The other night I was hanging out with some of my fellow educators after Graduation at some fairly typical restaurant/bar combo in York that has some more upscale craft brews on tap as well as a much wider microbrew selection in bottle. Like spotting one’s live lobster that he wants to eat in the tank, the microbrews all sit in the cooler behind glass easily seen from the bar. “I want that puppy in the window.”
One staff member, at 7 or 8 dollars a pop, was drinking Ommegang. I decided to aim lower, much lower, and drink draft Blue Moon. Blue Moon is made by Coors and I was drinking the Belgian White with the orange slice. I am not much for fruit with beer, so I ate the oranges and drank a couple unencumbered by citrus. Blue Moon is a decent beer…I like it. I don’t love it.
I am not categorically against the beers from the big sharks. Corporations are a fact of life, yet I do tend to favor the smaller fish. Part of it is the flavor, part of it is just me liking to empower entrepreneurship and innovation. Creativity in brewing, as elsewhere, rarely comes from the behemoths. There are exceptions like Apple. Yet, most corporations develop a homogenized product or service, and then inundate the airwaves and stores shelves with it, pushing the competitors out. Big retailers and big corporate entities then play a game of catch where the smaller players have a hard time getting into the game. It is how it is done to a science and employs market-share, economic reality, and the legal and regulatory system (i.e. political gamesmanship and patronage), to stack the odds to the equivalent of breweries’ New York Yankees.
With the summer coming on, I tend to gravitate to the Belgian Wits and German Weissbeers. I just enjoy the lighter feel, the higher carbonation, the zingy taste, and that I can drink several without seeing double. There is an effervescence of the Wheat Beers that is just right for summer. In fact, I am pretty sure that my Belgian Wit homebrew exploding bottle saga (I have lost nine bottles thus far) is somewhat the result of brewing a Wit and its accordant increased carbonation process. Other factors went wrong, but there has to be something inherent in Wheat Beers that make them more volatile in fermentation (both the first and second). Or, at least that is what I am telling myself.
We might be heading out tonight to the local German Club Sommerfest tonight. My wife just returned from San Francisco and only got three hours of sleep flying East today. She is racking on the couch right now trying to catch up on her sleep. The Sommerfest has some Franziskaner on tap and I am sure that this will be better than the Blue Moon. And, oh yeah, skip the orange.