Originally Posted by abstractreasoning
It can't be for the flavor.
Seems that lagers take longer and require more resources to produce than ales.
So why are all the main breweries concentrating on these?
Contrary to what you might believe, it IS the flavor.
Just because you don't like it, or think you have better tastes than the average beer drinker, it is exactly what people seem to want.
Or ELSE they wouldn't be doing it, would they?
America like most of the world had quite an extensive array of beers available prior to the German Invasion of brewer's which later
introduced the light lager. They pretty much had the "brewing culture" of all the countries that people immigrated from...Most English beer styles..you know Porters, Stouts, Partigyles, stuff like that. As well as mostly heavy German Styles of beer. Not to mention people from Scotland, Ireland, Russia and other places where beer was drank.
Remember up until then, beer was food.
In fact thew whole history of the light lager is the American populace's
(not the brewer's) desire to have a lighter beer to drink, which forced the German brewers to look at adding adjuncts like corn and rice...not as the popular homebrewer's myth has been to make money by peddling and "inferior commercial product" by adding adjuncts, but in order to come up with a style of beer that the American people wanted.
Maureen Ogle proved that in Ambitious Brew
it actually made the cost of a bottle of Budweiser cost around 17.00/bottle in today's dollars. Gee I've paid 17 dollars for a bomber of beer before...not too much difference there, eh?
Ambitious brew is much more historically accurate than that silly beer wars beersnob propaganda. I encourage folks to read it and learn a little more about the truth.
When AH released Budweiser with it's corn and rice adjuncts in the 1860's it was the most expensive beer out there; a single bottle retailed for $1.00 (what would equal in today's Dollars for $17.00) this was quite difference when a schooner of beer usually cost a nickel.
This is the part that blows the "cost cutting" argument out of the water. In order to use those adjuncts you have to process them separately from the rest of the mash, and then add it to the mash. You either have to do a cereal mash to pr-gelatinize them or you have to roll them with heat to make them flaked...either way, besides the labor and energy involved to grow and harvest those plants, you expend labor and energy to make them usuable. You have to boil them in a cereal mash. That's another couple hours of labor and energy involved in the cost of the product. Same with making the HFCS ad rice syrup solids they use today....It still has to be processed before it makes it to the beer.
It wasn't done to save money, it was done because heavy beers (both english style Ales and the heavier Bavarian malty beers) were not being drunk by American consumers any more. Beer initally was seen around the world as food (some even called it liquid bread), but since America, even in the 1800's was a prosperous nation compared to the rest of the world, and americans ate meat with nearly every meal, heavy beers had fallen out of favor...
And American 6-row Barley just made for heavy, hazy beer.
The American populace ate it up!
The market WAS in a sense, craving light lagers...The German brewers didn't want to make the switch. They were perfectly happy with their bocks and all those other great heavy German Beers. But the rest of us weren't into it
So, what, they were just supposed to claim superiority by sticking to those styles until they went out of business? It wasn't until after the second world war, when GI had returned from eating the foods of the world that "gourmet culture" as we know it began......There wasn't really a "craft anything" market yet.
Bush and other German Brewers started looking at other styles of Beers, and came upon Karl Balling and Anton Schwartz's work at the Prague Polytechnic Institute with the Brewers in Bohemia who when faced with a grain shortage started using adjuncts, which produced the pils which was light, sparkly and fruity tasting...just the thing for American tastebuds.
So the brewers brought Schwartz to America where he went to work for American Brewer Magazine writing articles and technical monographs, teaching American brewers how to use Rice and Corn...
The sad moral of the story is....The big corporate brewers did not foist tasteless adjunct laced fizzy water on us, like the popular mythology all of us beersnobs like to take to bed with us to feel all warm and elitist....it was done because our American ancestors wanted it.
Blame your grandfather for having "lousy" taste in beer, NOT the brewers themselves.
Like everything in business, they had to change or die.
Maureen Ogle's book Ambitious Brew is the best and most historically accurate of American Beer History books out there. I can't recommend it enough.
It a dose of reality. I used to believe the same stuff you all did until I read it. It's kinda humbling to realize we're NOT "the pawns of an evil corporate empire" after all.
Her blog archive has a lot of material covering the imbev takeover or Anheiseur Bush as well as stuff that didin't make it into here original book, so I encourage you to dig through that as well.
It clears up a lot of stuff like this, and busts a ton of myths like this one.
Listen to this from Basic Brewing;
November 30, 2006 - Ambitious Brew Part One
We learn about the history of beer in the USA from Maureen Ogle, author of "Ambitious Brew - The Story of American Beer." Part one takes us from the Pilgrims to Prohibition.
December 7, 2006 - Ambitious Brew Part Two
We continue our discussion about the history of beer in the USA with Maureen Ogle, author of "Ambitious Brew - The Story of American Beer." Part two takes us from Prohibition to the present day.
That's why I find the arguments the "bud basher's" like to use so amusing...It's so historically inaccurate. It really is our ancestor's "fault" that BL is the most popular beer in the world.
Go ask your grampa why he didn't choose a nice Stout or an IPA. (But if stouts, or IPAs were the biggest sellers on the planet today, you bet your bippie that beersnobs would be railing against those beers instead.
And they had choices back then as well. They didn't HAVE to drink that style, they chose too.