Sunday, January 6, 2008

What is Beer?

Warning: Stupid Digression follows...

A question of centuries. Pondered and pontificated by many a brave man, and few a brave woman. The many facets and ambiguities that comprise the meaning of this word, and this wonderous beverage. Beer.

To some, it is Miller High Life. To some it is Coors Lite. And to yet others, it is things like Bud, Michelob, Heineken, and other forms of pure urine. Yes. You read correctly, those are sad immitations of "beer". Watered-down, over-treated, excessively processed and then stamped, marketed and sold as "finest" of brews. Bullshit! If you think that's what beer is, you should just slit your wrists or jump off a tall building somewhere, right now, before finishing this article. Do us all that favor. At least it could translate into one fewer idiot to sit behind in traffic each day.

I managed to enjoy some fine brews over the holidays. Corsendonk, Chimay, Hoegaarden (my personal favorite), and a sampling of Trappist Ales (Triple is the best for me). I also fancied a bit of Samuel Smith's Ales and Stouts, and a few off-named Porter's. Beer. That's what beer is. Somehow, when the wunderkind of brewmasters sailed to America, they got mugged, beaten and disposed of by mobs of half-brained wanna-be's, who read the first sentence of the book of brewing and made up the rest and called it American Beer. Sad. So tragically sad.

What's even sadder is the reaction you get from Americans when you try to introduce them to the original thing. They scoff at it, poke and point at it. Make jokes. Call it names. "Foo-foo beer" or "Fancy-shmancy beer" and things of that ilk. Their mothers obviously raised them poorly. If I were king for a day, it would be required to learn about "real" beer and brewing before leaving high school. Why not? We teach them to drive and driving kills more people in America than all of the beer in the world combined. We hand out guns to anyone that can fill-out a form, yet we hide the beer. Make beer the required beverage at all business meetings. Yes! Can I get an A-MEN!
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