Microbrew or Mass Marketing Beer?

BudweiserA microbrew or a mass marketed brew is the long argued topic in my family. My father-in-law believes Budweiser is the king of beers while I’d rather drink a Shipyard or Bass Ale any day of the week over a Bud or Coors Light. I’ve got nothing personal against Anheuser-Bush, heck, but most of their mass market beers taste like water to me.

Enter my father, the man that drinks all types of beer including home brewed style, microbrew style and mass market beers. He just has a specific time interval for each type of beer, highly preferring homebrew but has better access to a microbrew and leaves mass market beers for “the daytime.” Yes, if he’s drinking in before sundown you’ll find he’s “tapping the rockies” with a cold Coors in hand.

Which is really ‘better’ and which is for boneheads? The “common man” obviously leans towards a mass market brew based on definition alone… it’s “massive” market, not just a “micro” brew. It’s not fair to say Anheuser-Bush makes a horrid product, even if you’re not a Budweiser fan because they make over 40 beers and malt liquors! You could easily discount Bud, Bud Light, Bud Select, Bud Ice, Bud Dry and all the Michelob brandings and still not touch their selection.

A fan of Natural Ice? Probably not, but it’s cheap and works well at large parties (usually the Frat kind of parties). Busch Beer is another Anheuser-Bush selection along with seasonal beers and non-alcoholic beers (for those that can’t drink or did way too much in their youth so you’ve got a large set of beers to select from. And yes, they’ve got their own “microbrew” selection of seasonal nature: Spring’s Heat Spiced Wheat, Beach Bum Blonde Ale, Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale and Winters Bourbon Cask Ale.

Bass Ale GlassOrganic Beer? Anheuser-Bush makes a great Stone Mill Pale Ale which I am proud to say I have stocked in my beer fridge. The trick is, understand that a “mass market” beer and a microbrew style beer can come from the same manufacturer. Anheuser-Bush isn’t marketing Stone Mill Pale Ale to the “masses” but they are the ones taking profit from it’s sales, so would you discount it based on the parent company? I hope not!

A microbrew tends to have more flavor (translation: more calories) and hits your taste buds in a different manner. Just like a cigarette is plain and a pipe has more flavor both satisfy a specific crowd of people. A microbrewery makes traditional beverages found in European countries like England, Germany and Switzerland but Anheuser-Bush has been making tasty beverages since the 1800’s, that’s a tradition by now too, no?

Anheuser-Busch began as a small brewery located in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1860, Eberhard Anheuser, a German-born prosperous soap manufacturer, became owner of the struggling brewery. Adolphus Busch, Anheuser’s son-in-law, became partner in 1869, and became president when Anheuser died in 1880.

Adolphus Busch was the first U.S. brewer to use pasteurization to keep beer fresh, the first to use artificial refrigeration and refrigerated railroad cars and the first to bottle beer extensively. In 1876, Busch introduced America’s first national beer brand – Budweiser. In 1877, Busch introduced the company’s first colaKing Cola. — wikipedia.org

The lesson is this, you may be a fan of Löwenbräu or Sam Adams but keep an open mind when arguing “who makes the better beer” with friends and family. Learn your history of a company before you bash them because you may just find yourself holding a Bass Ale just to find it’s being imported by Anheuser-Bush now.