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Old 02-04-2010, 06:12 AM   #1
Batinse
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Default Simplicity; or, What America Has Done to Beer

Perhaps this post would be better framed if you pictured it delivered by a drunk (i.e. Me) who has just stumbled up to the bar, drained his half-full pint glass, slammed it down on the countertop, and after giving his lips a good wipe with his sleeve, eyes you deliberately, if a bit wobbly, and says: "Let me tell you something about America." He may or may not fall off his barstool at that point.

Ok. But seriously. This is what makes beer beautiful: grain, water, hops, yeast. Perfect! The elegant Czech Pils, the youthful German Hefeweizen, the bold India Pale Ale. One grain, one hops, one yeast--magic. Add just a touch of complexity and you get the subtle English Mild, the assertive Irish Stout, the glorious Trappist Ale.

Then, someone "discovered" America. Probably a good thing, on the whole.

Now, let me first say that America basically created the craft brewing movement. They revitalized the IPA, excavating it from the sweet, watery piss it had evolved to. They remembered classic styles like the Oatmeal Stout. They got creative and innovative, establishing new classics and new techniques. They diversified, micro-sized and beat back the behemoths that, in fairness, they had created. The brand names like curse words and blasphemes to the craft brewer: Bud, Miller, Coors (and Labatts, Molson, Tennents, lest I be mistaken for an anti-Yankee firebrand). For all this, I owe my southern neighbour my immense and eternal gratitude.

But srsly, wtf America? Imperial Pilsners? Chocolate Chili Porters? Pumpkin, Porcini and Spelt Ale? (Ok, I made that last one up.) I just got invited to a Hombrewer's Valentine's Day Party who is serving, and I quote: Vanilla-Mocha Porter, Red Hot Cinnamon Spice Ale and Aphrodisiac-Brown Ale infused with herbal contributions from the Urban Shaman! Like the British Office, America has taken a good thing and made it bigger, more extreme, more caricaturish (and funnier, it must be said) but, ultimately, worse.

Am I wrong? Probably. But sometimes I think the quest for the perfect Pilsner has been overrun by a 360 min Black IPA with 450 IBUs. (Disclaimer: I have tasted a Vanilla Coffee Stout that I hope will be served on tap in heaven.) I know there are a lot of brewers on here who distinguish themselves through their dedication to simple, elegant recipes. I guess what I'm saying is, I salute you, scions of simplicity. Thank you for keeping beer great. To the rest of you, please excuse this self-indulgent rant, and tell me why you love to brew the clusterf*cks you brew.

Love,
Batinse

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Old 02-04-2010, 06:24 AM   #2
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I have worshipped German Beer for years. While I have not had "real" German Beer what I have had that is available has been so clean and pure it reminds me of my first wife...wait, strike that.
I love hops and from time to time truly enjoy having my face melted by an acre of fresh hops, but what really gets me going is the complexity of simplicity.
O Sir, from the land of No Snow for the Winter Olympics: I encourage, nay beg, you to take a drive to Bellingham, find Chuckanut Brewery and have Will Kemper's (yes, that Kemper) Kolsch, Schwartz and Alt.
It is all that is currently right in the world of beer.
Oh, and quit bagging on us all you've got is Molson.

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Old 02-04-2010, 06:43 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Batinse View Post
Perhaps this post would be better framed if you pictured it delivered by a drunk (i.e. Me) who has just stumbled up to the bar, drained his half-full pint glass, slammed it down on the countertop, and after giving his lips a good wipe with his sleeve, eyes you deliberately, if a bit wobbly, and says: "Let me tell you something about America." He may or may not fall off his barstool at that point.
... Thank you for keeping beer great. To the rest of you, please excuse this self-indulgent rant, and tell me why you love to brew the clusterf*cks you brew.

Love,
Batinse
Soo..., you have been drinking tonight, eh? Me too. Hence this counter-rant.

For a long time we were drowned in the bland beers of BMC. I think because of this extreme deprivation, the US of A emerged with a resolve to make the best beers in the world. There is no reinheitsgebot here to stifle our imagination, no overbearing beer culture to dictate what a beer must be like, no limits on imagination. It is a given that this climate will produce some wild excessive beers, but in the middle you will find the new standard for beer, in the US and elsewhere. Right now, the best place in the world to have a good beer is right here. So says the late great Michael Jackson, and as the years go by, so says I. Skål!
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:44 AM   #4
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I have no poblem with -what was quoted as- clusterf*cks and salute the brewer who takes on the challenge but there is something about the simpliticity of a beer that is very basic and delicious. The comcept of a SMaSH beer is awesome. Making something with the most basic of ingredients and having it be so much better than the swill sold to the masses is heartening and inspiring!! also the fact that these simple ingredients have made this bverage for untold amount of years makes me truly enjoy this hobby that to people such as us is much more an artform!!

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Old 02-04-2010, 06:56 AM   #5
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My porcini mushroom brown was god damned delicious.

There's a room for everything. Creativity ups the bar on the good beer, and keeps people talking. It is all part of the process, and we should be happy that so many things are being created, no matter our palates and no matter how damn silly they sound. What it comes down to is that we have more beer and better beer than any other time in history. And if one red velvet chocolate mocha porter-ccino gets someone new into good craft beer, I call it a win.

I still love the basics, and I still appreciate the oddballs. I love that we have the option.

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Old 02-04-2010, 08:39 AM   #6
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I salute any homebrewer who makes a good beer, no matter how simple or complicated it is. If it tastes good, it tastes good. It's all the crazy names and dog face labels that drive me nuts!

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Old 02-04-2010, 01:20 PM   #7
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My Marris Otter and Amarillo brew has been one of my favorites of all times. Just because these myriad beers are out there, doesn't mean you have to buy them or drink them.

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Old 02-04-2010, 03:20 PM   #8
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That would make a good thread in the recipe section - super simple recipes.

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Old 02-04-2010, 03:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
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That would make a good thread in the recipe section - super simple recipes.
Look for threads about "SMaSH"; Single Malt, Single Hop. Doesn't get any simpler than that.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:38 PM   #10
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Aren't SMaSH recipes all grain? I haven't ventured into all grain yet.

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