Let’s talk about a beer style for a second…
One style that gets much maligned by your average beer-snob is the American Lager.
Technically, they’re usually criticizing the “American Adjunct Lager”. An “adjunct” is a beer made with unmalted grains such as rice or corn instead of what the beer is normally made with, which in this case would be malted barley. Rice and corn are cheaper and produce a slightly differing style. Rice, for example, results in a lighter body and mouthfeel and sometimes can add a mild sweetness to the final product.
To me, people who criticize an entire style of beer aren’t worth listening to. Don’t get me wrong, I think Bud Light tastes like crap too, but you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
My favorite American Adjunct Lager would be Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR).
While PBR has undergone a revival of sorts in the last decade, and has gotten something of a reputation as an “urban hipster” beer, the truth is that it’s a damn fine brew and an exemplar example of the style.
Once, when explaining how to describe a beer, I described PBR like so:
“Clear golden color, with a 3/4 inch thick white head, which quickly reduced to a minimal thin lacing. Pleasant but subdued scent, mostly sweet lagered malts. Slight amount of grain flavors, with subdued grassy hop undertones. Minimal bitterness. Somewhat fizzy in appearance, but only lightly carbonated flavors. Crisp and dry mouthfeel, with a slight hint of oiliness when warmer. Overall clean flavor, very light malts used. Good session beer, would be excellent with stronger beef or spiced chicken flavors.”
Whenever I use this terminology to describe what many think is a cheap get-em-drunk beer, people think I’m mildly insane.
A contrasting counterpoint of sharp texture and flowing sweetness is evident at the first sip of this historic brew. A slowly increasing hoppiness adds to the interplay of ingredients, while the texture smooths out by mid-bottle. The clear, pale-gold body is light and fizzy. Medium-bodied Blue Ribbon finishes with a dusting of malts and hops. A satisfying American classic and a Gold Medal winner at the 2006 Great American Beer Festival.
Thing is, I love PBR. It’s not my favorite beer; it’s not even in my top ten. But it’s my go-to beer for relaxing at the bar and chatting with friends. Why? Because it’s pretty darned good, you can have 3 or 4 of them without feeling like bloated crap, and it’s reasonably priced. It’s a session beer, quite simply.
Everybody has their own tastes. If you don’t like PBR, then that’s fine. But if you don’t like PBR because of the “hipster” thing, or because you don’t like the whole style of what I like to call “beer-flavored beer”, then you might want to reconsider your position. I don’t like okra because I think it tastes like fried lawn trimmings, but I didn’t discount vegetables entirely because of that dislike.
And hey, if you prefer Old Style or Schlitz or (god-help-you) High Life, then more power to you. To each his own.
Oh, and if you’re the kind of person who just says “I don’t like beer”, then I hate to tell you this but you’re on the wrong site. Just go away and enjoy your wine, ya weirdo.