.

92

fred lapides 05.11.07 at 3:50 pm

Bud? wow. That you grew up drinking Bud does not make it a good beer…I grew up not liking scotch but acquired a taste for it. I have no background whasoever in beers and beermaking but I have had my full share of the stuff. And more. Simply ake any three beers in unmarked cups and have one of them Bud and the other two just about anything else and then tell us how good Bud is! It sucks.I am not anti-American in preferring Sam Adams, made in the same country as Bud, but one heck of a lot better.

93

Walt 05.11.07 at 3:53 pm

Pace Belle, didn’t Slate run an article years ago where they did a blind taste test of different beers , including microbrews, and Bud won?

94

dsquared 05.11.07 at 3:58 pm

They did, but it was Sam Adams that won. I suspect that this is for the same reason that Pepsi wins taste challenges; it’s slightly sweeter.

95

CJColucci 05.11.07 at 4:03 pm

A few more random beer notes:
Whatever happened to Sam Adams Golden Pilsner, which was what I always thought Bud should have been — an ideal light, hot weather refresher?
Miller was our big brand in my beer-truck days. It was then moving up on Bud. I’ve often thought that the problem Miller later had — and the source of its reputation for inconsistency — was the introduction of Miller Genuine Draft, which many people liked better than Miller High Life, but which many people didn’t realize was a different product — the only obvious difference being a black v. a white label.
Bebris: I’ll have to rent The Deer Hunter.

96

tom brandt 05.11.07 at 4:13 pm

aaron, do you have any specifics on the proposal to raise beer taxes here in MI? Also, who’s your brewer?

97

kth 05.11.07 at 4:19 pm

Never mind the beer, please do post about the Oklahoma episode someday. The only guesses I have, as to what the heck y’all were doing in the most forlorn stretch of a country with no shortage of forlorn stretches are (1) your father was a visiting professor in Norman or Sweetwater, or (2, more likely) one of the local robber barons required his expertise on some matter.

98

Sock Puppet of the Great Satan 05.11.07 at 4:21 pm

“Beer as it is drunk today is a product of the Industrial Revolution; it was arguably the first recognisably modern industry. “

Probably the first industry of any sort. Good reason to believe it was the instigation for abandoning the nomadic lifestyle.

Anyway, the Egyptians drank it from bowls using clay straws. Archaeologists have found *thousands* of these straws in Pharaonic-era villages.

But I bet those Egyptians would still say Bud sucks.

99

C. L. Ball 05.11.07 at 4:23 pm

Some time ago I had Bud on tap and I was surprised how much I liked it. Bud from a can, however, is pisswater.

Rolling Rock became trendy in the late 80s, but at Tufts, it was the cheap but tasty alternative to Busch or Coors, not valued in its own right. Busch was pisswater no matter how it was served. I still like RR with shellfish. In Boston metro, no one thought of RR or Sam Adams as a craft beer; Charlestown Brewing was the craft brewery, with its wares on tap at Grendel’s Den.

What puzzled me was the Red Stripe trendiness. Red Stripe is the Bud of Jamaica — its prices in the US are outrageous. I like it, again, with shellfish.

100

dsquared 05.11.07 at 4:24 pm

The Fulbright exchange program to promote Anglo-American relations by swapping teachers in community colleges. I was in Oklahoma City, which I am told is not so hip, but as a not terribly streetwise junior welsh bumpkin it was like “America!” I remember first seeing a machine that you could get Coca Cola out of and thinking “wow, this the Space Age”. I am by now totally blase and buy cans of Coke from vending machines as if I had been doing it all my life.

101

Sifu Tweety 05.11.07 at 4:48 pm

Of course any discussion of beer on the internet will contain a link to my drunken music post.

I prefer the High Life to Bud when it’s really hot and I’m looking for a cheap, light beer. Actually I prefer Tecate to either of them, because (a) it’s hot so who cares and (b) it’s like $5.99 a 30-pack.

Lately my drinking life is a whirlwind of craft-brewed IPAs and Imperial Stouts and double reds and whathaveyou. I can confirm that every one of these tastes better than Budweiser. Which tastes better than Rolling Rock. Which is urine, and always skunked besides.

102

Sam 05.11.07 at 4:48 pm

South America is getting short shrift here. There are several tasty and refrescante brews from Venezuela that deserve a kind word. Polar Pilsener is one of the great cheap beers in the world. Nacional and Regional, while not as malty as Polar lose nothing in comparison with Bud…or Pabst…or MGD.

103

aaron 05.11.07 at 4:57 pm

99. Tom, No specifics. It was just a sentence on the petition.

I drink at Kuhnhenn a bit. Lot’s of their beers are a bit hoppy (even their belgian, Simcoe, though I still like it a lot in the summer). Porters always good, but a lot of flavor. For special occasions, the Raspberry Eisbock is amazing. Best when aged, the 2002 was better than the 2004 (both of which are gone). It should be out again in December. If you can, I recommend buying some and saving it for a couple years. ’cause of demand pressure, I think they’re releasing it earlier than when’s best.

104

Backword Dave 05.11.07 at 5:04 pm

12:

One thing is true: Wrexham is one of the most depressing shitholes I’ve ever had the misfortune to pass through.

Have you ever been to Newtown?

105

r@d@r 05.11.07 at 5:05 pm

it’s been about 20 years since my last drink, but as i recall, budweiser was the starbucks of beers…what you’d settle for if you couldn’t get something else. or henry weinhardt’s. when we got to college we discovered rolling rock [sifu is entirely right about that] and beck’s.

most of my happy memories concerning beer, however – aside from those times of which i cannot recall anything beyond my head in the toilet – involved food and beer together, and of those experiences, none surpassed the combination of mexican food and either tecate or dos equis, or thai food and singha, or sushi and sapporo, or lone star and creole. nothing quite like fiery hot crawdads or andouille washed down with lone star.

i quit drinking well before the microbrew craze took hold, but the last high-end beer i remember drinking was an imported amber called john courage on tap in an anglophilic pub in berkeley. that was some pretty sophisticated stuff. i haven’t seen it anywhere since then.

106

jamie k 05.11.07 at 5:06 pm

Well I grew up drinking Marston’s Pedigree, and you don’t graduate to Budweiser from that.

This is also why Wrexham lager stayed around so long. Ansells and Marston’s stocked it to keep out Carling and the like and so promote the sales of Pedi and Burton.

107

dsquared 05.11.07 at 5:22 pm

ahhhh of course. Guinness developed Harp Lager for the same reason in Ireland.

108

aaron 05.11.07 at 5:31 pm

Anything in a clear or green bottle is likely to be skunked. There’s a reason bottles are brown, light ruins the beer.

Heinekin sucks because of how it’s shipped. I think it’s slow-boated over. Plenty of opportunity for it to get ruined.

109

notsneaky 05.11.07 at 5:37 pm

Lambic is actually one of the only types of beers I’ve drank for breakfast- the raspberry kind is especially nice, I think. An oatmeal stout is also okay, since it is, you know, like oatmeal and all.

Matt, just go away. Somewhere far. Around these parts people get slapped a’mighty for using the words raspberry and beer in the same sentence.

To expound. Oatmeal beer, wheat beer (yes, hefeiweizen or whatever you call that crap), fruity beer, citrus beer, “summer beer”, “winter beer”, hippy beer (Fat Tire, etc.), and anything produced by Sierra Nevada are abominations of nature. Like Dachshunds and Platupussi.

110

notsneaky 05.11.07 at 5:41 pm

I was in Oklahoma City, which I am told is not so hip

There was a punk band long time ago that had a song entitled “The Only Lesbian in Tulsa, Oklahoma”. It was a very sad and lonesome song, almost country.

111

wissen 05.11.07 at 5:47 pm

“We have no real way of knowing what beer tasted like in Ye Olden Days Of Bavaria Etc, but it was probably horrible.”

