Thursday, September 10, 2009

All Beer Is Yellow . . .

. . . I know, I know it isn't. However, in a recent Facebook thread I was told such, TWICE! Now this is not a candid reply to such, merely a developed explanation on how this simply is not the case.

Now not only can this be refuted in an instant but it begs to ask the question, "Why would someone think this is so?" The answer to that is probably the massive marketing campaigns that BIG BEER produces. These campaigns dominant marketing all over television, radio, and the internet, telling you that their beer "Tastes Great" and is "Less Filling," enticing you to tell another "I Love You Man" to snag a beer, or that their beer is "As Cold as the Rockies."

As famous beer critic and writer, Micheal Jackson 'The Beer Hunter' put it, "Now someone farts and they put a TM after it. Even Miller Lite says 'A Fine Pilsner Beer' on the label. It is a crime."

The late Michael Jackson, "The Beer Hunter"

The Big Beer I refer to would be the three largest breweries on American soil, Anheuser-Busch (brewers of Budweiser), Miller, & Coors. I unfortunately have to say on American soil because they no longer are majority-owned by Americans. Miller Brewing is owned by SAB Miller, a British company based in London and listed on the London Stock Exchange. In 2005 the Coors Company merged with Canadian owned Molson and is now MillerCoors, a joint venture created in 2007 between British-owned SAB Miller and the now Half-Canadian, Half-American MolsonCoors, to be one third American owned. Last to join the foreign market is Anheuser-Busch. They were purchased in August of 2008 by the Belgian owned InBev to the sum of $52 billion. This makes InBev the largest brewer by volume with all of the Anheuser-Busch brands (Bud, Michelob, Busch, Rolling Rock) joining notable brands like Bass, Beck's, Stella Artois.

So that leaves the meager Boston Beer Company as America's Largest American-owned brewery. When I mentioned this fact to my Facebook friend they rifled back with, "You know, Sam Adams is a 'BIG' corporate company." While they may be publicly traded company, they are no doubt a craft brewery and not Big Beer. Here is how the Boston Beer Company describe themselves:
The Boston Beer Company is America's leading brewer of handcrafted, full-flavored beers. Founder and Brewer, Jim Koch, brews Samuel Adams® beers using the time-honored, traditional four-vessel brewing process, and the world's finest all-natural ingredients. With 18 distinctive, award-winning styles of beer, Samuel Adams offers discerning beer drinkers a variety of brews. The brewery has won more awards in international beer-tasting competitions in the last five years than any other brewery in the world. Samuel Adams is an independent brewery and has half of a percent of the domestic beer market. The Company's flagship brand, Samuel Adams Boston Lager®, is brewed using the same recipe and processes that Jim Koch's great-great grandfather used in the mid 1800s. The result is a beer renowned by drinkers for its full flavor, balance, complexity, and consistent quality.

With that I'll continue to refute the statement of "All Beer is Yellow." The following styles in the there nature are anything but yellow; stouts, porters, ambers, brown ales, dark largers, bocks, lambics, and irish red ales. For the majority of their styles you need not read their BJCP Style Description but simply read their name. Some lambic's colors are so vibrant they are more akin to pure juices than beer or even wine.

As you can see from the BJCP Color Chart, each style varies in color greatly. While most lagers and pilsner styles are meant to be clear with a golden yellow hue, most porters and stouts are meant to be dark and slightly opaque. These are attributes to their style and are not necessarily for better or worse. I sampled a wonderful pilsner by Green Flash Brewery in San Diego called, in fact, Fizzy Yellow Beer - a Bohemian Pilsner. It was full-bodied, had Belgian yeast notes, as well as a nice finish.

So in closing, I state that there is good beer that is yellow. I do not think, however, that the yellow beers that are worth drinking would be classified as 'fizzy' and 'yellow'. On the other hand, most beers brewed in corporate mega-factories in Golden, CO, St. Louis, MO, and Milwaukee, WI are more than likely LESSER THAN to say the least.

If these are your beers of choice fine, that's okay. No one is saying we should ban such products from the market. Be that as it may, you cannot argue that a box wine is better than an aged wine, nor can you argue that a cheaply produced beer made with rice and corn can rival that of a true craftsman and artist. Paint-by-numbers isn't Picasso, so let's not pretend such with our evening libations. Okay?

I Am A Craft Brewer from I Am A Craft Brewer on Vimeo.

"I Am A Craft Brewer" is a collaborative video representing the camaraderie, character and integrity of the American Craft Brewing movement. Created by Greg Koch, CEO of the Stone Brewing Co. and Chris & Jared of Redtail Media...and more than 35 amazing craft brewers from all over the country. The video was shown to a packed audience of 1700 craft brewers and industry members at the 2009 Craft Brewers Conference as an introduction to Greg's Keynote Speech entitled "Be Remarkable: Collaboration Ethics Camaraderie Passion."

A program is in development to include even more of America's amazing craft brewers. Please stay tuned!


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