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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hey Kevin: "Why don't brewers always drink craft beer?"

Welcome to Hey Kevin, Siciliano's official advice and information column. Let's get right to this week's question.

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A Hamm's at the Tip Top Deluxe
Hey Kevin,

Why is it that when I go out to some of my favorite watering holes and see some of my favorite professional craft brewers drinking there, they always seem to have a Hamms, High Life, Schlitz, PBR, etc., instead of that double imperial barrel-aged stout. I thought these guys were supposed to be the epitome of craft beer drinkers. What's the deal?

Bob B. Confused, Grand Rapids

Hey Bob,

It's a good question, not an easy one to answer. And by "not easy," I mean it doesn't sleep around.

Sorry Bob, this is hardly the time for jokes. I know how let down you feel when certain longheld beliefs turn out to be untrue. Think Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, honest politicians—looking back on it our faith in these things strikes us as quaint, even absurd, but when the myths first came unraveled how devastating it all seemed. 

In this case, you probably believed or at least hoped that your favorite brewers, people you consider the great champions of craft beer, were treating themselves to the rarest, sweetest, most delectable malted nectar in the land. What a rude awakening to learn that they are not at all times quaffing oak-aged raw wheat beers fermented with yeast salvaged from sunken pirate ships, that instead they opt occasionally for a light lager or two (or seven), mass produced and by their very nature (and marketing) antithetical to the craft brewer's raison d'être.

But rest assured, Bob, there are no bigger proponents of craft beer than the folks who brew it. So you might spy them sipping a "cheap" American adjunct lager from time to time, what of it? Keep in mind that these guys are engulfed in craft beer all day long—they are literally (literally!) swimming in the stuff. We can forgive them if occasionally they deviate from double this and triple that in favor of something a little less palate scorching.

I'd like to tell you that when you see a craft brewer sampling, say, a Hamms or PBR, he (or she) is doing market research, trying to learn maybe what not to do. Fact is these guys are just enjoying a beer, one they don't have to think about or over-analyze. It's welcome respite from flavor country, Bob, and as weird as that sounds to regular Joes like you and me, it's exactly what the brewer needs if he's to put his own offerings in perspective.

Hope this helps.

Kevin

The views here are Kevin's own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of The Buzz staff or its parent company, Siciliano's Market. Have a question for Kevin? Submit it here.

5 comments:

  1. Life is a study in Duality. Sure we can enjoy a good artisan, crafted beer. Sure we can also split a sixie of cold, cold, High Life when hanging with the guys. Either way, life is great.

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  2. even processed american cheese slices have their place...

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  3. Nostalgia has power. One whiff of Miller Lite and I'm at the ballpark. A chug of Bush Lite and I'm back at school.

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  4. After homebrewing all day myself, smelling the mash, splashing sticky wort around, etc. the last thing I seem to want is an IPA or heavier. I liken it to some chefs - make five star food all day, then go home and order the cheapest Chinese takeout they can find or a Caesar's pizza. :P

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  5. I usually put the light lagers in a category with water, soda, etc. Sometimes having a PBR when out and about is a refreshing change from the heavy stouts, extreme IPAs, and ridiculous Belgians that lots of brewers probably have on tap at home.

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