Take a look at BeersofEurope.co.uk and under German beers you’ll find several whose recipe hasn’t changed in 400-500 years. To me that’s pretty Olden. Oh, and I’ve ordered a few, and they taste great. They have a body and variety of notes to them that Budweiser simply never will.

112

Pseu 05.11.07 at 5:58 pm

It is not “processed” either; it’s filtered to remove sediment (in other words, it’s a lager)

Filtering does not make a beer a lager. Ales are less likely than lagers to be filtered but I have had both filtered ales and unfiltered lagers.

Much of the anti-Bud rhetoric is overblown but I still don’t like the stuff. It doesn’t taste bad, exactly. Really, it just doesn’t taste like much of anything. It does take a significant amount of technical skill to brew such a flavorless beverage – any off-flavors in there will be easily detected because they’ll be pretty much the only flavors. (Actually, Bud used to taste of acetylaldehyde, usually describved as resembling “green apple”. This is an off flavor that you can get if you drop the yeast out of the beer before they’re done cleaning up after themselves, acetylaldehyde being something that yeast produce along the pathway from sugar to alcohol. I’ve heard this blamed on the beachwood chips, which are really just a way to put a lot of surface area into the tank to encourage the yeast to drop out really quickly so that the beer looks clear faster than if you waited for it to fall out by itself during an extended lagering process. I don’t know if it still does as I haven’t had a Bud in a few years. But I digress. A little.)

If you want to get alcohol into your system and not be bothered with much of any distracting flavors or aromas to slow you down (give or take a little green apple), a macro American lager like Bud is the way to go.

113

rea 05.11.07 at 6:01 pm

There was a punk band long time ago that had a song entitled “The Only Lesbian in Tulsa, Oklahoma”. It was a very sad and lonesome song, almost country.

Evidently, things have changed:

Lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they’ll only let one girl go to the bathroom–Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

114

Drew 05.11.07 at 6:07 pm

too many inaccuracies to bother counting…

115

Katherine 05.11.07 at 6:17 pm

They didn’t just make the Czechs sell their beer as “Budvar” instead of “Budweisser”. In the U.S., it’s sold as “Czechvar.”

Also, are you absolutely certain that the Anheuser-Busch beer is the same in the US as Europe? I’ve heard it’s not but I’ve never ordered it in Europe and can’t verify.

116

Randy Paul 05.11.07 at 6:18 pm

It’s said that lighter, – more piss-like if you wish – beers fare better in warmer climates.

Amen to that. With the exception of Xingu Black and Caracu, most beers in Brazil are watery and bland.

117

Uncle Mike 05.11.07 at 6:27 pm

When I was a kid Budweiser was seen as a good, honest working-class beer. This was before microbreweries, and before most bars offered much in the way of import beers.

Here in Minnesota the favored local beer was Grain Belt (“the brew that grew with the great Northwest” the ads proclaimed), but like all American beers of the time it was pretty pale and light.

I like Summit, a local microbrew, though it is rather expensive. I still buy Budweiser now and again, when I feel like drinking something honest and unpretentious. It’s also really cheap.

Not the cheapest (that would be Old Milwaukee, Pabst or (ugh) Hamms). All undrinkable.

I lived out in Pennsylvania for a couple of years and really took a liking to Yuengling. Funny though, all the natives thought it was terrible and wouldn’t drink it. They preferred Coors, for some idiotic reason. Wish I could find Yuengling out here.

118

dsquared 05.11.07 at 6:33 pm

Although Nigeria is one of the biggest markets in the world for Guinness (IIRC, significantly larger than Ireland), so it’s an odd rule that has no exception.

119

jamie k 05.11.07 at 6:41 pm

I believe the Guinness sold in Nigeria is the 7.5% export version, which is a somewhat less creamy and more dry than the original.

120

Terry Karney 05.11.07 at 6:42 pm

comment at 7: re Cheap stuff separations.

I have some knowledge of the beverage industry (an in-law who does distribution for Corona).

The placement has nothing to do with the perceived merit of the beer. It’s a sales trick; by putting it at the seam of those two markets it gets better sales. The beers on the end don’t sell as well.

So the distributors press the stores to place the beers where they will sell better, that’s all there is to it.

121

McGarnigle 05.11.07 at 6:43 pm

Take a look at BeersofEurope.co.uk and under German beers you’ll find several whose recipe hasn’t changed in 400-500 years.

Their recipe may not have changed, but the ingredients probably have. They probably use clean water now.

122

Terry Karney 05.11.07 at 7:18 pm

My only real complaint (apart from your claim the recipe hasn’t changed, and then explaining they changed it to add rice) is the comparison of sake and Bud/Kirin/Asahi.

Yes, they both use rice.

But it’s apples and oranges. Welch’s and Veuve Cliquot are both made from grapes, they are radically different drinks.

Yes, sake and beer are both drinks, but they aren’t at all the same.

123

Buzkil 05.11.07 at 7:33 pm

Another plug for Anchor Steam. And Negro Modelo when one is feeling passive-transgressive. And Budweiser can be quite excellent, in the löyly.

124

Joel Turnipseed 05.11.07 at 7:49 pm

Budweiser update: on following this post, I decided, while at the liquor store today, to pick up a 12-pack of longnecks… and? Bud is actually not bad. True, it doesn’t have the body/flavor of my usual mix of Summit brews–and I’d certainly never celebrate with it as I would with some of the better Belgian ales–but, after an afternoon hauling rock around the yard and digging rose beds, it’s not bad.

Meantime: beer with breakfast? Seems a little too common among ye posters…

125

John Emerson 05.11.07 at 7:51 pm

Just more proof that the blogosphere is violently irresponsible — the sworn enemy of truth. Any guy with a modem can set his bare butt down in front of the computer and tell lies about beer. D^2 is the Glenn Beck of the malt world.

126

Vince 05.11.07 at 7:52 pm

Yeah, Budweiser uses top-quality barley, rice, and Saaz hops. Just not enough of them. Budweiser is an underhopped malt tea. I’m St. Louis born and bred, and light, crisp, cold beer is exactly what you want on a hot August afternoon in these parts. Personally, I want light, crisp cold beer that actually tastes of beer, not something that reminds me of beer.
I’ll drink Bud from bottles if that’s all there is, but given a choice I’ll take Schlafly Pale Ale or St. Louis Lager, or one of my own homebrews.

127

Russell Arben Fox 05.11.07 at 7:55 pm

I’ve never tasted a drop of beer in my whole life, and yet I read this entire post. Figure that one out.

128

Dutch Carpender 05.11.07 at 7:58 pm

Hey,
So this expensive Saaz hops (a light pleasant hops its true) Why does budwiser always taste like cheap stale hops?
Combine that with sour, off taste and thats were the horse pee comments come from? Most horses arn’t pretending to make the king of beers.
Scince everyone else is dropping beer names I can tell you I have fine memories of the dirty sock taste of Pannama beer, but it was cheap and I was 22 years old and in the army (read dirt poor)
fun read but it seems your primary motivation is a fine stipend from AB.
Lifes too short to drink cheap beer! (once you grow up)

129

notsneaky 05.11.07 at 7:59 pm

Back in college, one of the low budget grocery stores carried, Cool Colt, the menthol beer. It started out at 2.99 a six pack. A week or so later it was down to 1.99. Two weeks on, the price dropped to .99. Not even the bums would touch the stuff, even when the store had the “buy one get one free” sale. If you wanna be a contrarian, defend THAT beer.

130

yabonn 05.11.07 at 8:00 pm

Funny, because I remember that wedding, it was in London, it involved me boring the hell out of a wine merchant about the need to re-think Ye Olde Tradition so much time after the industrial revolution.

It involved the primacy of german lagers, the evilness of those liquorous beer made of belgian stinky monks, and something about steampunk in the end. Made perfect sense, should have written it down.

