I am slowly adjusting my drinking profile a bit toward Session Beers.
It is not that I have sworn off higher ABV Craft Beers, I have just found that I have a difficult time reducing my beer drinking because of the higher ABV (Alcohol By Volume). Three beers of an IPA for example are hardly equivalent to three Lagers. That 3=3 assumption really needs to be recalibrated but it is very difficult to do mentally and practically.
Although, one could be honest with a cop at a checkpoint and state “I only had three beers” and the law enforcement official would probably reference Keystone Light or some other shitty beer. However, my cousin who is a NYC cop drinks Craft Beer. So maybe my assumption is incorrect about Cops having poor beer taste. Most blue collar types go for the cheapest beer they can. And then go about buttressing the beer gut with reinforcements.
The equation is something like this: Craft Beer Unit consumed (12 ounces) X 1/2 with time being a constant. C X 1/2 = T. In laymen’s terms drink 1/2 the Craft Beer in the same amount of time as a Session with the goal being an equivalent of four sessions at the most per evening. My math might suck. Sorry if it does. My Ph.D. is in Educational Psychology which is slightly more quantitative than social sciences in general but hardly Engineering or Computer Science.
Here is what I have been doing recently: I am defaulting to whatever seasonal Yuengling has out on the market as my primary go-to supplemented by the Black and Tan. I find Yuengling Lager just not flavorful enough to please my palate (see what Craft Beer has done to me?) but appreciate that I can have more than two without getting sluggish.
The adjustment that is working is to drink Yuengling Wheat in the Summer, Yuengling Oktoberfest in the Fall (which in my opinion should be available year round because it is so much better than the Yuengling Lager), Yuengling Black and Tan in the Winter (or the Porter), and Yuengling Bock in the Spring. It is across the spectrum. Choices, like crayons and Crayola, keep me interested. More coloring! I will typically work in a heavier tasting Craft Brew or Belgian in a one-third ratio to the Yuengling style. I try to avoid drinking during the day, too. Another upside is that I have been saving a bucket of money.
I purchased a lovely Rare Vos from Ommegang early in December and have barely touched it. I did get a case of Dirt Wolf Double IPA from Victory in January that guards the Rare Vos in the beer fridge. The Belgian is truly for a special occasion. Like buying diamonds for a lady, best to reserve such blandishments for special times such as anniversaries. At close to $70 a case, one had better have some lesser jewels in one’s beer crown. You can see the Rare Vos behind the Dirt Wolf is you look closely.
My Golden Mean is to drink four or less beers a night (usually the weekend but I do imbibe during the week at times because I have found abstention during the week tends to ricochet into over-consumption during the weekend. A beer with dinner during the week takes the edge off and releases pressure). I used to wait all week for beer like a dog for a treat and it was causing me to tear into the bag (case) once Friday night hit. I am learning Lord, I am learning.
I just read that Yuengling Lager is now the 19th best selling beer in America, and the only beer not associated with the Bigs in the Top 20. Although it is hard to argue that Yuengling is David to Bud’s Goliath. Considering that Yuengling is still a regional brewer, it has established an enormous market presence emanating from Pennsylvania outward down the Eastern seaboard and perhaps a bit into the Midwest. Although it stalled in Boston. Yuengling Lager just is not good enough to displace Sam Adams up in Beantown. Both Yuengling and Sam Adams tend to inhabit the same beer space. Better and more expensive than the Bigs, but not as good and expensive as the Craft. Yuengling is making a fortune off this Niche. As has Sam Adams.
Sam Adams is generally a better beer than Yuengling across the beer categories yet it does cost more. Yuengling tends to be in the lower range and Sam Adams tends to be in the higher range of the cost and quality continuum.
And you may ask what makes me a purveyor of such opinionated perspective? I have cred.
Back a couple of years ago, a buddy and I were Homebrewing an Anchor Steam out back and he commented how technically-minded I was about the process. It was kind of ironic because he is a high quality HVAC technician by day, an excellent Bassist by night (he is in like four bands), and brews a lot more than I do–although, at the time, I had probably brewed more batches than he. Since then he has far surpassed me in batches.
Although I did co-brew a fantastic Vlad the Imperial Aler Russian Stout last year that another buddy (co-brewer) and I cellared for a year and just previewed at a party down at the Candy Factory in Lancaster City, accompanied with Russian food, and a lecture from a erudite friend of mine who digs Russian Literature and Writers. That was super fun.
This wall wordings from the Candy Factory gives me hope that Craft Beer is here to stay and people are starting to pull away from the Death Star and Darth-like nature of the Big Brewery conglomerates like InBev (I think that is how it is spelled…I could care less if it is wrong).
The Empire is striking back. It always does. Yet, might doth not maketh right. One can hope that Craft Brewers continue to cooperate in the face of the common enemy. Fratricide is what the Buds and Millers want and we must stay focused on the strategy of deconstructing the oligarchies that reign. It is like the Military-Industrial Complex in Beer. Wasn’t that the point of Sam Adams deeds in the Boston Harbor with tea and tax?
My best friend and I had made a trip up to Boston in the Fall and happened to stumble upon Sam Adam’s Jamaica Plains Brewery where tours and testing of new recipes takes place. We were in town for a Fermentation Festival and this certainly and serendipitously colluded with the Festival even though there was no formal affiliation. Cool when that happens!