I like beer. The strained elastic in my waistband can attest to that. But I hate “craft” beer. Honestly, I have yet to find one I like, which leads me to believe that the people who do like them are faking it.
What makes a craft beer? According to the Brewers Association website there are a few criteria for denoting a beer “craft.” First, the beer can only be brewed up to six million barrels a year. This was recently changed from two million barrels, presumably because of the popularity of craft beer has increased greatly and because the BA didn’t want these independent brewers to be confused with big bad corporations. Second, someone independent of the “alcoholic beverage industry” must own 75 percent or more of the brewery. This is to keep the makers of Mad Dog 20/20 from screwing up the craft beer talent pool. Third, the beer has to be traditional, meaning, “A brewer who has either an all malt flagship or has at least 50 percent of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.” I cut and pasted that directly from CraftBeer.com and have no idea what it means other than it’s the third requirement of a craft beer.
Now that that is cleared up, back to why I hate the stuff:
Frankly, I think it tastes horrible. I liken it to drinking something that’s been strained through a lumberjack’s wool socks. And not the Monty Python lumberjack either; these socks would be rugged, not frilly.
The beer is too heavy. I drink beer for the effect not the effervescence, and I can’t pound Humperdinck’s Garden Malt until 2AM. (Don’t look that up, it isn’t real)
It’s too expensive. Some pints cost $10 dollars or more. “But it’s the good ingredients and high alcohol content, man.” As long as the ingredients in a Coors Light won’t poison me, drop a shot of Jack into one and let’s get on with it.
I don’t mind if you like craft beer, just stop telling me about it. And stop making that face when I tell you I don’t like them. Craft beer isn’t a Lab puppy, it’s a matter of what I want to drink and I’d rather drink something else, thank you. I sat at a bar in Charleston one afternoon, a place I knew took pride in their beer selection, but I still figured I could get something I liked. I ordered a Bud Light; I knew Coors was out of the question. The bar tender gave me a look like I ordered a Big Mac at a steakhouse. A few more snooty comments later and I walked out. What a shame craft beer has elevated certain bartenders and establishments so highly that they don’t even want my money. Would it kill you to throw a six-pack of Bud in the fridge for classless slobs like me?
Blue Moon and Shock Top are by far the most popular beers in the “craft” category. These are the craftiest of the crafts, but they aren’t even technically craft beers. They aren’t even Belgian, which might shock a few of you wearing some form of hemp at the moment. These two beers are brewed in the good ole USA and are owned by MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch respectively. Fruit and beer don’t mix in my opinion but people cram orange slices into these things like antibiotics into an infected wound. I figure they are masking the taste, but that is certainly a minority opinion. As NBC News: Business reports, annual sales of Blue Moon are roughly $225 Million; that’s a pretty big nut for something that tastes awful.
The perception of these two competitors is that they started as small beers and exploded as a result of their popularity like Sam Adams (another product I hate, but think the CEO is brilliant so I’m leaving them alone). This is exactly what Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors wanted you to think and you lapped it up by the hundreds of millions. Purists and microbrews are fighting this marketing-caused misconception, arguing Blue Moon and Shock Top’s labeling is misleading and they don’t meet the “criteria” of a craft beer. This argument is correct, but the beers never claimed to be craft. They simply put “Belgian-style” and some pastel painting on the front and duped a bunch of people who think they are special. I say you were fooled by a brilliant marketing scheme and it’s time to get over it. Actually I would argue that you were fooled by your taste buds, but then you might look at me disapprovingly.
Obviously people love this stuff or it wouldn’t be everywhere and I wouldn’t be writing about it. I’m not trying to stop the spread of craft beers, either. If there is demand, brew that junk. But stop judging me because I only like the big business swill (that they sell by the billions). I’ll make a deal with you: I won’t try to get you to drink mine if you won’t try to get me to drink yours; then we can live happily sauced together.