It was Sierra Nevada fuelled (while in London, yes, told you it made perfect sense), which was not shitty, but a very nice beer experience.

But I would have never, ever, no matter what state I was in, tried to pull one like this about Budweiser. I mean, c’mon. The chin-up competition in the scaffolds at 4 30am was bad enough.

131

Sthom 05.11.07 at 8:04 pm

I try and make a habit of trying different brews wherever I am. Most of the stuff I’ve tried in the States didn’t appeal to me, although some of the Samuel Adams brews, Dixie Voodoo Black Magic and Anchor Steam products were quite pleasant. One thing they all had in common to my mind was: too cold! I actually like to TASTE my beer and if it’s too cold I don’t see much point in it. Anyway, over here (UK) the microbreweries’ beers are no more expensive than the big firms’ outputs and give a vast array of qualities and tastes. Still, now that summer is on it’s way it’s time to switch to the real ciders and perrys – now even available in bottles from supermarkets and not just from farmyards with a (badly) handpainted “Real farmhouse scrumpy sold here!” sign on the road outside. That stuff can etch metal – God only knows what it does to your liver.

And r.e. Wrexham I’d offer up Llanelli as a mind-numbingly depressing alternative in South Wales or, as a Welsh expat now living in England, Ilkeston in Derbyshire or Bracknell in Berkshire, either of which qualify as where they’d put the tube if they needed to give Britain an enema…

132

Matt 05.11.07 at 8:09 pm

“To expound. Oatmeal beer, wheat beer (yes, hefeiweizen or whatever you call that crap), fruity beer, citrus beer, “summer beer”, “winter beer”, hippy beer (Fat Tire, etc.), and anything produced by Sierra Nevada are abominations of nature. Like Dachshunds and Platupussi.”

You’re joking right? I sincerely doubt that you have tried all the beers that you’ve labeled abominations. I’ve never tried a Lambic, and I don’t really like fruit in beer, but I’m not going to condemn it as an abomination just because it doesn’t sound appealing. What makes those beers abominations?

133

BillCinSD 05.11.07 at 8:28 pm

the first known beer recipe is Sumerian — Anchor brewery made up a batch, although i don’t think they followed all of the details in the Hymn of Ninkasa (http://www.anchorbrewing.com/beers/ninkasi.htm)

I can remember as a child, my dad going to Wyoming or Colorado and bringing back Coors for all his friends and hiding it in the trunk, as it was illegal in South Dakota then. Back then, 1970s mostly, Budweiser wasn’t very popular, it was the cheap beers like Grainbelt (as mentioned above), Schlitz (probably most popular), Hamms and heileman’s Old Style (in the Chicago area)

134

trialsanderrors 05.11.07 at 8:34 pm

Next up: a heavily annotated defense of the Big Mac.

135

Gus 05.11.07 at 8:44 pm

Excellent discussion. I agree that Bud isn’t bad, but that’s damning with faint praise. There are so many beers that are better, that it’s not worth buying. Pretty much every place in the country has a regional beer that’s better.

136

Katherine 05.11.07 at 8:48 pm

Yuengling, now–there’s a cheap non-microbrew beer worth defending.

137

Gus 05.11.07 at 8:58 pm

Oh, and to equate Bud bashing with America bashing must be a joke. I did a taste test with Bass and Summit Extra Pale Ale, a local St. Paul beer. The locally produced beer won in a walk. It wasn’t even close. America takes a back seat to no one with the number and quality of its beers. It’s just that everyone thinks of Bud and Miller when they think American beer, which is just wrong.

138

Bert 05.11.07 at 8:59 pm

Bud is good “lawnmower beer”. For those hot sweaty chores, lagers really cut the dust. Bud does the job as well as as any import for half the price. That said, I’d hate to have nothing but to drink in a bar. The third beer does lose its taste. Something hoppier is much better for prolonged drinking.
Most microbrews are skunkey rubbish, following Sturgeon’s law that “90% of everything is crap”.

139

Ssezi 05.11.07 at 8:59 pm

Although Nigeria is one of the biggest markets in the world for Guinness (IIRC, significantly larger than Ireland), so it’s an odd rule that has no exception.

The Guinness in most of the former African colonies is the Foreign Export brand which of course is not exported to the US. I’ll leave that conundrum for the experts to explain, but the Foreign Export and Extra Stout, which is the variety commonly found in the States, brands do not taste the same. Foreign Export is like an Oatmeal Stout with a few teaspoons of sugar.

I can’t speak to consumption in Nigeria but in East Africa Guinness isn’t drunk so much as used in cooking especially deserts and the weird beer and condensed milk thing people make around Christmastime which I think traces its roots to the British Isles. Also, at least in the more populous parts of East Africa it never gets as hot and humid as St. Louis, MO, Nairobi’s climate is similar to San Francisco’s and wiser people wear sweaters in the evenings much of the year. I admit the Lagos’ climate is not at all similar, I have no idea why Nigerians drink so much Guinness, they don’t when they come over here that I’ve noticed, but then of course it’s not the same beer.

A little Googling fleshes out the story of Foreign Export Stout, it’s the stout equivalent of IPA.

140

John 05.11.07 at 9:17 pm

I’d never go as far as to say A-B Budweiser, or any other American beer is “good beer,” but it’s among several which are undeniably quaffable, especially as a light Summer, after-lawn-mowing, thirst quencher. I still have a sentimental liking for my “childhood” beer, Schlitz, and, yes, I know what it rhymes with and I know why. Here’s my nomination for the best, mass marketed North American beer that I know of: Molson’s Blue. Don’t have the faintest idea of how it rates on it’s constituent ingredients but it’s a nice Pilsner-style (I think) beer.

141

Walt 05.11.07 at 9:23 pm

The real Glenn Beck exclusively drinks Chardonnay.

142

sharon 05.11.07 at 9:27 pm

Have you ever been to Newtown?

Only briefly. Usually dashed through on the Brum-Aberystwyth express [sarcasm alert]. How bad can it be?

(Actually, I do think Blaenau Ffestiniog and Lampeter should both also be in the running for the title of ‘Worst place in Wales’. Or perhaps that’s just ‘Weirdest place in Wales’, in their cases.)

If you want to get alcohol into your system and not be bothered with much of any distracting flavors or aromas to slow you down…

I thought that was what vodka and tonic was for.

143

justme 05.11.07 at 9:32 pm

As if anyone’s going to read down to the 137th comment (assuming no one’s going to sneak in another one by the time I finish typing this)….

Bad beers? I think I may have tried Bud once. As I remember, it was bland, inoffensive, and a little bit sweet. Or it may have been some other beer. But it wasn’t Michelob.

Michelob makes me puke. Every time. Even just one. I tried it the first time when I stopped at the Kennedy Space Center on the way back from Spring Break in Daytona Beach. It’s the only beer they serve (or was in 1983 anyway) at the cafeteria there, cutely named “The Lunch Pad.” I thought maybe my reaction was just a “straw that broke the camel’s back” thing after a week of partying too hard. But no, the next time I tried it at a college party I puked too. Again after just one.

Stroh’s is cheap, bad beer. On the other hand Stroh’s Signature is (or at least used to be) a decent Pilsner. So being a mass-market brew doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad.

Microbrews? The original U.S. microbrew is Red Hook, made in Seattle. It tastes like carbonated Listerine. Another local brew, Fauntleroy Stout, tastes rather like fizzy Worcestershire sauce. There are plenty of good ones, but being a microbrew is no guarantee of quality.

I was into brewing as a hobby briefly, and discovered that unlike winemaking, if you have a good recipe and good ingredients it’s really easy to make a beer that’s better than anything you’ve ever bought. Maybe I was just lucky because I had a recipe thrown together off the top of his head by a brewer from a local microbrewery/hobby shop for a Guinness clone that turned out, even in my dad’s discriminating estimation, better than Guinness.

