January 6, 2016

I’m putting this out now. . . .

Filed under: Alcohol, Modern artifacts — acagle @ 8:27 pm

And will hopefully provide more commentary on it later:
Why Is American Beer So Bland?

Today’s discerning beer drinkers might be convinced that America’s watery, bland lagers are a recent corporate invention. But the existence of American beers that are, as one industry executive once put it, “less challenging,” has a much longer history. In fact, Thomas Jefferson, himself an accomplished homebrewer, complained that some of his country’s beers were “meagre and often vapid” nearly 200 years ago.

Jefferson never lived to see the worst of it. Starting in about the mid-1800s, American beer has been defined by its dullness. Why? The answer lies in a combination of religious objections to alcohol, hordes of German immigrants, and a bunch of miners who just wanted to drink during their lunch break, says Ranjit Dighe, a professor of economics at the State University of New York at Oswego.

I downloaded the paper and may put it up for downloading so y’all can read it as well (for Educational Purposes). Having gone through the paper — which this article does a decent job of summarizing, in the main — and still haven’t made up my mind on it. The underlying assumption seems to be that, well, “Americans have this funny taste for bad beer just because of various historical things and if they’d (we’d) just get used to it we’d ignore all those nasty light pilsners and take up hearty ales and porters and such like Civilized People.” It seems like an awful long time for us to be liking these things to just lay it at the foot of economics. I wonder if there isn’t something more biological involved. Or perhaps sociobiological. I dunno. Perhaps he’s right and there’s a whole mess of historical reasons. But I found it fascinating.

BTW, I tried a new beer to brew yesterday: Chief Oshkosh.

Desert Fox

I never actually drank any of it, but I do remember seeing the signs around Wisconsin when I was a kid. I think there’s even a silo between Fond du Lac and Oshkosh that still has the logo on it. It went out in the early 1970s so it was before I was of age. Don’t think my relatives drank it either. But I wanted a simple recipe to try and I’ve been meaning to try one of the mid-century regional beers. The recipe is at the link above. Will find out in a couple weeks how it worked. If it’s reasonably decent, I may use it as a base to experiment and make it my Signature Brand, if you will.

I also watched Strange Brew this weekend, and so whenever I get the recipe down I think I shall call it Chief Elsinore Beer/Bier. Heh.


  1. Can it really be said that today’s beers are bland? There is so much variety now.

    Some craft beers suck. Their flavors are too rich/spicy/hoppy or whatever to drink more than one. Its one thing to be sick the next morning and another to get sick as you drink a beer. Many taste great, though, and you can drink more than one. For Americans, drinking more than one beer is important because you need to be drinking as long as a party lasts. However, there are a lot of beers that taste great that you can’t drink too many of because of their alcohol content.

    Everyone is different and drinks in different settings but I think the matrix people follow is some version of price > taste > activity > new > alcohol %. A beer snob may put taste first but given a choice of equally good tasting beers, I bet they decide on price. I would gladly drink a six pack of Rogue but the opportunity cost is an 18 pack of PBR. Hopefully, the future will bring us beers that taste like something from Rogue but cost as little as PBR.

    Henry Weinhard’s is a good compromise between taste and affordability.

    Comment by wodun — January 7, 2016 @ 11:47 pm

  2. I think the upshot is that even though there is a lot more variety these days, the bulk of what is sold is still the light lagers, which seems to be quite different from elsewhere.

    Comment by acagle — January 8, 2016 @ 10:19 am

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