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Do you feel the hate? Do you feel the love? Do you drink the Bud?

Questions, questions, they abound today in the beer blogosphere.

* Mike Sweeney at STL Hops asks, “Can a beer ever be life changing?” It sprang from a tweet about Pliney the Younger: “Great beer = yes! Life changing = no” Read the answers (comments).

* Mark Dredge of Pencil an Spoon fame tries various beers with Jambalaya. As much as he loves Thornbridge Jaipur it doesn’t work with the dish. But Budweiser does.

I’ve got no problems drinking Budweiser and as a beer it fascinates me, particularly its history. It’s very pale, doesn’t bellow out a huge aroma (most people drink it straight from the bottle so forget late hops), but has that classic bite of apple. It’s clean and crisp, cold from the fridge it’s uncomplicated and easy to drink: it is what it is. With jambalaya… it was perfect. I wanted it to just be ok, but it was spot on.

I ask, why aren’t more people who take the time to drive across a town or a country to find a beer different this open minded about Budweiser?

* Alan McLeod, not surprisingly, manages to pose a pocketful of questions without using a question mark. (Disclaimer, and he politely links this direction.) You need to head on over to understand the headline at the top.

I had just viewed Zak Avery’s video salute to Bell’s Hopslam before I got to reading Alan. Curiously — those of you studying Struck and White today will understand no irony was involved &#151 when I went to add comment that this is where he could find love and good video I found he’d already done that himself.

22 Responses to Do you feel the hate? Do you feel the love? Do you drink the Bud?

  1. Steve February 23, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    The “classic” bite of apple? H’oh boy.

  2. Clay February 23, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    Thanks for increasing the breadth of this conversation Steve. Your insights are truly mind blowing.

    Steve, I’m not asking you to like Bud but at least have some respect. And try to have an actual conversation about this post instead of just posting what you probably think is a clever one liner.

    For some reason, the beer writing community does have a serious negative edge. We craft brewers are held above the rest of beer drinkers by the exclusivity of our beer refrigerators. The craft brewing movement came about as a bit of a response to the proliferation of large brewers in the states making american lagers so it should come as no surprise that drinking or appreciating those lagers is seen as a faux pax. The cool kids simply won’t have it.

    We really need to get over that, as it’s a seriously juvenile tendency that shows some of the major flaws in the craft brewing community’s thinking and attitude.

  3. Steve February 23, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    “Thanks for increasing the breadth of this conversation Steve. Your insights are truly mind blowing.”

    Anyone who knows anything about faults in beer flavor will appreciate my comment.

    Sorry it was lost on your terribly serious attitude.

    But yes, it is anyone’s opinion, and I’d rather have a beer without the “classic” flavor of acetaldehyde.

  4. Stan Hieronymus February 23, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Remember, let’s play nice.

    And, to play devil’s advocate Steve, Mark wrote “classic bit of apple,” which might be different that green apple.

    And, to be clear, since I’ve played this parlor game. Have people who single out “green apple and corn” when they taste Bud with their eyes wide open give it a try tasting while blind.

  5. Jorge - Brew Beer And Drink It February 23, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    They do spend a fortune on research and have an amazing brewing process… anyone who brews beer knows how difficult consistency is… other than that, I do not like the flavor of bud and therefore don’t drink it…

  6. Derrick February 23, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    One of my colleagues, upon learning my strong interests in craft beer, remarked he could actually taste the difference in Budweiser between the different factories. It seemed to me he didn’t quite understand what I meant by craft beer, and I was shocked that anyone could taste anything in Bud, let along subtle differences amoung breweries. But he was so passionate about his allegience and understanding of Budweiser that it inspired a certain respect. Maybe not the respect we identfiy in ourselves for craft beer, but we shouldn’t dismiss the passion some people people have for macro brews without at least bothering to understand it. And believe it or not, last time I had Bud 2-3 years ago, I didn’t think it was all that good, but it wasn’t terrible either, which can’t be said for a number of craft beers I’ve had over that time.

  7. Steve February 23, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Stan, I think we both know that the fruity character in Budweiser is acetaldehyde, just as we both know I’m far and away one of the biggest crusaders for subtle, clean, malty lagers.