Taste is in the mouth (and nose) of the drinker. The rabid anti-Budweiser sentiment is mostly a Sneetches with Stars Upon Thars thing – a way to set oneself apart from the unwashed masses who drink it happily.

By the way notsneaky, my Dalmatian seems to agree with you about Dachshunds. Apparently to her they’re an abomination against Nature and an insult to Dogkind and must be eradicated. Me, I think they’re fun, the way they dig holes everywhere looking for non-existent badgers. I don’t think we think any less of each other for our differing opinions on this topic.

144

W. Kiernan 05.11.07 at 9:33 pm

Another vote for my personal favorite: cheap, good American macrobrewery Yuengling! Brewed and bottled 2.3 miles (3.7 km for you Europeans) from my house in Lutz, Florida. It’s cheap! It’s good!

Too bad you Europeans probably can’t find it in your stores to give it the taste test.

I’m far from such a snob that I’d ever turn away a cold Bud. (Actually I wouldn’t turn away one of those awful “lite” beers either, but only because I wouldn’t want to dis the offerer.) Bud’s not all that bad tasting, and the all-important ethanol in it is one hundred percent OK. However, at the local grocery a twelve-pack of Yuengling longnecks costs the same amount as a twelve of Budweiser, and boy howdy does that Yuengling ever taste good.

Did I mention it’s also cheap? ‘Cause it is: cheap and good. Oh Hell yeah.

145

John Emerson 05.11.07 at 9:34 pm

Sex in a canoe, as America’s northern subalterns say.

146

trialsanderrors 05.11.07 at 9:42 pm

OK, so before D²’s rant descends into drunken ramblings he actually makes a couple of good points, but still completely depends on this false dichotomy of cheap shit vs. overpriced designer crap that permeates the American food market. In chocolate you get Hershey’s vs. Scharffenberger, in coffee you get Folger’s vs. Peet’s, in bread you get spongebread vs. Acme. The whole micro-X movement is just a belated and extreme response to the consolidation of the particular food market into a handful of ubiquitous low-price brands that has been pursued longer and more efficiently in the U.S. than in other markets. Fwiw, Pilsner Urquell and Budvar are mid-priced macrobrews in the Czech Republic (Pilsner is the biggest, Budvar the third biggest brewery) and they kick Budweiser in the curb. And also fwiw, Kirin, Sapporo, Heineken, Corona, etc. are shite beers sold at exorbitant prices to a gullible audience. But that doesn’t make Budweiser any better, just cheaper.

147

John Emerson 05.11.07 at 9:54 pm

My actual opinion is that there’s no reason to buy Bud or Miller instead of a cheap beer like PBW. If I have the money I step up to a microbrew of my choice or to a (non-British) European beer, of which I prefer Becks. Regionally, Henry’s in Oregon and Leinenkugel in the Midwest are pretty good.

I liked the old Grain Belt brown-bottle beer, but the present clear-bottle Grain Belt has the same problems as every clear-bottle beer. Some say it’s the effect of light, some say it’s a preservative they put in it. (Limes are to cover up whatever it is).

148

David Parsons 05.11.07 at 10:04 pm

«Around these parts people get slapped a’mighty for using the words raspberry and beer in the same sentence.»

Great! More for me! The only problem with proper lambics in my part of the howling wilderness is that it takes a long time to ship them across the ocean from beer paradise to the USA. (The USA is able to do almost every other kind of beer well, but for some reason nobody’s been able to do a good lambic here. Grumble.)

The lovely thing about beer is that it’s like sport cooking; you can do many many things with it and still end up with a tasty drink. It seems uncivilized to be horrified just because it’s got something other than barleymalt and hops it it.

149

dsquared 05.11.07 at 10:05 pm

Actually, I do think Blaenau Ffestiniog and Lampeter should both also be in the running for the title of ‘Worst place in Wales’

Ohhh come on. Blaenau is quite nice, albeit that the locals do have more hair on their foreheads than is usually considered normal. Lampeter is also not too bad; they’re certainly not going to be the live centre of anywhere, but they’re not shitholes like Wrexham.

150

John Emerson 05.11.07 at 10:21 pm

“PBR”

151

John 05.11.07 at 10:24 pm

“PBR” — ahhh….thank you.

152

Quo Vadis 05.11.07 at 10:27 pm

Interesting thing about Wrexham, Google Maps will not allow one to get a close look at it. Is it so bad as to be obscene even from a satellite view?

153

John 05.11.07 at 10:34 pm

Wrexham…..reminds me of Twickenham….reminds me of a joke……but you had to have been there.

154

roger 05.11.07 at 10:41 pm

Well, I don’t think anyone has defended Austin’s pride and joy, Shiner, yet. I heard (and it gave me a sinking feeling) that Shiner is starting to try to appeal to Chicago. That might be the beginning of the end for the brave little brand. Shiner and New Orlean’s Dixie, now I believe defunct, are my fave local brews. I put Bud above Miller, but I don’t like it that both of them have displaced so many local breweries. Yeah, it is a hobbity complaint, but it is still a good one: localities should have their own good, cheap, distinct beers.

As for pricier beers – couple years ago I went to Albany for a month, and discovered that the premium beer up there – pricy, but worth it – is three philosophers. I have to say, three philosophers, which comes exclusively in the champagne bottle, rocked my world!

As for more

155

sharon 05.11.07 at 10:42 pm

Blaenau: where the only way to tell the difference between the sheep and the people is that the people are less likely to be wandering down the middle of the road.

156

buzkil 05.11.07 at 10:53 pm

The beer we’ll pour must say something more somehow.

157

Quo Vadis 05.11.07 at 10:55 pm

25 years ago Shiner was cheap, low-end beer. That and something called “Texas Pride” were the stuff we’d buy when we were broke.

158

eweininger 05.11.07 at 10:59 pm

Sex in a canoe, as America’s northern subalterns say.”

Well goddam…. My old man loved to tell that joke when I was a kid. Hadn’t thought about it in years.

159

Bill 05.11.07 at 11:17 pm

filtered to remove sediment (in other words, it’s a lager)

Seconding #115: that’s not what “lager” means.

160

K.bueno 05.11.07 at 11:44 pm

Thank you.

161

chris darrouzet 05.12.07 at 1:05 am

Budweiser is ‘hated’ because of the confluence of three things 1) its massive, bullying, capitalist marketing operations, 2) the fact that although it actually is a very nice version of this one kind of beer, a gassy lager best served cold, it is the part-for-whole king of an entire class of US cloned, gassy lagers. I grew up on Pearl, Bud, Coors, Lone Star, Old Milwaukee in North Texas. Bud is simply the best of these American lagers. 3) It was also the beer of choice of so many snotty Republican upper middle class jerks (before the glomed onto Coors) that many of us could not stand to be associated with it. The attempt by the company to insist on its name and international control against a smaller German brewer is a disgusting example of IP gone wild. Like KFC trying to get a Northshire pub to take the phrase “family feast” off its menu since KFC owned that phrase. !@#$

Also, there is nothing right about using rice in it. Rice is fine in saki but we’re not talking rice wine, we’re talking beer. I was never so happy as to discover the many fine ales of Britain, and to see the renaissance of beer-making in the US in its hundreds of microbreweries. I hear that cask ale is just starting to make inroads. At last.

Cheers,
Chris, Co-founder of the Old Peculier Beer Tasting Society of Silicon Valley, USA.

162

chris darrouzet 05.12.07 at 1:08 am

Oh, forgot to add, I’ll drink to the memory of ole Jacques Derrida any day — Plato’s Pharmacy alone deserves the reputation. Love it!
Chris

163

Walt 05.12.07 at 2:01 am

Shiner sucks. I would drink Bud first.

