It was a really long day. A really long day at the end of a really bad week. I didn’t realize just how frayed I was until I noticed, after more than a few sips, that there was no glass next to my beer bottle. Not a big deal. I was just a bit unfocused and I must have simply forgotten where I put the glass. Plausible but for the fact that I know I hadn’t stood up from the table in several minutes and I’d just taken another sip. Then it hit me. I was drinking straight from the bottle. Once I came to grips with that I became paralyzed with the fear that I might do something else equally devastating – like ingest something containing mayonaise (look, I can’t even spell it correctly). Thankfully this momentary bout of insanity appeared to be limited to the bottle problem. The last beer I drank straight from the bottle was a Yuengling at a birthday party for a friend of my middle daughter’s three plus years ago. It was 90 something degrees and so humid that I swore it felt as though we were being showered by sweat from the underbelly of a herd of giant pregnant yaks. There were no red Solo cups to be had so I had no choice. All I remember about the 3 or 4 of them I had back then was that they were spectacularly tasteless.
Fast forward to the beer in front of me last Friday and it was deja vu in a bottle. Practically tasteless. This time; however, the beer inside was a legitimate – if uninspiring – craft beer: Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA with Mosaic hops. Compared to any craft beer, Yuengling is going to come across as tasteless (all due respect to Dick and his 7,000 year old brewery but oldest doesn’t equal anything other than oldest – better than Bud, Miller & the rest of the Big Beer swill but far from craft beer by a very long shot) but the Latitude seemed just as hollow. Nothing there. Zero everything. Might as well have been drinking something that came out of a 30 pack with a discount coupon for bail bond services like Keystone, Natty Light, or MGD. In that moment Bud’s latest fanfare extraordinaire made perfect sense. After all, they know their socially engineered subjects better than anyone: Big Beer drinkers ALWAYS drink straight from the vessel – they can’t taste the stuff and have no idea how putrid it really is. And that’s exactly the way the industrial brewers want it.
Seriously? What the fuck is wrong with these idiots? ABinBev spent a few gazillion dollars trying to figure out how to manufacture cans that would obviate the necessity of Buford’s having to crimp his own can at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Party while he hits on his second cousin. Hey Budweiser, you think you might want to spend just a little bit of effort on improving the stuff INSIDE THE CANS instead of prancing around like a brood of proud neon pheasants extolling the virtues of your iconically moronic can? My buddy, Jim of the Beer and Whiskey Brothers wrote a fantastically satirical post on the Bud Bowtie can a few weeks ago. Take a look at it (after you’ve read every post here, of course).
ABinBev has plenty of company in ranks of the stupid swill vessels. Miller Lite is a close second with their sophomoric frat party punch top can designed to “reduce glug.” Huh? How about the nice marketers at Miller tell us what this can is really designed for: shot-gunning brews with the other high school dropouts in mildew-laden basements with mismatched ratty, threadbare plaid couches. Duck Dynasty or Reality Swamp Wife Swap in standard def on the circa 1991 Trinitron optional.
Coors goes about it a bit differently with their “Super Cold” blue mountain labels. Might as well be drawings of tongues on the labels because what they’re really aiming for is just that: frozen tongues. Their beer is only safe to drink at ridiculously low temperatures to ensure frozen taste buds, otherwise they run the risk of having some of their disciples actually taste the stuff and, well, that would only contribute to the already growing flight to quality craft beer.
The constant theme behind all this malarky is simple: get the beer as quickly as possible and as frigidly as possible past the drinker’s tongues before he or she notices how awful it tastes. Once Bobby Ray pounds 4 or 5 he won’t care what it tastes like anyway in the event he starts to slow down to compare tattoos and fishing scars as he tries to impress a redhead who didn’t notice that halter tops weren’t exactly in style in 1975 either. Contrast that to the efforts of Sam Koch of Boston Beer who, along with others in he craft beer world, designed a can to enhance flavors and experience. Sly Fox also introduced the disappearing top can to highlight the can’s contents – substance over sub-standard.
