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Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Death of Craft Beer

[ Over the next few days, but not in sequence, I will be exploring a societal phenomenon that I am not the only one noticing. It is "JUVENILIZATION". It is the tendency of today's 'adults' seeking out experiences across the spectrum with the tastes of children. It used to be that.......1 Corinthians 13:Verse 11. "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."  But no more. No need. Like Peter Pan, people seem to be determined to remain children forever. This phenomenon touches everything.....but to begin I am going to discuss ..........beer.]




When I was 18 (and legal to drink) you couldn't even find a craft beer. But even at that tender age, I knew there had to be more to life than Budweiser! My friends and I then embarked on a journey to try everything we could find and just as we were discovering more options, the phenomenon of 'micro-brewing' came into its own.


So many choices!.....or at least there used to be.

Initially craft brewers took to their trade with an eye towards rediscovering the classic beer styles of the past....and a taste for perfection. While there are others, the three biggest cultural genres are: German, English, & Belgian styles. Within those three are the main beers that have been around for centuries.

While there are many, the main German beers are lagers, pilsner lagers, weiss (or wheat) beers, & fest biers. The English beers are primarily 'ales', ranging from pales & bitters, to browns, porters, and stouts. Belgian beer is in a class by itself with recipes originating in the 1100s in Trappist Monasteries.....with many still being made there. There are abbey styles ranging from singels to dubbels to tripels......even quadrupels! And then there are the whites, lambics, and sours. 

Now there are many more as I said, but to do these well takes talent, and for a LONG time that talent was out there in force and delivering a cornucopia of deliciousness. Then people happened.......and did what they've always done......they fucked it up.

How? By being driven yet again by novelty and sweetness rather than rich.....but adult flavors. The craft beer market now is dominated  by two trends: the IPA boom, and the pure "what weird flavor can I stick in my ale"-novelty sensation. 

I can't complain about the IPA boom because I do like a good IPA......but even the English who invented it (for their soldiers stationed in India) still enjoyed a bitter, porter, or stout now and then as well. But at least IPAs are solid, adult-tasting ales that are being made in many wonderful variations. But try finding a good, solid pale/bitter.  Yes there are still some good ones......but instead of getting easier to find, they are getting more and more rare. 

Now.....try finding some fucking pumpkin, blueberry, grapefruit, cranberry, pomegranate thing and you'll have them everywhere. It used to be that around Halloween, someone would put out a pumpkin ale. Fair enough. Not my thing, but I understood. Now? Almost half the aisle is filled with pumpkin ales! But, try to find a nice, brown. Yes, there are still a couple out there, but not nearly as many as those fucking pumpkins! It's enough to make a beer lover cry....(and I have).

Yesterday I called the River Horse Brewing Company, formerly of Lambertville, NJ, and now near Trenton, to bemoan their discontinuation of what I thought to be the perfect "everything beer". It was called "HopHazard" and it had a nice hop to malt balance making it ideal for year 'round drinking. It was also the perfect "party beer".......being just the right touch of flavor, gravity, and alcohol content to please most anyone. I would buy it by the case. 

The woman I spoke to was very nice and agreed with my opinion of the variety, saying it was also one of her favorites, buuuuuuut.......trends being what they are, even though the brew masters loved doing traditional styles, they found from a business perspective that other more novelty-driven styles were doing much better. Novelty. 

What is it with the general public and 'novelty'? Societal ADD? Lack of any understanding of things of substance? I don't mind people pursuing what they want.......as long as it doesn't affect me.......but this has. So please.........if you want to drink something sweet and fruity, please do so, but stop trying to pretend you are a sophisticated craft beer consumer when you are just looking for something more apropos of a soda bottle. 

Beer is for big people.

How Coors Lite is made.

A Heiney in a hiney.

Best use of a Corona I've seen.




10 comments:

  1. I like you- a LOT, but if you insist on showing bottles and/or cans of beverages shoved in someones vagina or anus or any other body part, (except for maybe a mouth) I will be forced to find my adult entertainment elsewhere. Please stop this disgusting nonsense at once!

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    1. I'm sorry you find this particular type of imagery offensive. I merely choose images that have some connection with my post and also have some humorous/adult twist. It's not like I haven't covered all sorts of topics and imagery.

      I had not planned on a continuation of this bottle-insertion theme, so I think you should be fine.......BUT, at the end of the day, this is my blog and if in the future I see an image that I find appropriate for a piece, I will use it.....even if it happens to offend a viewer. I cannot honestly say that I see anything particularly offensive about bottle insertions over other kinks as it seems fairly tame by comparison to other things. In fact, I would have expected more of a negative reaction to the impalement photos.

      I would also say that as a person of kink yourself, who expects acceptance for the practices you like, referring to something others do as "disgusting nonsense" seems a tad judgmental. But you have to do what you feel comfortable with.

      Anyway, if it is merely bottle insertions that bug you, you should be safe going forward. (Feel free to e-mail me if as a long-time reader and friend, you want to pursue this further privately.)