164

notsneaky 05.12.07 at 2:32 am

It seems uncivilized to be horrified just because it’s got something other than barleymalt and hops it it.

We’re talking Ancient Egyptians vs. granolas and hippies here. I think civilization’s on my side on this one.

And once again I find myself mostly agreeing with John Emerson. Stroh’s Dark is also a fine beer. Served in laundromats all over the midwest.

165

NancyP 05.12.07 at 2:38 am

Bud’s a hot weather beer. In winter, I will drink almost anything else of the ale or porter or stout variety.

Why bash Bud? It isn’t so bad for a ballpark pregame tailgate barbeque. 90 degrees or more in the baking sunny parking lot, chicken wings or brat in hand, cold beer in other hand.

166

notsneaky 05.12.07 at 2:39 am

You’re joking right? I sincerely doubt that you have tried all the beers that you’ve labeled abominations.

Let’s just say I’ve trodden many a dark path. Or, yeah, I’m joking, and yeah, I’ve tried all of them abominations, and yeah, I’m serious too.

Anyway. If you’re gonna go with beer for breakfast it’s gotta be Mickey’s granades, though it’s been a long time.

167

Quo Vadis 05.12.07 at 3:05 am

#168

The ancient Egyptians didn’t have hops. Hops was not used to spice beer until the middle ages in Europe. Before that beer was spiced with various mixtures of fruits and spices.

168

urizon 05.12.07 at 3:15 am

Rice is a cheap adjunct that boosts the alcohol without raising the price; and Budweiser uses a lot of it. It’s ironic that you mention Japan, because I’m pretty sure Budweiser doesn’t qualify as beer in Japan, as it has a malt content of less than 66.7% (it would fall into the “bubbly liquor” category) — which is fitting, as it has a distinctive hint of sake.

Sorry, but I disagree with you: Budweiser is swill.

169

Adam Kotsko 05.12.07 at 3:16 am

Could one say that Derrida has a reputation for having an inflated reputation — in other words, a meta-reputation? That in itself justifies his reputation.

170

Matt 05.12.07 at 3:21 am

Living in northern Minnesota, a good oatmeal stout is the perfect beer on a cold winter night. During the summer, there’s nothing better to me than a wheat beer, like a hefeweizen. Calling both these beer styles abominations is a really strong opinion. I’m still not sure why you feel this way, other than that they are made with something other than just barley malt.

171

Chris 05.12.07 at 3:55 am

Great posts. Questions:

1. Why no mention of Becks or Kronenberg, just Heineken? Incredible that it’s 2007 and Heineken hasn’t figured out how to stop its skunkiness problem.

2. Why no love for Pearl Beer, old incarnation, when it was light and tasty — a far better version of Coors?

3. Hasn’t anybody lived in Hawaii or visited South Pacific and enjoyed excellent New Zealand beers like Steinlager and Leopard? They’re better than their Euro comparables, and far better than Foster’s.

4. Why has Rolling Rock — considered bilge water on a par with Carlings Black Label 25 years ago — so popular? NYT or WSJ had a story about its viral marketing project, where they paid DJs in trendy clubs and musicians in trendy bands to drink it and promote it. Pathetically, it worked.

5. Finally, I appreciate contrarianism as much as the next guy. But it’s simply crazy to argue that Bud is a great beer. It’s consistent, it’s bland, maybe it reaches the threshold of good in 100 degree July heat in St. Louis. But the idea that it’s great? Unreal.

172

nick s 05.12.07 at 4:01 am

It’s a sales trick; by putting it at the seam of those two markets it gets better sales. The beers on the end don’t sell as well.

I stand educated: and yes, I can see the ‘second cheapest bottle on the winelist’ effect. Though I will note that when Bud’s on the right side of the ‘cheap’ fridge, the 40oz malt liquor is most certainly on the left.

173

Josh 05.12.07 at 5:36 am

The top three essayists of the twentieth century were probably Randolph Bourne, James Baldwin, and Adrienne Rich. Orwell, Keynes, wha? Why do people keep trying to sneak foreigners onto the list?

174

david tiley 05.12.07 at 8:08 am

If you live in Wrexham, scrumpy is a smart thing to drink. You go blind, and then you don’t notice Wrexham.

175

bernarda 05.12.07 at 10:05 am

As Jim Koch of Boston Beer(Samuel Adams)has said, “My family was making beer when Eberhard Anheuser was still selling soap”.

Samuel Adams has passed the German purity law and is sold in Germany.

176

John Emerson 05.12.07 at 11:52 am

On a superficial level, a glass of beer is a cool, soothing beverage. But in reality, a glass of beer is strictly pee-pee dickie.

177

John Emerson 05.12.07 at 11:58 am

179: That’s what I said, too. My family got started in Omaha in 1853, and the Budweiser people didn’t get into beer (by buying up a bankrupt brewery) until a decade or more later.

Heineken is so consistently skunky that I think they regard it as a feature. I’ve always assumed it was a different way of hopping or something. It’s much different than the off-taste you get in all clear-bottle beers (Miller, Corona, Grain Belt “Premium”, etc.)

Becks is my favorite when I can afford it.

178

dsquared 05.12.07 at 1:08 pm

Rice is a cheap adjunct that boosts the alcohol without raising the price

no it isn’t. Rice costs more than barley. This is a persistent myth.

Samuel Adams has passed the German purity law and is sold in Germany

Budweiser is also sold in Germany. The “German purity law” is a geographical appellation these days, which is quite as silly as the Budvar flap.

179

John Emerson 05.12.07 at 1:53 pm

In fact, American shit beers are popular world-wide now.

I doubt that rice is more expensive than malted barley, which is what you need for beer.

180

aaron 05.12.07 at 2:24 pm

“I thought that’s what vodka and tonic was for.”

Sharon, even better; Ice, Skyy, Soda, and a slice of lemon. No sugar to mess with your stomach. Tastes better too.

181

dsquared 05.12.07 at 3:59 pm

Budweiser is actually quite uncommon among beer producers in owning its own maltings, which is the sort of thing that “craft” brewers bang on about incessantly if they do it.

182

John Emerson 05.12.07 at 5:12 pm

So OK then. Do you also prefer Budweiser to other, cheaper American swill such as PBR, Oly, Stroh’s, Schmidt, Rainier, etc., etc.?

Once we have you splitting hairs in both directions like Duns Scotus, we’ll have you bracketed, and our guns can zero in on your precise “best of the worst / worst of the best” location.

183

Orc 05.12.07 at 5:33 pm

(Me) «It seems uncivilized to be horrified just because it’s got something other than barleymalt and hops it it.»

(168) «We’re talking Ancient Egyptians vs. granolas and hippies here. I think civilization’s on my side on this one.»

Life isn’t complete without gueuse and framboise. If that’s because of granolas and hippies, more power to them (and #171 is correct in that “ancient egyptians” and “granolas and hippies” aren’t very far apart from each other.) I’m not particularly fond of lagers (I grew up in LaCrosse back when Heilemann’s was a going concern, and Old Style pretty much put me off lagers for life,) but I make a special exception for stuff that’s brewed in Belgium.

184

Jimmy Higgins 05.12.07 at 5:34 pm

Anent Guinness in Africa, I lived in Togo for a while in the early ’80s, where the brewery that made Beire Benin also had the Guinness franchise for West Africa. Makes sense, Togo having been a German colony before WW1. Part of the popularity of Guinness is that it is marketed as a male tonic–billboards with a guy slugging it out of a bottle surrounded half a dozen frolicking kids or more. They don’t actually use the slogan “Guinness Puts Lead In Your Pencil,” but they come close.

185

tom hurka 05.12.07 at 5:43 pm

Re #55:

Many will know this, but pilsner is a type of lager, with a distinctively hoppy taste. When I was in Germany (1974) it was contasted with export, another lager, but less flavourful.