    Far from what Clay probably thinks, I’ve spent a fair amount of my life consuming American Lager, but I now I choose to spend my caloric intake on more pleasingly flavored beverages — which may or may not be “exclusive” or “cool.”

    Spaten Premium Helles being one of the beers that garners my respect. The major labels from Anheuser Busch, Miller, or Coors pale (pun?) by comparison to it and other better-brewed beers of the same ilk.

    Derrick’s friend may have a passionate allegiance, and I’ve met my share of these patriots to a brand, but I wonder if he wouldn’t be surprised at the myriad of great beers — with richer, more flavorful profiles — if he were exposed and educated to what beer can be.

    I’m not the typical web-beer geek, jumping on BMC because it’s stylish, I’ve experienced life before micros. And anyone can drink what they like, but don’t call me seriously juvenile when I speak from (long) experience.

  8. Stan Hieronymus February 23, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    Steve – First, I don’t think I called you seriously juvenile.

    Second, Budweiser (at least fresh, and not served ice cold) has other delicate fruity esters. It might seem like a strange exercise, but if you spike Bud with a very low (supposedly at threshhold) level of acetaldehyde and try it next to an unspiked fresh Bud you will notice the difference.

    Derrick, if your friend can pull off that parlor trick tasting “blind” I am particularly impressed. A-B goes to great lengths to keep the taste dead-on the same between breweries. I kinda thought it would make a cool marketing ploy to sell Newark Bud, Houston Bud, etc.

    Of course, putting me in charge of marketing would pretty well doom any brewery.

  9. Clay February 23, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    Sorry for coming off so hot there, but I think we need to acknowledge that when Dredge states that he had a great experience while drinking Bud with his meal you can’t try to invalidate that with your own personal opinion. Trying to diminish that in any way is what I would classify as seriously juvenile.

    I agree, Stan. Derreck’s story is pretty surprising, but here’s a similar story. Pre IMBEV, the AB brewmasters used to have blind tasting competitions to see who could correctly identify all the different breweries to the brewery they came from. Most of them could pull it off with decent accuracy. They usually used unavoidable regional differences, such as unalterable local water characteristics, to differentiate between the different breweries. I’m betting these guys knew exactly how much acetaldehyde was in their beer.

    And, for the record, both Spaten and Budweiser and managed, brewed and marketed by AB-Imbev nowadays, so in a sense we’re talking about the same guys.

  10. Mike February 24, 2011 at 6:02 am #

    Budweiser, like it’s bretheren, is an industrially produced beer. It’s main function, I’ve always believed, was to fill the pockets of its producers, which I believe it has done very well.

    As for the taste of Budweiser, would I be wrong in assuming that most of you know the old joke involving that beer and a canoe?

    IOW, it’s a beer for people who don’t like the taste of beer.

  11. Ali T February 24, 2011 at 6:11 am #

    For most of my drinking life I’ve just drank beers and lagers from the BIG Breweries. Basically I was one of the millions who were drinking the adverts, not the beers. But over the last few years I’ve gone on a journey of discovery into real ales, craft breweries, etc and have tasted some fantastic beers which have changed my perception of beer altogether.

    I stil, now and then, go back to drinking beers such as Bud, Fosters, etc when I just want a cold beer, not a drinking experience. They have their place, even if they are not that exciting.

    Cheers !!!

  12. Steve February 24, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    “…so in a sense we’re talking about the same guys.”

    Not hardly.

  13. Steve February 24, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    “Not hardly.”

    Sorry I didn’t originally elaborate on that (learned) “opinion,” sometimes work gets in the way of real life —

    Being subsidiaries of the InBev conglomo in no way makes Spaten and A-B “the same guys.” A study of the 2 breweries recipes is enough to highlight their vast differences.

    Stan — Bud not served “ice cold?” You’re kidding, right? 😉

  14. Bill February 24, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    You know what, I’m glad Steve likes lagers. Because I’ve long suspected many craft beer lovers don’t for the most part — they very few that get praise tend to have taste profiles or characteristics akin to ales, or are really really hard to find. That, sure, some reject large corporate stuff… but when folks reject _every_ American premium lager or Euro lager, and the only thing they can give faint praise to is, say, Victory Prima Pils (which IMO has a hop presence that would be familiar to ale drinkers), my conclusion is that they don’t really like lagers. So we have to translate: “X sucks” means “I don’t like X”.