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    2. Thank you! And for the record, I don't expect acceptance.


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  2. Not buying this one at all, my friend. While you are probably a little older than me, it's probably not much. I remember when about the only varieties you could buy in any local liquor store were Budweiser, Michelob, and Miller. And Coors if you lived West of the Mississippi. Though you could get some really truly awful shit locally, like Schlitz, Shaeffers, etc. There are now really great micro-brews and craft-beers everywhere you go. Even smaller liquor stores commonly stock 20 or more varieties, instead of three or four. And, some beers that used to be "craft" have gone mainstream. Boston Lager is a really great beer. I personally love Fat Tire, which made the jump from a small craft beer sold in a few bars in Colorado to available in lots of outlets coast to coast. I totally agree that putting fruit in beer for no good reason is both trendy and disgusting, but those are, for the most part, flashes in the pan and are not displacing better options in any permanent sense. I will take the state of beer drinking today over 20 or 30 years ago any time.

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    1. Dan, I think you misunderstand. I'm not comparing now to BEFORE craft beer. (heaven forbid!) No, on that count you are 100% correct. But I am comparing now to the early 'peak' of micro-brewing.............when everyone was just trying to make the best English, German, or Belgian style beers they could. I'm sure you remember it. It was .....paradise.

      Pale ales took up a third of the aisle. Browns, stouts, and porters came in a close second. Belgian imports were growing and a couple of brewers.....like Pierre Celis, actually started making Belgian style beers in the US. (Remember Celis' 'Grand Cru'?)

      The only fruit beers were imported traditional Lambics....which were fine for desserts.

      Over the years I've seen more novelty beers taking up the shelf space that used to house some great stuff.....now, sadly, all gone.

      That is not to say my refrigerator is empty. No, like you said, there are still plenty of great offerings......but it's not incorrect to say they are in shorter supply as novelty beers are competing and unfortunately winning more space and attention.

      (For the record......what is YOUR 'go to' brown ale right now. Smuttynose is currently mine if I can find it.....but I think there's only Samuel Smith, and Brooklyn brewery, doing them.)

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    2. It may just be a matter of different markets yielding different perspectives. Where I live, there seems to be new brewpub opening every months, and the sheer number of craft brewers is mind boggling. So, I just don't see the "peak" you describe.

      I tend to be a real creature of habit where beer is concerned. When I do browns, it's almost always in a brewpub that makes its own. For drinking at home, I tend to drink either Fat Tire, Negro Modelo or Dos XX Amber. Though at home it is increasingly rare for me to drink beer at all. I've gone over to tequila in a big way, and it is by far my drink of choice these days. Like I said, I tend to be a creature of habit and stick with things I like. Though, tequila is kind of an exception. People have learned I am a fiend for it, so it has become friends and relatives' go-to birthday and Christmas gift, so I am getting an increasingly large collection of really good stuff.

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    3. Brewpubs are still a decent source for fresh beer, but they can be wonderful or spotty. Still my beef is that I should not have to got to a pub for a decent bitter or brown. I never used to have an issue.

      And you are correct about the brewers. There are a lot. Now check out their line-up. I can guarantee an IPA.LOL

      Anyway, I do not think I am wrong about my observation. After all the woman at the brewery said the exact same thing without me saying a word.

      As for tequila? Patron reposado for me. I know there are even better ones, but...$$$$$$. As for booze gifts? I too get a lot of nice stuff via friends at special occasions. But the selections run the gamut from gins, to bourbons, to scotches. My son even found a pretty good rum for straight up sipping: Kirk & Sweeney.

      I can't say I'm a huge fan of your beer 'go-to's. Negro Modelo is very drinkable, but lacks the malt and hop intensity of other dark beers I tend to purchase. Oh and speaking of intensity, there IS an excellent brown/strong ale I didn't mention: Arrogant Bastard. It is very good....but very overpriced. At least here in NJ.

      Another good ale is from Yards in Philadelphia, and is a recreation of Thomas Jefferson's actual recipe. (they also do Washington's (a porter) and Franklin's (a sprucey ale that is a tad too 'piney' for me).

      (I wish you come down this way some time. I'll have you over for a few select choices!)

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    4. For reasons I don't understand, I just can't drink Patron. It seems to be like those people who just have genetics that make cilantro taste like soap. For me, that's Patron. On my taste buds, it tastes like lighter fluid. I can't even drink it in a margarita. For about the same price point, I'll go with Corralejo Reposado. For somewhat more, Don Julio is my sipping stand-by. When I'm feeling very indulgent Clase d'Azule.

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    5. I will definitely try your recommendations on my next replenishment. (I'm almost out of reposado.) I don't get the people who prefer the silver though. While I admit it is smooth, for me it's too 'clean'. If I am going to drink tequila, I want to taste the agave. What is your opinion of Cabo Wabo?

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    6. Never had Cabo Wabo. I agree, I usually don't do silver -- just not enough taste or bite.

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