Friday, January 30, 2009

What kind of beer do you like, neighbor?

Dennis Hopper has his views on the matter (content warning!). The boys over at Fraters Libertas have extensive listings and rankings on their website. My dad always said his favorite was something called Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu, which he always claimed was made by monks in the Black Forest. It turns out that this apparently is true, but I don't know enough German to read their website. Today I'm enjoying a Harp Lager, an ostensibly Irish beer made by Guinness but apparently brewed these days in New Brunswick. Beer is pretty darned well universal.

Most people have a favorite beer. When my friends and I were coming of age, the battle for loyalty usually was between Old Style and Miller High Life, two fairly cheap beers that were generally acceptable, especially in the mass quantities we favored in those days. If money was tight, there were other, less palatable alternatives like Blatz, which usually retailed for about $4 a case on those days. And you got what you paid for. As bad as Blatz was, there were worse things to drink. Like Carling's Black Label, which was affectionately known as "Black Flag," or the classic bad beer, Schaefer, which made no bones about its station by dubbing itself "the one beer to have when you're having more than one." Although both Black Label and Schaefer were more prevalent on the East Coast, you could get them in Wisconsin. Not that you'd ordinarily want to. Sometimes we also favored other local brews like Point or Huber, but not as often. Just about every town in Wisconsin had a brewery at one point -- my hometown brewery made a beer called Adler Brau, but they went out of business in the early 70s, so I never got to try it.

These days there are a lot of excellent beers available. I can go over to St. Anthony Village Liquor and choose from an amazing array of beers. I buy a six-pack every once in a while and experiment. One of the best local brewers is Surly Brewing, which makes a really good, hop-intense beer called Furious, along with the excellent Cynic Ale. It's neat to have the options we do today, even though it usually takes me a couple of months to go through a six pack these days.

So if you are a beer drinker, what are you having these days?


Leo Pusateri said...

I remember Leinies (when they had only one variety, with Bock in the fall) and Fox Deluxe.

Schafer Bubbles were pretty good, as you could get wasted for less than five bucks.

But I could never palate Old Milwaukee... not even for free.

Nowadays, The new Cold Spring Brewery has some pretty good offerings nowadays.

Gino said...

the schafer on the west coast was smooth and easy to drink. very weak flavor, and $2 a 12pk.

my favorite is actually Abott Ale, imported from UK. hard to find unless you get it at a pub, which is the only reason i used to visit every week.

nowadays: i avoid pubs, and beverages, for reason you already are well aware of.

Gino said...

to let you know: tere are 2 different PBR's. the one made at the original brewery,original recipe, and sold only in bottles is totally different than any other PBR you'll find.
and world's better,too.

Brad Carlson said...

My boss got an endorsement deal just for drinking Schlitz.

Anonymous said...

Beloit, 1982: Point was $5.19 for a case of bar bottles, and Leinies was $6.12. Point was a good beer, and Leinies, an even better one, but either was a fantastic deal on a very decent beer that we availed ourselves of frequently. I still smile when I see yuppies paying as much for a 6 pack as we used to pay for a case.

Mark Heuring said...

Those prices sound about right, Rich. And we did drink those at Belwah, rather a lot. But my first memories of pursuing malted beverages were from earlier. And back then it was always Miller time.

And you're right - I see Leinie's all the time for at least $5.99 a 6-pack. It boggles the mind.

Night Writer said...

I've had the Surly Furious and Bender selections and both tasted great - for about 2/3s of the bottle. It's "hoppy" all right and too heavy. For me, getting to the bottom of a Surly becomes a slog.

I rarely partake now and when I do I prefer ales, especially since I'll likely only drink one. Newcastle (Newky) Brown was one I especially enjoyed when I lived in England and I'll still have one of those when the mood hits. It's sweeter and lighter than a lot of ales. I'll also take a cold Guiness or "black and tan" (Guiness and Harp combined). The Summit folks do a good job with their offerings.

I laugh at the Bud Light "drinkability" commercials. Basically what they're saying is "drinking our beer is as close to drinking plain water as you can get, and only slightly more expensive than an Aquafina from a vending machine."


And didn't we have a similar conversation back in August?

Night Writer said...

Nevermind - HERE's the beer you've got to try:

HT: The Lumberjack

Mark Heuring said...

We did have a similar conversation, NW. But I'm always interested in talking about beer.

And I'll have to get me some Carlsberg. I've always wanted to play table tennis that well.

Paulie said...

You don't need to read German, you shnook! I did the leg work for you this time.
Alpirsbacher's site (Ok so it isn't a perfect or complete translation but it reads a little closer to Werner Klemperer.)
It appears one could order a case or so. Want to go halfsies?
Fianlly, in 1984, my friends and I were known to be cost conscious swillers of a brew called Bavarian Club. A case of reteunable bottles was around $2. Note that the deposit on those bottles was $2.40. We never needed a laxative near as I can remember.