    I mostly drink ales these days, but… I enjoy Budweiser. I love Bitburger. I enjoy Stella Artois, Pilsener Urquell, Point Special, Michelob, Heineken, Modelo Especial, Stroh’s, Miller High Life… There are definitely ones I don’t like, and if I slip up and say that MGD is the worst excuse for beer I’ve ever had the misfortune of coming across or that Chill is the foulest liquid that’s every touched my tongue, what I really mean is “I don’t like them.” Others might, and that’s fine.

  15. Stan Hieronymus February 24, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    Bill – I think it’s important to remember a lot of people are buying those beers you mention (granted, a mixed bag), no matter how they rank on the beer sites or the conversations they provoke.

    Interesting that Summerfest sales continue to surge for Sierra Nevada. A quick look at Rate Beer shows it rates 3.01, which merits a score of 47 – but 91 for style.

  16. Steve February 24, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    Stan, how many of those people who are buying Bill’s beers do you think are following beer blogs? How many of them do you think are also buying SN Summerfest?

    Bill, yes, I appreciate good lager — I don’t always have to be hit over the head with extreme flavor to enjoy a beverage.

  17. Stan Hieronymus February 24, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    That there are a whole world of beer drinkers who don’t give a hoot about beer blogs or online sites was the point of that comment. How many are buying Summerfest? I’d guess it is a bit of a gateway beer. You are out with your buddies, all of them are drinking “microbrews” and you want something not quite as frisky. Summerfest is an outstanding beer, although I sure wish they distributed the pilsner that won World Beer Cup (made in the pilot brewery; sold at the pub and a few accounts).

  18. Bill February 24, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Stan — yes, definitely, we should remember that (those style variants completely dominate the worldwide market in terms of sales), but I specifically referred to the folks who slam them while praising craft beer… yet rarely if ever praise “craft” lagers, let alone noncraft lagers. I do strongly suspect most of them don’t like lagers, but don’t realize it — maybe they don’t like dry, nor sulphur, nor, I dunno, hops used primarily for bittering. When a lager has to be smoked or a baltic porter or uber-hopped to get any love… I really do think many folks don’t like lagers, but don’t realize that. They judge them against ales, and with the lack of fruitiness, roundness, hop flavor… they come up with reasons why the lagers are bad, but miss the fact that lager characteristics aren’t to their taste.

    I mean, there’s a great reason i rarely drink sour ales, or weizens, or brett-beers — I don’t enjoy them, pretty much across the board. And because of that reason, it would be stupid for me to tell the world what’s “wrong” with a particular sour ale or weizen or brett-beer, or why said beer was “bad.” I strongly suspect many craft beer fans on the rating sites and forums who slam examples of lagers (or whole categories of them) do so because they aren’t self-aware enough to realize it’s not because the beer is bad, it’s because they don’t like that type of beer.

  19. Alan February 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    I love it when others illustrate my point for me. 😉

  20. Steve February 24, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    Alan, please expand on your “point,” if you will.

    Sorry Stan, I thought your point on the many people buying those beers was that they were popular, not that the buyers weren’t “beer geeks.”

    To the Summerfest, I was appalled (okay, that was probably too strong) to see BeerAdvocate members reviewing it and comparing it to the big 3. Obviously the threshold of their palates fades just south of 40 IBUs, and probably 7 ABV.

  21. first stater February 24, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    I’d rather drink a Bud than an IPA, any day of the week. That being said I don’t drink either. However I don’t take offense at anyone that loves either. I wish more folks felt the same.

  22. Tom February 25, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    There seems to be a conflation between intentionality and fault running through a good portion of the comments here. My question: if AB continually produces a beer with a particular flavor profile, with components that are marked as a fault by certain drinkers but not by others, doesn’t that point to a certain level of intentionality on AB’s part that makes that fault not so much a fault but an intentional choice by the brewery? Sure, some people may or may not like it, but to call something a fault would imply the brewer didn’t intend it to be in the beer. And I’m guessing AB wants that flavor in their beer. Whether we as drinkers like it or not. A rough similar analogy would be with diacetyl/butter flavors in British beers–there seems to be a lot more tolerance for this as a flavor component of beer in England than in the United States. Thoughts?

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