Mmmm, Beer

     I was in a liquor store last weekend; well it was more like a liquor superstore. This store had so many different types of wines, it wouldn’t have surprised me to come across Florida State Penitentiary prison hooch smuggled out of the clink by an enterprising lifer looking for some excitement and a little extra coin for the commissary.
     I don’t drink wine and I don’t even really drink much liquor. I have the same bottle of rum in my pantry I had two summers ago, and a bottle of Jack purchased for a Thanksgiving recipe last year will probably be my birthday present to my daughter when she turns 21, minus a couple of tablespoons. She’s currently six months old.

     But I do drink beer. That’s the only reason I was in this liquor superstore last weekend. Just as this place has every wine ever pressed, it also has an equally deep selection of microbrews and imports.
     Now, there was a time I subscribed to the quantity not quality theory of beer. I could get a case of Natty Light for $7.20, drink myself into a stupor and have enough left over for a sluggish brunch the next afternoon. Shortly after turning 14 however, I realized that life is too short to drink cheap beer. Since then, I’ve made a hobby of drinking quality beer.
     So I’m in this alcohol wonderland, perusing the craft brews. I wonder aimlessly into another aisle and find myself in the heartland of American macrobrewery. Miller Lite, Coors Light, Budweiser, from floor to ceiling. Not to get snobby. In college these were considered upscale suds for my companions and I. To this day if I plan on drinking myself to double vision I’ll pick up one of these brands more often than not. I’ve got nothing against them.
     It’s just that these brands, especially Miller and Coors, have rolled out comically offensive ad campaigns in recent years seeking to win back the dollars they’re losing to the microbrew market. For example, Miller Lite’s new campaign pointing out that it adds hops to its beer at three different stages of production.
     Take it from someone who’s drank enough IPAs this year to fell an elephant: Miller Lite is in no imaginable way hoppy, to the slightest degree. Make special note of the fact that nowhere does Miller Lite actually claim it has increased the total amount of hops in its beer. It just claims to split up the times when the hops are introduced.
     Far as I can tell Miller Lite tastes now exactly as it tasted ten years ago: like a beer good enough to drink large quantities of, almost exactly like Bud Light, or Coors Light.
     Speaking of Coors Light, this brand more than any other offends the sniff test. Over the past couple of years, the company has introduced the wide mouth can (because it was so hard to drink quickly out of the old style), the wide mouth vent (the irony comes when you’re encouraged to enjoy this product responsibly), and my favorite, the can that changes colors when it’s cold enough to drink.
     You have to be truly, truly, truly stupid to have to have a can tell you when it’s cold enough to drink.
     Budweiser, Miller, Coors. They can’t compete with the serious brewers when it comes to taste. And their attempts to deceive consumers into thinking so are embarrassing.
     But there’s nothing I’d rather have in my hand standing next to a smoking grill when the weather gets hot than a visibly cold, extra wide-mouthed, vented, faux triple hopped, European-owned, American macrobrew.

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