Imagine, if you will, it’s a blazing hot day. The sun is shining and you’re sweating through your shirt. Do you want a heavy, nuanced German style schwarzbier? Probably not. You want something that will go down easily and quench your thirst. You want a simple beer. A cheap beer. The kind that your dad and his dad before him had in their fridge.
There’s something to be said for the no-frills pleasures of macrobrewed beer. Let’s take my personal favorite, Miller High Life. The flavor is crisp and almost clean. There’s little nuance and it doesn’t leave a harsh aftertaste. You don’t have to close your eyes and discern subtle notes of cocoa and spiced fruit. You don’t have to worry about serving it in the right stein or chalice. You get to just enjoy a refreshing cold beer.
After all, isn’t one of the greatest strengths of beer its unparalleled adaptability? Beer is a beverage that’s equally at home at the ball game with a jumbo pretzel as it is at an expensive restaurant. And honestly, we have craft beer to thank for that. It’s the little guys, and not the big corporate brewing conglomerates, making superior beer of the utmost quality that helped established beer as a respectable, gentleman’s drink.
But you could go blind trying to find the perfect triple-hopped IPA from a little-known local brewer. And sometimes you’re simply not able to enjoy a nice craft beer, for reasons of availability, price or situation. Are you supposed to abstain all together if you can’t get a high-brow brew? Who wants to be so rigid? Leave the snobbery and elitism to wine drinkers, coffee sippers and cheese experts. As the world-renowned chef David Chang perfectly put it:
Beer snobs are the worst of the bunch. You know the old joke about cheap beer being like having sex in a canoe? I will take a beer that’s ‘fucking near water’ every night of the week over combing out my neck beard while arguing about hop varieties.”
– David Chang
So don’t feel like you shouldn’t enjoy the beer you liked back in college or high school. You drank it then because it was cheap, uncomplicated and went down smoothly. And there’s nothing wrong with any of that. And hey, your dad and grandfather would probably agree.