The changing tastes of man: The Beer Drinker

By on January 27, 2010

The Germans and English have gotten beer to amazing levels over the past few hundred years. Germans have been starting breweries all over the world since the early days. So much of what we drink are German Lagers – Singha, most Mexican beers – you know – the light fizzy stuff. Thanks for the training old world. Now watch as America reinvents beer. Brewers throughout the US are making  Double IPA’s, Imperial Pilsners (Imperial anything really), Double ESB’s (a session beer no more) more and more frequently. Dogfish Head even has a Chai beer that is oh so good.

Will some of these newer styles last through the years or are they just a sign of America’s need to indulge in excess.

Now that our dads are no longer brewing the beer – we have taken it upon ourselves to brew newer and less classic styles. Gone are the days of Schlitz and Schmidt’s (notice what every other letter spells?) – these are the days of Lagunitas, Stone, Breakwater, Dogfish, Rogue, Russian River, Elysian – just a few of the breweries in America pushing the limits with little or no regard to the german purity law (which was actually a tax law).

What will these breweries variations on classic styles lead to? Will Pilsner Urquell from Pilsen, Czech Republic end up brewing a double Pilsner someday? Hard to think that such a storied brewery would ever change anything. But I’m guessing in time, some crazy American will open a brewery right down the street that does make big beers. And guess what – people are going to like it. Stone is looking to expand to the EU. The first American beer bar just opened in Amsterdam – showcasing some of the best beer in the world to unsuspecting Euros. “WOW” they must be saying, “the Americans don’t F**K everything up.” And what a perfect country to open such a bar.  The Dutch brewing giant Heineken thinks so little of the unrefined mainstream American palette that they dumb down the recipe for us and then destroy what flavor is left by putting it in a green bottle. I met a 50-year old man in my  brewery tonight who loves IPA’s. He had been drinking Bud Light his entire life until 8 months ago when he ordered his first micro beer. If this man from South Carolina can see the light – then everyone can.

My question is this: Do you see America taking the reins and spreading our liquid gospel worldwide? Or will the classic styles always be represented without change in these coming decades? Will the Old World change its ways? If so, how – and if not, will it be pride or prejudice that keeps them toeing the line? After all, they did invent the line.

Hey Europe – is it time to wake up and smell the coffee stout?

Beers in the valley to look forward to:

Snake River has the awesome Cold Smoke Porter on tap as well as the Flanders Ale – an aged and involved Belgian style beer. Barkeep Matt Wilkins played a hand in brewing an IPA this month that will honor Chad Taylor’s dog that passed earlier last year. Should be ready in a few weeks.

Thai Me Up has the Quadruple Pale Ale (QPA) – brewed in collaboration with Kirk McHale of Breakwater Brewery in Oceanside, CA. This week TMU has the first release in a series of Thai beers.  The Thai Pale Ale (Thai PA) is brewed with Thai palm sugar.  Hop heads unite: The Up & Up IPA will be tapped this week –  also a collaboration with BWB. Thai Me Up will also be working on an Espresso Stout with Pearl Street Bagels this month! Who said beer wasn’t for breakfast anymore?

Grand Teton is getting ready to release the Lost Continent IPA aged with oak and the Scottish Ale is out – I sipped on them straight out of the fermenter and they are delicious! Marks and Rob are killing it!

Wildlife Brewery just released the Soul Surfer Best Bitter and is aging the Cream Ale and the Amber Rye for a couple more weeks – worth the trip to Victor for sure.
And Urquell is served in the can at Café Ponza.

Until next time, drink beer till it feels good!

About Jeremy Tofte

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