good beer and bad beer

February 26th, 2006

Whenever two people get into a discussion over which beer is good and which isn't, I always roll my eyes at them. And you would think that by now I would stop, because it happens so often. It's a case of "what am I not getting here?". I have those quite often, whenever there is a heavily contested subject or people spend a lot of time and energy on something that seems fairly pointless, I want to be a little humble and approach the subject with some humility. So instead of saying "that's a total waste of time", I try to understand what's so special about it. Well, without fail, after taking an interest in the subject, I conclude that it *is* a total waste of time. It seems that when I don't "get it" from a distance, no amount of scrutiny will change that, and while I waste my time on it, at least I can say that I didn't dismiss these people's great passion without trying to grasp it.

But back to beer again. People arguing over which beer is the best is one thing, a point in time where I can say with complete conviction that "this topic is not for me". But when they ask my opinion about beer, that's when I get dragged into it. "How do you like the beer?" "Well, it's beer.." Yup, that's my answer. I just don't see the big difference. Heineken is more bitter, Amstel is a bit sweeter. I've had about two of each since I've been in Utrecht. But it's not like there's a big difference. One beer that does stand out is Corona, very light color and very delicate taste. That's one I could probably pick out of a line-up. The rest is mostly various brands with subtle differences. Or maybe I just don't drink enough beer to appreciate what sets them apart. I've been drinking tea all my life and I could tell you which brand of tea has what taste and how they differ. I'm not religious about it, though, unlike beer fans.

But more than distinguishing between brands it is about classifying beer into "good" and "bad". You will hear statements like "in the Czech Rep they have great beer". So apparently any brand over there is great. I've no idea what makes beer good or bad, either way a summer cyclist [or a fruit smoothie] wipes the floor with it.

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6 Responses to "good beer and bad beer"

  1. erik says:

    I rarely drink beer nowadays... But sometimes I'll feel like it. I do have some preferences, but I'm not religious about it like some people. I don't get that either.

  2. ash says:

    When you say beer I presume you mean lagers, because beer also encompasses ales and bitters which taste very differently. I'm not a fan of bitters.
    I don't argue about the taste of beers - not because I can't tell the difference but because it really is pointless. It's like arguing about which is the most delicious vegetable.
    But there are definitely beers I prefer to others. In some ways it's a case of getting used to a beer's taste after a few pints in one evening and seeing if you stick with it.

  3. John/Mikhail says:

    What's a summer cyclist?

  4. Diana says:

    Just give me a Spanish San Miguel or a big Babarian Weissbeer and I am sattisfied. :D

  5. numerodix says:

    [2] I had no idea. Lager then, I've heard the word, never knew what it meant. What are the other two like?

    [3] It's an epic drink out of Friday's in Stockholm. I forget exactly what was in it, based around strawberry juice though. The premise is that anything you make from fruit will always taste heaps better than alcohol..

  6. ash says:

    [5] Lager is kind of fizzier than the other two. Bitter is quite thick, has a kind of creaminess to it and is, unsurprsingly, bitter. Ales are flatter than lagers, and fruitier. I guess they're more popular in Britain than on the continent.