Best beer memories? Gilde Rathskeller Edelpils in Hanover, premium pilsner from the local brewery; Pilsner Urquell in Berlin; and Velkepopovicky in a small town in Bohemia. All from the tap, of course.

Any Budweiser memories mercifully blacked out.

186

Michael E. Sullivan 05.12.07 at 7:42 pm

One good thing about countries like America where everyone with an income greater than a subsistence farmer but less than a Russian oligarch calls themselves “middle class” is that they don’t have this phenomenon of sensible middle class people doing silly things in order to pretend to be working class.

Nonsense. Of course we do. They are called “politicians”.

187

urizon 05.12.07 at 9:26 pm

#182,

Please cite any statistics that malted barley costs more than rice. Malting is a time-consuming and exaclting process, requiring a great deal of expertise. This is a labor-intensive (meaning costly) step.

I can buy organic rice in bulk for less than eighty cents per pound; whereas Maris Otter floor malt typically runs over one doller per pound, sometimes as much as a dollar thirty. Specialty malts can be even more expensive.

You may be right that unmalted barley costs less to produce than rice, but I find it hard to believe that rice is more expensive than malted barley.

188

urizon 05.12.07 at 9:27 pm

Err, less, I mean, in that first sentence.

189

Gary Imhoff 05.12.07 at 10:59 pm

Since this is a very sensible position and a well-argued one, it makes sense that it would be the one that all your colleagues on Crooked Timber disagree with. The other opinions you list are all nutty, so I’m sure that you have ample support among the members of the group for all of them.

190

Jared 05.12.07 at 11:24 pm

I agree with you on everything but Searle. But I’m sure if we sat down with some Budweiser we could eventully find some common ground on that too.

191

trialsanderrors 05.13.07 at 12:01 am

Adolphus Busch in 1876 was a German master brewer of exactly the sort that beer nuts go gooey over

Any evidence for this? All I can find is that Adolphus Busch was a merchant, and his contributions to beermaking were sanitary in nature.

“This king of brewers, curiously enough, was not really a brewer at all: he was a super-salesman, and perhaps the greatest ever heard of in America. Granted that he knew good beer and ever sought it, the fact remains that he did not know how to make it.” – The American Mercury, October, 1929.

This is sounding more and more like D² drank the Kool Aid and not the King of Beers.

192

notsneaky 05.13.07 at 12:30 am

Alright, alright, you got me with the Egyptians. My understanding is that Summerian beer was made from barley and bread. This style of “beer” is still popular in Eastern Europe where it’s known as Kvas.

Anyway, I never’ve had a Hefeweizen that I thought was good. Sudwerks, a local brewery in Northern California had one that was … tolerable. Same thing for oat meal beer. I still say that fruity beer is an abomination of nature. I don’t care much for IPA’s either, though there I’m willing to be convinced.

Also I did some research in London archives once and one of the things I was looking at was the expenditures of a 18th/19th century orphanage. A significant proportion of their budget went to beer. And it wasn’t for the staff either. Apparantly there are child-raising-advice books from the time which suggest that a child should be weaned off breast milk and switched over to beer around 1 yrs old.

193

mac 05.13.07 at 3:13 am

Ahem. Budweiser does not taste good if it is warm. Cold Budweiser is just fine–I actually prefer it to–say–Sam Adams on a hot summer day.

194

Kenny Easwaran 05.13.07 at 4:11 am

#149 – did you really just make the mass-market/overpriced-craft dichotomy all about Berkeley? (Note that Hershey bought Scharffen Berger, and that they’ve just ramped up production without changing the independence.)

The real reason I don’t like Bud is that I don’t like pilsners or lagers.

Also, footnote 14 was my favorite, and I feel confident voicing Kieran’s agreement. But I do like the reproduction of a wikipedia experience in “old-media” footnote form.

195

jhn 05.13.07 at 5:06 am

The Queers have an amusing song called “I Only Drink Bud,” whose refrain is “Hey, you motherfuckers, I only drink bud.”

It’s actually a really good song.

196

agm 05.13.07 at 8:08 am

Oh, I’ll step up and defend Shiner Bock. Any one of you, right here, right now, I’ll outchug (though not necessarily outbike) any day.

You can’t beat 10 ounces for 95 cents at my favorite watering hole…

197

agm 05.13.07 at 8:19 am

In fairness, I have walked out of said watering hole (multiple times) when Zeigenbock is on tap instead of Shiner.

198

bad Jim 05.13.07 at 8:58 am

1) Davies is making up for the scarcity of his postings with the number of the comments he gets.

2) Malt does more than Milton can
to justify God’s ways to man.

3) Beer is proof that God loves you and wants you to be happy.

199

Backword Dave 05.13.07 at 10:52 am

Bad Jim – but Housman went on “Something, Ale’s the stuff to drink/For fellows who are scared to think.” Of course, he did say ‘Ale’ and not ‘Lager’ …

200

dsquared 05.13.07 at 11:49 am

Urizon: the links in my original post to Maureen Ogle’s blog and articles discuss the “cheap adjunct myth”.

201

martin Wisse 05.13.07 at 3:27 pm

More reasons to hate Budweiser, curiously unmentioned so far is that it’s frigging gassy, making it very uncomfortable to drink, especially at the subzero temperatures it’s de rigeur to serve it at and here in Europe it’s mainly drunk by either obnoxious lardass merkins on holiday or equally obnoxious yuppie wannebees who think drinking bud makes them look cool and with-it.

202

smallerdemon 05.13.07 at 4:35 pm

Rice. Ah, yes, the essential ingredient that gives me one of the worst hangovers I have ever had. Indeed, all of the beers you list with rice in them make me feel like I’ve been hit by a truck the next day. It’s one of the principle reasons I don’t drink any Budweiser. Budweiser is actually not a bad pilsner, especially given the size of the batches they make it in.

Pilsners skirt a very fine line between great beer and horse piss all the time. It’s just the nature of the style. It doesn’t seem to be very forgiving of mistakes in brewing or storage.

I don’t think “craft” brewing means anything special. It’s not about tradition. It’s about beer you like.

And some of us don’t like lagers very much. We prefer ales (and porters, and stouts), which are easier to make at home and by small breweries than lagers. Americans like lagers, though. They like light beers. So they can drink more. Which basically defeats the entire purpose of supposedly drinking light beer (which is to have fewer calories). I absolutely prefer two (three tops) very full bodied ales over six light beer that lose their palatability if I don’t gulp it down while it’s still freezing cold.

Ah, but this is all part of the retro backlash. The PBR and Budweiser drinkers drinking it because it hearkens back to some lost nostalgic era of time that’s hipper or somehow better than now. When there weren’t any fancy microbrews and beer was made and drank by REAL MEN working in factories and putting blood and sweat into their beer and their work everyday. It’s a silly romantic notion, just like “craft” brewing done as some sort of fancy, snooty thing is silly notion. (My favorite microbrewery in San Francisco makes their beer in 35 gallon plastic garbage can containers in the basement of the pub. I can see them through the grate in the floor.)

Some of us just don’t like lager. *shrugs*

203

trialsanderrors 05.13.07 at 5:04 pm

did you really just make the mass-market/overpriced-craft dichotomy all about Berkeley?

Mostly because I don’t know any breadmakers in Boston.

Anyway, I never’ve had a Hefeweizen that I thought was good. Sudwerks, a local brewery in Northern California had one that was … tolerable.

Most American weissbeers are undrinkable crud. Trader Joe’s makes one that is drinkable at a decent price (TJ’s is owned by one of the Aldi brothers, maybe that has something to do with it), but in the end you have to try Schneider or Weihenstephaner before you rule out weissbeers wholesale.

On the no-fruit-in-beer discussion, people tend to ignore that beer makes for excellent mix drinks, and if you grow in Germany very likely the first contact you have with beer is in the form of Radler, a mix of beer and Sprite, or Gespritzter, as in beer and Coke.

