Beer Regionalism? Give Me a Break!

I’m actually hesitant to travel down this road for the simple reason of not wanting to publicize idiotic ideas, but since it has become almost epidemic these days, I feel the need to call out our current wave of beer regionalism for what it really is: unmitigated and utterly unnecessary bombast.

First off, we have Charlie Papazian running a poll on which city in the United States is “Beer City USA.” (Link not provided because I’d rather you not run off and cast your vote.) “Specious” is the word which comes to mind for that one. Then we have some insular journalist from Baltimore dissing Canadian beer without really having the faintest clue about what is available north of the border – here’s a hint, Rob: You have to come here to drink it! – and Alan McLeod shamefully offering him some validity. And that’s all followed by some twit on the beer chat boards opining that there has been more innovation in the last 25 years of American brewing than in 250 years of European beer, never mind such things as pasteurization and the hydrometer, as Ron Pattinson so accurately observes.

Really, folks, it’s all beer. Some of it is good and some of it is bad and some of it may not be to your or my tastes, but does it really matter where it comes from? During Philly Beer Week, they hosted brewers and their beers from across the country and around the world, in venues that traditionally have great beer programs and other which do not. And one of the finest beer events I’ve attended in the last two or three years was the European Beer Festival in Copenhagen, which featured not only European beers, as the name might indicate, but also ales and lagers from the States, Canada and elsewhere.

It’s a big world out there and it’s one that is filled with a lot of different beers, so let’s not get bogged down by petty regionalism. As Stan notes so succinctly, bravado is seldom becoming.

3 Replies to “Beer Regionalism? Give Me a Break!”

  1. This is a good point (but) there are some areas which could use a little more regionalism, not less. Take Texas (where I reside); there are a group of exciting new microbreweries here but the state as a whole still has a surprisingly sluggish craft brew market. Even though Texans are almost fanatic in their state pride, they rarely purchase or drink local brew. So anything these brewers can do to promote local beer (short of shorting other craft brewers) has to be a good thing.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with local breweries marketing to local audiences — that’s called sound business strategy — and I agree wholeheartedly that Texas craft breweries deserve more support from Texans. However, that’s a whole lot different from the kind of jingoistic, “our beer is better than your beer” crap I point to in the post.

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