Guest eeditorial: Beer snobbery –or– I blew a what, officer?

Saturday, 8 December 2007

By the artist formerly known as Chronic M, Senior Good Times Consultant

Up to now I have always respected Corona as a reasonable choice at a party where I’m not paying. I’m told it’s slightly higher in alcohol content and quite a bit better tasting than Budweiser, for example, or any of the ridiculous Bud offshoots.

When one takes that step into beer snobbery, one has lost his innocence in a way that can’t quite be described to the average 16 year old beer drinker. At that age, we can’t possibly care that beer has categories, or even variables of quality within those categories. God forbid I should ever find myself talking about the things I probably already have — initial taste; the subtleties of taste as it swishes incoherently around the palate; and finally, what really separates a drunk who has a preference for beer over other alcohols, from an actual beer snob: the aftertaste. As an altruistic sidenote for those of you who like me maybe find yourself siding on the category of the blithering snob, but don’t want to admit it to yourselves, I’ve got a suggestion — Belgium. (In the U.S, Fort Collins, CO seems to have the stranglehold on this tradition at the moment — and they hit it pretty close to the mark. For the REAL thing (meaning actually from Belgium and 8.5 percent), try this:

You can work your way out from the lager. That is the basic U.S. 20th Century beer taste. Budweiser gets you through your late teens, Michelob and Godonlyknows are going to have to play an unfortunate role in your life if you’re American born, and if you’re lucky, you’ll find your way into the Australian savior of easy to get lager beers, Fosters. It may or may not be a lager, but it ought to be, and it comes in an affordable sized “oilcan,” the repeated purchase of which basically defines your status as “male bachelor into your early thirties.” Please take note of this if you’ve been awkwardly wondering where you stand in life for the past two to five years, and you are now somewhere between 28 and 32. (If you have taken note of this comment, and are now between the ages of 33 and 37, please immediately take note of your homelessness, and buy something cheaper).

For the continuing lager meanderer, I would like to introduce a little bit of Asian culture — it’s called Tiger beer. It claims awards from all over Asia, and it claims to be a terrific staple, and best as I can recall it probably is. But if you go to Asia as a drunk, come back and become a snob, it will haunt you like an album by The Cult — no matter how many times you listen to it/taste it, you’ll be wondering if it is the nostalgia or the quality which entices you. And you’ll move on.

Once you cross the line, the deal is done. You are forever searching through the grocery stores, liquor stores and microbrewery mazes for the right Indian Pale Ale, Blonde or Brown Ale. This brings you to discovering that basically any ale which is not a Sam Adams with fruit in it is a decent one, all Wheat Ales and Ciders are crap, and ordering Black and Tans for two dollars more when you ought to be flirting and buying drinks for potential sources of rejection leads to gaining weight and losing self esteem. So does flirting and buying drinks for the girls.

But the reason I started this article only targets Corona — there’s a trend in American media to do with drinking and driving, which would ask us all to “drink responsibly.” Corona recently asked that we not only do this, but also “relax responsibly,” and I take offense — here is why.

First of all, that doesn’t mean anything — it is an Orwellian statement. When we relax, we are meant to leave go of our responsibilities, even if only for seconds at a time. That is how to relax, beer in hand or no.

Secondly, the trend of attacking drunk drivers seems like a good one on the surface, but let us look a little closer. In the town of Taos, NM, for example, where the fuck is the transportation system for a really dedicated drunk? The last chance to take booze home happens at midnight, and is strictly enforced, whereas the last chance to buy it in public is 1:30am, at a shoddy little bar which police are well aware is the last one in town to serve. There are no buses, “saferides,” or taxis available at that hour, from anywhere, to anywhere in town.

Most towns in the United States mimic this situation to a slightly lessor degree — it is almost never easy to be out and about drinking without a car in this country. The reduction of the alcohol rate in the bloodstream needed to charge drivers with DUI again looks like an enlightened legal tactic, but with the amount the state must be paying for ads designed to scare drivers out of drinking before driving, and the amount the state makes off of fees charged against those who don’t happen to be related to those in office or on the force, who are caught under the influence of an increasingly arbitrary level of alcohol needed to charge a driver, we ought to see a few more fucking buses out on the street in the later hours, rather than dudes with moustaches and sunglasses pointing at us from billboards and telling us we’re going to get caught. It’s fun to get drunk. It’s not fun killing people or having the book slammed at us cause we misjudged our responsibilities a little by the time we realized we didn’t have any other way home besides the car. Give us more options, then point fingers and slam jail-cell doors.

Thanks in advance, you fucking hypocritical addicts with limo-drivers or whatever, love Babelshack.

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