Let’s give credit where credit is due. Industrial Big Beer has spent billions upon billions cultivating an impressively loyal base. Market research has shown them that idiotic gimmicks like pre-crimped Bowtie and shot gun ready punch top cans will draw their core demographic to the flashy retail displays at the liquor stores, groceries, and gas stations. This summer they’ll be installing these things at retail end caps as well:
Hopefully they’ll work out the hygiene issues before rolling these things out. In the end, they know their customers really don’t care what’s inside the cans or bottles as long as it has the right name on the outside, a childish gimmick, gives them a buzz, and promises to make them attractive to scantily dressed bimbos or talking horses just like they see on TV.
Then again, who doesn’t like an indoor communal salt lick?
I’m with you. I don’t see the point in drinking flavorless beer. For me, the measure of a good beer is one that still tastes good, and even gets better, as it loses it’s chill. Room temperature Bud? I don’t think so!
And about that salt lick / Bud-a-rita thing. I don’t care for the salt rimmed glass thing. Is that wrong?
Agreed. It’s interesting to evaluate good craft beers as they warm and become more complex (not always) with different components of the flavor revealing themselves along the way. You couldn,t do that with Bud, Miller or any of the other industrial pale lagers because the only flavor in them to begin with is advertising.
As for salt rimmed glasses…. well, I’m generally not a fan of ruining a great small batch tequila in the first place but when I do have a margarita it’s always sans salt.
Hold up. You mean halter tops aren’t in style!? I drank several Miller Lite punch top cans several months back. They are tough to punch (luckily, they have a handy tool one can buy for that very purpose). And I did notice that there was less glug, as advertised. An impressive feat of modern engineering. OK, maybe not. But they certainly know their market targets.
OK – they may have been style for 40 minutes or so along with terry cloth shirts and Earth shoes.
I didn’t know you needed to buy the Miller Punch Top Can Punch Tool separately. Another reason to avoid it.
How about Giada in a halter top? And then there’s Kate Upton. Christina Hendricks would be too much for a halter top unless it had carbon fiber reinforcements. YOWZA!
I read “halter tops” as “hallertau hops.” Can’t decide if that’s a bad sign or a great one.
It’s a defense mechanism. You’re mind is working to protect itself from frightening images and associations with cheap beer. I’d call it a healthy sign.
I refuse to drink Bud, let alone from the bowtie can, if only because I don’t want to be attractive to horses. Whoa Nelly.
What about unicorns?
I’m glad someone else sees Yuengling for what it is. I went to school about an hour away from the brewery and its everywhere. Pretty much everyone out there thinks its the best beer ever made like their drinking something special. Well at least its cheap.
I haven’t seen those Sam Adams cans or the Slyfox one. Are they out yet? They would be worth looking for.
I haven’t seen either of them myself. I’m particularly interested in the Sly Fox can. It seems to be a simple and elegant solution and I’m a bit surprised it’s taken this long for someone to come up with it. Hopefully it’ll be adopted by more craft brewers (typing at you, Ballast Point – Sculpin deserves something like this).
As for Yuengling, It’s impossible to avoid around Philadelphia as well but doesn’t have the hipster chic cache of PBR. If offered a Yuengling, Bud, Miller, or Coors, I’d select the Yuengling 100 times out of 100 but only because the alternatives are even worse. I applaud them for not selling out to the ABinBevs like Rolling Rock did but their sales are still driven by eerily similar dynamics: blind generational brand loyalty, advertising, and availability.
Oh, for the record, I’d select Yuengling over Rolling Rock 100 times out of 100 as well.
Rolling Rock will always remind me of fishing in the bay off of Wildwood. Unfortunately, it’s also tied to the memory of guys pissing off the side of the boat for an entire afternoon. And green heads. Nasty little buggers!