204

yabonn 05.13.07 at 5:36 pm

I thought Gespritzter was based on wine with cola or bubbly water? Maybe a local meaning?

About the Radler, any lemonade will do, I’m pretty sure. A nice drink when it’s hot, unlike most of the fruit flavored beers.

205

trialsanderrors 05.13.07 at 6:11 pm

Local terminologies differ of course (the way I learned it was that wine and coke is “Korea”, with read wine being “North Korea” and white wine “South Korea”, but it seems like Gespritzter is the more common term). Lemonade in North America is a bit different from lemonade in Europe, that’s why I didn’t use the generic term. I believe the taste of Sprite is standardized worldwide.

206

bernarda 05.13.07 at 6:45 pm

Here is a beer I would like to try, Oyster Beer.

http://www.ventnorbrewery.co.uk/shop.asp?catid=2&ProdId=14

207

rev.paperboy 05.14.07 at 12:30 am

Frankly I wouldn’t even use Bud to wash my socks.
See http://kevinswoodshed.blogspot.com/2007/05/barley-sammich-inspired-by-pair-of-blog.html
for the full rebuttal

208

Bert 05.14.07 at 12:59 am

The truth is that the most medeocre beer beats the crap out of the best wine. Hell, I’d take Diet Pepsi over wine. Nasty, nasty ,nasty.
Beck’s or Chateau Lafite Rothchild ’47? no contest.
Damn froggy assed wusses.

209

Oklahoma is OK 05.14.07 at 1:04 am

Lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they’ll only let one girl go to the bathroom—Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain
And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.
Oklahoma,
Ev’ry night my honey lamb and I
Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk
Makin’ lazy circles in the sky.
We know we belong to the land
And the land we belong to is grand!
And when we say
Yeeow! Ayipioeeay!
We’re only sayin’
You’re doin’ fine,
Oklahoma!
Oklahoma O.K.

210

Western Dave 05.14.07 at 4:30 am

Bud may be good for that midwestern humidity heat but when it is a dry heat, as in a New Mexico triple digit, with single digit humidity, PBR really is best. The standard rule was one for the chili five for the cook. Gets you hydrated and feeling fine. Now that I’m back east, I’m basically a Yuengling man. Which is what we drank in college when we couldn’t afford anything decent. And when we couldn’t afford that we drank Rolling Rock. Imagine my shock when I grajitated only to find RR advertised in every damn bar in NYC like it was good or something. Switched to bourbon and water and didn’t look back for a long time.

211

pilgrimage to Pottsville 05.14.07 at 5:09 am

Rolling Rock is a decent beer. You wouldn’t think it, but Pennsylvania is home to some excellent beverages. Yuengling Porter is tasty from a bottle and outstanding from a tap. I still miss Prior Double Dark.

212

Uncle Flip 05.14.07 at 6:44 am

it’s filtered to remove sediment (in other words, it’s a lager)

No. In other words, it’s filtered.

The type of yeast, and the fermenting temperatures, make it a lager.

I’m with the previous poster who said there are too many inaccuracies to count. However, I don’t really care whether you think Bud is a good beer. It’s matter of personal preference.

213

bill the turk 05.14.07 at 10:42 am

‘On the one hand, Wrexham is part of Viriconium’

A Shropshire pedant writes:

No, that’s Wroxeter. Different kettle of eels altogether.

‘the first known beer recipe is Sumerian—Anchor brewery made up a batch, although i don’t think they followed all of the details in the Hymn of Ninkasa’

OK, so not quite Hittite. But I’d still like to know why Efes is such a terrible beer. I still put it down to the rice (and i suspect that broken rice is cheaper than barley.)

‘2) Malt does more than Milton can
to justify God’s ways to man.

but Housman went on “Something, Ale’s the stuff to drink/For fellows who are scared to think.” ‘

I think that this backs up the ‘rice’ thesis
from earlier on, but what Housman actually wrote was:

‘Ale, man, ale’s the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify Gods ways to man’

The whole verse is rather good, in fact – a defense of beer drinking as opposed to poetry

‘Why, Terence this is stupid stuff
You eat your victuals right enough
There can’t be much amiss, that’s clear
To see the way you drink your beer.
But Oh! to hear the verse you make
It gives a man the bellyache
‘The cow, the old cow, she is dead
It sleeps well the horned head’
Pretty friedship ’tis to rhyme
Your friends to graves before their time.
Say, for what were hopyards meant
And why was Burton built on Trent?
Ale, man, ale’s the stuff to drink
For fellows who it hurts to think
And malt does morew than Milton can
To justify God’s ways to man.
Look into the pewter pot
To see the world as the world’s not.
Pretty friendship ’tis to rhyme
Your friends to graves before their time
Moping melancholy mad
Pipe a tune to dance to, lad’

214

Don 05.14.07 at 4:32 pm

In a way I have to agree with you originally A-B used rice as North American barley is not suitable to the production of pale pilsners. But I do take great offence in the assumption that only a huge predatory company can produce a good product. It is ludacris to assume beer brewed 1000 years ago did not taste good I am quite sure that it was good or people would not have drank it to begin with, and finding out it’s other suprising qualitys. Would one also partake of enough dog feces to find out if it were intoxicating, I think not. I brew many different styles of beer and have been told they are, for the most part excellent. In fact when given a choice between the keg of Budweiser in the keggerator or my home brewed beers guess wich one gets drank before anyone touches the keg, that’s right mine. Now can I acheive the consistancy of A-B or any of the other mega-brewers? No. One Budweiser in Floria will taste the same as one in New York, London’ or West Nowhere, bland and pretty much uninspired.

215

dsquared 05.14.07 at 5:01 pm

Would one also partake of enough dog feces to find out if it were intoxicating, I think not

People do in fact lick the backs of poisonous toads, drink the urine of reindeers who have been eating psilocybin mushrooms and (rather more commonly) set fire to leaves and attempt to inhale the poisonous, carcinogenic smoke, so I have much less confidence than you in this.

216

doom 05.14.07 at 6:13 pm

217

Terry Karney 05.15.07 at 12:39 am

“Terence this is stupid stuff” (A Shropshire Lad LXII) is, arguably one of Houseman’s few autobiographical poems.

And to take the first verse, and say it is what the poem is about, well it misses the mark.

Houseman was accused of being all gloom and doom. This poem is his apologia for the tenor of his work.

The third verse is probably the one to look to, if one is trying to isolate the meaning, but the bridging passage of the middle, where Terence take the stage is also meet.

Why, if ’tis dancing you would be, 15
There’s brisker pipes than poetry.
Say, for what were hop-yards meant,
Or why was Burton built on Trent?
Oh many a peer of England brews
Livelier liquor than the Muse, 20
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God’s ways to man.
Ale, man, ale’s the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think:
Look into the pewter pot 25
To see the world as the world’s not.
And faith, ’tis pleasant till ’tis past:
The mischief is that ’twill not last.
Oh I have been to Ludlow fair
And left my necktie God knows where, 30
And carried half way home, or near,
Pints and quarts of Ludlow beer:
Then the world seemed none so bad,
And I myself a sterling lad;
And down in lovely muck I’ve lain, 35
Happy till I woke again.
Then I saw the morning sky:
Heigho, the tale was all a lie;
The world, it was the old world yet,
I was I, my things were wet, 40
And nothing now remained to do
But begin the game anew.

Therefore, since the world has still
Much good, but much less good than ill,
And while the sun and moon endure 45
Luck’s a chance, but trouble’s sure,
I’d face it as a wise man would,
And train for ill and not for good.
’Tis true, the stuff I bring for sale
Is not so brisk a brew as ale: 50
Out of a stem that scored the hand
I wrung it in a weary land.
But take it: if the smack is sour,
The better for the embittered hour;
It should do good to heart and head 55
When your soul is in my soul’s stead;
And I will friend you, if I may,
In the dark and cloudy day.

