In the 21st century, the U.S. is the undisputed champion of beer. It had to happen because of two main factors:
1. Brewing technology and methods are universal. There are no more secret recipes.
2. We love beer more than family, and we have disposable income.
To be fair, the Europeans are masters too. But at different kinds of beers. Belgium has its Trappist ales, Lambics and Saisons, Germany its lagers and hefe-weizens, and England its browns, bitters and stouts. But the thing is, you can take any beer made in Europe and find something equally good made in the U.S.A. Whether it’s the wild unpredictability of Belgium, the clean exactness of Germany, or the cozy maltiness of England. And none of them have mastered the hop like the Americans.
The Old Schoolhouse gives you the fresh hop experience, but on top of an already excellent IPA. This beer has the familiar backbone of bitterness that you expect from a West Coast IPA.
Which is better? It depends on your style. How do you like your sweetbreads? Do you like to buy a pile of them from a butcher and grill them and eat them with minimal seasoning and side items? Or do you like them as part of an extravagant meal, with a delicate sauce and an appropriate wine? Neither is better, it’s just a matter of personal style. If you’re a hop freak you’ll love both beers. And if you’re like the vast majority of beer drinkers in the world, you won’t be able to tell the difference, and what kind of an asshole goes across the country to drink an $8 beer anyway?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a beer snob. I’m a beer lover. I’m the Jesus of beer. I welcome all beers into my house. PBR, Miller and Michelob are welcome to share a refrigerator shelf with Orval, Russian River and Cigar City. Granted, there is a hierarchy. I won’t drink a Bud Light before a Burton Baton. And that Corona Extra Light that has been on the bottom shelf for two years is probably damned.
Whoa. Now I just poured a Chasing Freshies from Deschutes.
Where was I? Oh yeah, beer snobbery. So, I love beer, but I wouldn’t be so crazy about it if it didn’t make me feel as good as it does. And since the beer from the world’s megabreweries is as predictable and palatable as the food from McDonald’s (minus the horrid environmental problems) I can be assured of a path to feeling okay about the world and my place in it. In fact, one of my favorite beers lately is Miller 64. It’s a 64-calorie beer with a low alcohol content. It’s like beer mixed with seltzer water. It’s a beer spritzer. It’s great for the parent who loves drinking beer but doesn’t want to get sloshed while waiting in line to pick up the kids from school.
I’ll drink whatever. But given the choice I’ll take the good beer. Now I'm going to go get drunk.