Monday, July 21, 2008
InBev to the Rescue
Budweiser is one of America's most popular beers. It has the bland flavor one expects from a popular beer, which makes sense because beers in America really developed their inertia because after prohibition, just as breweries got up to speed, WW2 started, and young women were the main beer drinkers left in America, so their preferences were very influential. This is unfortunate because women don't appreciate good beer, or even bad beer for that matter, as much as men. Thus, popular American beer is watery, with little bitterness, and has a lot of rice because that has very little flavor. (Thank God wine coolers weren't available then. The horror.)
So it was fun to watch a beer taster for InBev, the new owner of the Bud brand, not patronize Americans in this WSJ video. He basically says its bland. He does like InBev's Hoegaarden, a very flavorful white-ale, and I must say that is my current favorite. It's like Blue Moon, or Paulaner (banana and clove esters), only better. Unlike many brews preferred by beer tasters, this one has low bitterness, which would make it an easy comparable for Americans used to low bitterness beers. I'm a homebrewer, so find this interesting (and being a homebrewer helps me appreciate how inefficient fermentation is an an energy source--lots of work to make beer out of complex carbohydrates found in beer mash). As George Will wrote recently, beer is deeply ingrained in human evolution: no beer, no civilization, so betterment here is up there with fixing the subprime mess.