There was a king reigned in the East:
There, when kings will sit to feast, 60
They get their fill before they think
With poisoned meat and poisoned drink.
He gathered all the springs to birth
From the many-venomed earth;
First a little, thence to more, 65
He sampled all her killing store;
And easy, smiling, seasoned sound,
Sate the king when healths went round.
They put arsenic in his meat
And stared aghast to watch him eat; 70
They poured strychnine in his cup
And shook to see him drink it up:
They shook, they stared as white’s their shirt:
Them it was their poison hurt.
—I tell the tale that I heard told. 75
Mithridates, he died old.

The poem has always had a fascination for me, as I am both named Terrence, and have been accused of writing depressing things, when I was (by my lights) merely trying to inform.

As for lambics; they don’t work here because they are a “wild” beer, using no introduced yeasts, just those which fall in the tub, or are left behind from centuries of use (which makes them a style going back to before those ancient recipes of Germany).

Since the local yeasts in the states aren’t the same, and no one seems to have been able (or perhaps willing, I’ve not looked) to collect/dry strains for sale, the non-regional lambics, aren’t.

As for the rice/barley cost question… I don’t know.

What I do know is that some sort of “malting” has to be done to convert the starches in rice to sugars. For some sorts of sake this is still done with the salivary enzymes (just as some meads were made by diluting honey, and then taking it in the mouth, and spitting it into the pot).

The very best, so it is said, is that rice which is “chewed” by virgins.

Go figure.

My best beer experience? Hrmn…. I really like Amstel (not light) in L’viv, and there are some good E. European beers to be found in Kiev.

Kvass, while it’s made from bread, isn’t really a beer. Were it to be poured for you, you wouldn’t think it a beer. It’s light, a bit tangy (not sour) and drinks well cool, or cold. There is a very tasty soup made from it.

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Jeff 05.15.07 at 3:01 am

I am a brewer, so I feel esp. qualified to answer to this…

First point:

No sir it has not. A great many brewers in Britain have been producing beer for far longer than Budweiser. Your assertation that the recipe has not changed is wrong. It most certainly has as has the way it has been brewed. There is nothing authentic or traditional about sterile filtering or pasteurizing.

To qualify as a CAMRA beer, it would first have to be an ale. Then it would have to be unfiltered. Wrong.

Second:
You are correct that Budweiser is not full of chemicals, unlike Miller. It does not comply with the Reinheitsgebot because it contains an un-malted product. Has nothing to do with Barley. Get your facts straight before you print them please.

There is absolutely no tannin contributed by the chips. If there were, the person that brewed it would be fired. The chips are there as a yeast bed in the fermentation tanks to allow the reuptake of diacetyl and other “off-flavors”

Lagers are not by definition filtered. Again, get the facts straight before you print.

Point 3:
Budweiser is highly looked down upon because it uses rice to cheapen the beer up (I purchase these ingredients. As a raw material, rice is less expensive than malted barley) as well as 6-row malt, a variety that is considered by brewers to be of a lower quality due to high tannin content. It is needed though becuase without the 6 row, they could never convert the 30% rice that they use.

They no longer use Saaz hops either.

Point 4:
We can disagree. I think it tastes like tannic water. Whatever.

Point 5:
Wow, that definitely means it’s a good product.

Point 6:
Craft brewers sir are the very essence of brewing history. We are what Bud, Ballantines, Miller, and Coors put out of business.

Your understanding of brewing in “Ye Olden Days of Bavaria” is as flawed as your article. Beer was the drink of Kings, and while it might have spoiled quickly, it didn’t need to last, it was meant to be drunken early on. However plenty of beers were cellared with great success, case in point, OCTOBERFEST you twit.

Beer is an industrial product in your mind, but not in mine or the people who drink my beer. It is such because of companies like AB.

Better and not better? No your talking logistics. I can say that OE 800 isn’t better than Westveleteren 12, just different right?

You obviously know nothing of the burgeoning markets that are opening up in Australia for finely made beer…oh wait, you only know Foster’s hugh.

Point 7:
They did not rip it off. But the reason that Budvar wins in every market other than the US is because everyone else in the world recognises that it is a better product, made with the finest malts and hops that money can buy.

It would really help everyone in the industry if you kept pseudo-knowledge to yourslef…yeah…thanks.

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Admiral_Ritt 05.15.07 at 6:57 am

Everyone is missing the Obvious.
Beer snobbery is Class driven.

As white collar Tech worker, I would never
drink bud, or let my friends see a bud in my
fridge.

Having Bud Beer around when fully employed and
college is a few years in the past is a statement
that you have not progressed in life and you are
still a man-child. It may also say that you only intermittenly employed, and you maybe borderline
alcoholic.
I agree it is pure snobbery, but snobbery is the fungible currency of socio economic status.

Admiral_Ritt

220

dsquared 05.15.07 at 8:04 am

Jeff:

There is nothing authentic or traditional about sterile filtering or pasteurizing.

Untrue. Pasteurisation dates from the nineteenth century. People have been pasteurising beer for a long time.

Budweiser is highly looked down upon because it uses rice to cheapen the beer up (I purchase these ingredients. As a raw material, rice is less expensive than malted barley)

No it doesn’t. See Maureen Ogle’s book on the “adjunct myth”. I have no idea why you’re comparing raw rice to malted barley; you have to process rice before it can be used in brewing. Or for that matter why you think your costs are going to be particularly similar to those of Budweiser, which owns its own maltings.

I am apparently wrong on tannin; Budweiser does have tannin in it but it doesn’t come from the beech chips.

Your understanding of brewing in “Ye Olden Days of Bavaria” is as flawed as your article. Beer was the drink of Kings, and while it might have spoiled quickly, it didn’t need to last, it was meant to be drunken early on. However plenty of beers were cellared with great success, case in point, OCTOBERFEST you twit.

I think everyone else has agreed that beer is in fact an industrial product and is meant to be consistent. It isn’t wine. Beer really isn’t the drink of Kings outside Scandinavia.

the reason that Budvar wins in every market other than the US is because everyone else in the world recognises that it is a better product, made with the finest malts and hops that money can buy.

Simply not true as a claim about the relative sales of A-B and Budvar beers. It seems to me that you’ve made at least as many mistakes as I have.

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bernarda 05.15.07 at 1:22 pm

Recently I saw some Budweiser on display in a bar in Paris. The label said it was made in Roma and that it had 6% alcohol.

I have doubts that the recipe is the same or that the alcohol content is the same as in U.S. Budweiser. Maybe one of the knowledgeable people posting here could clarify that.

Guinness, for example, makes a specific beer for the French market, and probably others, so the Guinness you drink in Ireland does not taste the same as in France.

I would be surprised if Anheuser didn’t do the same.

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Casey 05.15.07 at 6:23 pm

Budweiser = Wonderbread

If that’s what you want, well, you’ve got it. But neither are products of character or distinction. Both are products whose main virtue is consistent blandness.

Which, frankly, I concede to Maureen Ogle had more to do with a general American preference for blandness rather than evil corporate conspiracy.

But there is an amazing revival of taste in the US. You can now rather easily buy lettuce other than Iceberg, apples other than Red Delicious, cheese other than Velveeta. And beer other than pale lagers like Bud.

And I, for one, rejoice.

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wood turtle 05.16.07 at 1:40 am

You didn’t mention that Budweiser company donates beer wagons drawn by Clydesdale horses for parades and events if you notify them in enough time.

On the subject of cheap beer, does anyone remember the brand Buckhorn, affectionately known as Bucksnort to me and people I knew who drank a lot of it. It was only 2.50 a case of 24 in 1980, cheaper than pop.

We all graduated college and had decent jobs. We weren’t trying to act working class, we just didn’t have a lot of money, even with steady jobs.

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