The Bud isn’t your buddy
It would greatly amuse me if InBev, the monolithic Belgian/Brazilian/Martian brewery and new owner of Anheuser-Busch, would elect without warning to transform the insipid liquid in those many millions of cans rolling daily off A-B’s regional factory assembly lines into dark, rich, complex Abbey-style ales just like the ones Flemish and Wallonian monks drink after morning prayers.
Just ponder the “Candid Camera” moment nationwide as Bud drinkers lift aluminum cans to their trembling mouths, joyfully anticipating the moment of low-common-denominator ecstasy about to enable the successful delivery of trace alcohol into their systems without the slightest risk that actual taste might intrude on the act of swallowing … and instead of sex on the beach, the bracing challenge of strong and complex ale invades their confused olfactory space, prompting agonized spit-ups in drinking venues from sea to shining sea.
A boy can dream, but rest easy — it won’t be happening. InBev wouldn’t have crazily overpaid for the crown jewel of American mass-market mediocrity if it intended to alter the formula. After all, does anyone remember Schlitz?
From leather-clad bikers to grandmotherly gardeners, and embracing diverse demographics like gangsta rappers, straying Baptists on the sly and Hawaiian surfer dudes, Americans have come to associate the passive non-flavor of Budweiser and similar beers with the default flavor of beer, and while this is understandable given long decades of Goebbels-like saturation advertising and predatory tactics by our nation’s megabrewers, it’s still regrettable that so many people are frightened to experience the full range of beer’s possibilities.
Now more than ever before, alternatives are available. The craft-brewing market segment in the United States has grown 12 percent in each of the past two years, in spite of hop shortages, gasoline prices and economic uncertainty. Smoked, black, oily, golden, strong, amber, wheat, bitter … just think of what might be.
Roger Baylor is co-owner of the New Albanian Brewing Co. in New Albany. Visit www.potablecurmudgeon.com for more beer.