Monday, September 14, 2015

Downstream Beer

I often pine to those who are to listen that I may have stopped drinking beer at the wrong time. A very great and true friend of mine, who spent a great portion of his life describing beer as "moose piss," has taken to savoring and pontificating on the occasional craft brew. I can remember a fifteen minute period somewhere back in the late seventies when my father threatened to make beer in our garage, but that was mostly swirling air. The commitment and patience needed for bottling your own beer was far beyond my father's resources. It was much easier to head down to Liquor Mart and pick up your favorite beer in multiples of six.
My favorite beer was not my father's favorite. It was not, as some people have imagined due to my Colorado heritage, Coors. It was Miller Lite. I came by this "taste" having started with Miller High Life. This was not because of their curious assertion that they were "the champagne of beers," but rather because I had a cousin whose last name was Miller, and he insisted to a twelve year old me that it was the best. I bought it. And for a few years, I drank it. Until they introduced Lite beer. One third the calories meant that during my binge haze I could drink three times as many without gaining any weight. Even as I was losing friends.
But that's a different story. Miller was a team. Coors was a team. Budweiser was a team. Each one of these guys had their "lite" version. That made sense. But when I came to understand that Michelob was not its own island in the stream of suds, I was confounded. Did this mean that all beer came from some great big generic tap? Were they just putting them in different bottles and labeling them "extra" this and "gold" that? Was I being marketed to?
In a word: "Youbetcha."
That's probably why I shuddered when I read that not only had Coors and Miller become one big vat of hops and yeast, but that beast has begun to devour small craft breweries. like Saint Archer. Soon, it will all be one big yellow river of - well - you know.

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