July 14, 2008

Belgian Beer

The best beers I've ever had have all come from Belgium. (The second-best have all come from the Czech Republic, and French beer is damn good, too.) But I don't think that a Belgian company buying Anheuser-Busch is going to improve the quality of America's biggest-selling brands any. This company makes Stella Artois, which is about the lightest, least flavorful Belgian beer out there, and Becks -- ditto for a "German" brand. Like Budweiser, these guys are simply afraid of malt, and infatuated with barley; the result confuses "bitter" with "sour" and they try to conceal the sourness of their mass-produced brew with sweetness derived from as few hops as they can get away with. Keep your barley pop. Give me a full-bodied Belgian beer with plenty of rich, malty flavor instead.

UPDATE: Apparently, this makes the Boston Beer Company, the brewer of Samuel Adams and the pioneer of marketing "microbrews," the largest brewer in America. Doesn't change their still too-small market share, but it is an ironic twist to the "microbrew" story.

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