Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Can we get an amen?

Check out the recent sermon on the mash tun by Cricket Hill brewmaster Rick Reed.

When we called Rick last week to find out what his crew was taking to the Brewer’s Plate food and beer pairing in Philadelphia March 9 (Rick’s taking his American Ale), he steered us to this clip. (Runtime – 6:33; wish we had shot it, but alas, no we didn’t.)

First things first, it’s funny. Rick’s a humorous guy. He once told us that choosing between Bud and Coors Light was like deciding which Menendez brother you liked best.

Secondly, there is a point to the Lewis Black-like tirade Rick delivers during that Friday evening tour at CH’s digs in Fairfield (in Essex County). Watch the clip, he’s straight up in his commentary. (And yeah, labels that turn blue when the beer is cold? If you need that gimmick, well you probably also need that velvet rope at the bank to find the teller windows. Might we suggest Coors create a label that goes ding! like a microwave when the beer is cold.)

Picking up where Rick leaves off
Back during the NFL playoffs (remember them?), Daily Show sidekick Rob Riggle was shilling for Budweiser (A-B has a brewery in Newark, as we all know).

Rob’s funny in his blowsy and deadpan comic delivery on Jon Stewart’s show (his stuff from Iraq was hilarious). So, to be clear, we’re not shooting the messenger, just the message, which we found to be misleading and dumbed down.

In the spots, Rob, with chum-like bearing, walks us through what’s so haute about Budweiser, that it’s a difficult beer to make with a multistep process (how is it more difficult to brew than, say, Cricket Hill’s East Coast Lager? And brewing is a multistep process to begin with); that dark beers are cloudy (ever hear of wit beer? Did you know chill haze is perfectly fine in, say, British ales?); that cloudy beers are flawed (again, wheat beer anyone … kellerbier ... again, chill haze … ); and suggesting that all import beers are dark (wrong, and just not worth more preaching to the choir here; but for pete’s sake, even sour is a valid beer taste/style … and funny that the Bud spots bring up imports and dark beers to illustrate inferior when A-B has imports and amber beers in its portfolio) …

Disclosure: We never drank/never liked Bud during those old dark days of yesterbeer; we drank Stroh’s, and eventually Heineken, before moving on to flavor country, thanks to the craft beer movement. So yeah, it’s easy for us to shred Bud and not get winded.

So why throw a Lewis Black spaz over the Bud spots?
Well, you’d think the whole Bud/Coors/Miller vs. craft beer debate was worn out by now and not worth reprising. That is, until a misinformation campaign promoting a mass-produced, bland (cheap) beer pops up.

If we wanted to be really shrill, we’d say that drinking Bud is like being stuck watching "American Idol" when you want “The Wire” or “Deadwood.” Or like being forced to listen to Van Halen when Sonny Landreth has the guitar chops you need. Or that Bud is to beer what Olive Garden is to Italian cuisine.

But we won’t go that far. Because, like sour, hazy, roasted, hoppy or dark, bland is a beer style.

Just not ours. And hopefully not yours, either.

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