What are you going to choose? For me, ten times out of ten, it’s going to be flavour. Even if at times it does cause me a bit of discomfort.
I have been thinking about this as a result of Alan’s post about a “post-craft” world, which I will openly admit I only understood in part, but about which I saw fit to comment nonetheless. (In truth, I find it’s that way sometimes with Mr. McL’s posts. I want to fully understand where he’s going with them, but the route does occasionally take a rather tangential path.) Then came last night’s lager drinking.
I was in a lager kind of mood, thanks perhaps to wistfully thinking about Oktoberfest, which is currently in full flight, and for whatever reason had only a handful of helles-like lagers in the fridge. One of which was from Spaten, which is owned by the largest brewing company in the world, Anheuser-Busch InBev. Is it a great beer for its style? No, but it’s a pretty decent one, I must admit. Not an Augustiner, but neither a Löwenbräu, which is to say neither a world-beater nor a disappointment. (Löwenbräu, I might add, is also owned by ABIB.)
Since I was in the midst of a prolonged period of cooking — lasagna, if you must know — my glass was empty before its time and I went to prowl the fridge for something similar. And I found Cameron’s Lager, a beer from a small brewery located just west of Toronto, and hence by almost any definition “craft.” It’s also, I see from the company website, a World Beer Cup bronze medalist, and a beer that in my opinion tasted significantly inferior to the Spaten.
My next try after not finishing the Cameron’s came from an even smaller brewery, Barley Days, located to the east of my home city. Loyalist Lager, it’s called, and it sadly represented yet another step down from the Spaten. It, too, went unfinished, and I turned my attentions to a very credible Doppelbock from Eggenberg.
My point being that I would have happily traded in all my craft lagers for one more can of the Spaten, because it had the taste and character I was craving while the others did not. “Craft” wasn’t what was going to quench my thirst last night, flavour was.