Dispatches from District 48
It is hard to even describe to younger folks what a wasteland the American beer market was in the early 1980's. Via here
Heh. My living it up was crossing the border into Illinois, where my (insert bland beer here) was 4-5% alcohol content, instead of the 3.2% that was the mandated maximum in Iowa.
Heh. It's not hard to make your own beer and wine, cheaply, and of the varietal you want. If you're willing to work just a bit harder, it's straightforward to turn these into whiskey, brandy, or vodka. I'm talking on the scale of 5 gallons at a time.
Wish I knew about this back in the 80s
Even as recently as the early to mid 90's it was sometimes difficult to get decent beer. I recall visiting a restaurant with a friend around 1995 and my friend asking what types of microbrews they had in stock.
The waitress returned a few minutes later and explained that they didn't carry that brand.
I can't imagine a similar situation occurring today.
...Not to mention all the homebrew stuff. How many home brewers are there?
Me, I can't stand beer, never had any that didn't taste like the horse was rather deathly ill, but it's certainly popular enough to support a vast array of craftsmanship regardless of my own lack of interest.
Finally a topic near and dear to my heart. Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI. Married to the daughter of a career Pabst Brewery manager (back when PBR was king in Milwaukee). The beer market got very boring for a while, but the micros have revitalized the market.
I love those bars with 60 different tab heads ready to draft. Give me a hearty Lager or clean Pilsner and I'm a happy man. Maybe a Black & Tan before dinner, Ahhhh. What a country.
It is kind of weird, I used to like the stronger flavored home brew beers, now they give me stomach acid, and I don't like the strong taste. I know this makes me a heathen but recently I switched to Coors.
When I first started drinking beer, I remember finding Stroh's "Fire-brewed" beer and liking the fact that it had real character and taste while the "lite" beers were appearing on the scene and Coors was the impossible dream. Now, after most of a lifetime of enjoying the brew, I find that the single finest expression of the brewer's art (to my taste, of course) comes from Scotland in a beer that's aged in oak barrels and is not easy to find. (sigh)
At least my no longer really drinking beer anymore (carbs, doncha know) has been made more tolerable by the beer I *want* to drink not being to hand.
This trend is continuing into "nano breweries" in which home brewers get licensed to have a "tasting room" in which the sell samples of their brews. They make 5-30 gallon batches in small (1000 square foot'ish) warehouses. They tend to do it in the evening after they finish their day job. Of course, the best of these will grow increase sales, hire people and make great beers.
I have 3 of these within 20 miles of my home. Oddly enough, the laws in California are very friendly to this kind of endeavor.