Beer: A take on the tasty beverage

Posted: August 31, 2011 by aquasac in Smell These with Aqua Sac

Over the past few years I have become a self-proclaimed “beer snob”. This is true. Now, this is not to say I’m like those pretentious wine snobs who stick their nose in a glass, twirl it around, then sip and spit like second rate porn star. Allow me to explain.

Almost everyone starts off drinking beer in middle school or early in high school. It’s cheap, efficient, and what the hell does one know at that age about alcohol other than it gets your down-belows feeling funny at the sight of a normally unattractive girl sitting behind you in homeroom.

Beer is an acquired taste, says the cliche, but good beer truly is. Most start off with one of the three following beers in their salad days, in my experience:

  1. Bud Light
  2. Miller Light
  3. Milwaukee’s Best; red or Light (the beast!)

Now, this is not to say that people drank many other beers, but these are the most popular with kids, similar to smoking Marlboro Lights. It’s just what we saw and all we knew. Every once in a while, a Bud heavy would break through, if we were feeling spunky.

The aforementioned beers are what I call “piss water”. I of course didn’t coin the term, but it is just that. It’s water with a slight alcohol content. I suspect you’ll get a buzz from the mineral deposits in your tap water before getting a buzz from the above beers.

On a side note, and off topic, my anecdotal evidence suggests that those who drink piss water also enjoy their steaks well done. Hey, if you don’t like the taste of real beer, it makes sense that you wouldn’t like correctly cooked meat, right? Both are tasteless, tough, and turn your normally ten minute morning bathroom routine into a half hour hold-on-to-the-toilet-seat marathon. I will soon get to my top five beers, but I am digressing and divulging further into the psyche of beer drinkers beforehand. Be patient.

Even today, most people seem to drink beer from the three multi-national conglomerate beer producers, which I have handled the “Big Three”:

  • Bud
  • Miller
  • Coors

I challenge anyone to a blind taste test with these three beers, and my suspicion is most couldn’t tell the difference. It’s like picking the difference between Avian, Deja Blue, and Aquafina bottled water. The difference is negligible.

One thing you will notice about these Big Three beer companies is that they use gimmicks to sell their beer. They cannot sell it by taste alone, because it’s inferior. Some use labels with mountains that turn blue when cold (by the way, beer is not supposed to be ice cold, it robs it of its flavor). Some use pretty horses in commercials, funny commercials (or, supposed to be funny), labels which you can write on, cans in the shape of a keg, a “vortex neck” for faster flow (does it matter how fast you drink piss water?), and many other catchy, trendy, and cute gimmicks. This is sign number one that their beer taste like the south end of monkey suffering from cholera.

So, why do people, as they age, still drink these horrible mass-produced flavorless beers? Habit. We are creatures of habit, and we stick to what we know. We started out drinking these tasteless beers as underage imbeciles, and we stuck with it. Humans have a natural aversion to that which we do not know or understand. Unless one takes that next step to better beers, one will be stuck with the swill for a lifetime, and never think twice. This is okay. As always, there are different strokes for different folks. But, my goal is to open the minds of people who have not experienced how a brew should really taste.

Now, what’s my advice for getting people to try other beers? Shiner. Shiner is a decent beer, exponentially better than the Big Three, and it’s a small company right here in Texas. I prefer to support the microbreweries any day of the week. Most people who drink these Big Three beers also like Shiner. Is this a Texas thing? I’m not sure, but Shiner is what I call the perfect “segue beer”. A segue beer is a beer that isn’t too harsh, heavy or hoppy to the average swill drinker that can win over a piss water drinker and open his mind to other beers. If one is accustomed to drinking Bud Lite, and you hand him an IPA, he’ll be turned off for life. You have to gradually introduce people to good beer in baby steps; you don’t quite smoking by quitting cold turkey, and you don’t win over a swill drinker by forcing real beer down his throat.

One common misconception is that “good” beer is too expensive. That depends on how you look at it. By price alone, yes, good beer is more expensive than swill. But, the price is relative to the alcohol content. If a six pack of Bud Light costs five dollars, and its alcohol content is 4.2 %, that’s a $1.19 per alcohol percentage point. A good beer, say, an Elissa IPA from Houston’s Saint Arnold’s, is 6.6 %, and costs about eight dollars.  That’s $1.21 per alcohol percentage point. So, how do you look at it? If you’re looking for a buzz, there’s no difference in price. It’ll take more of your swill, so, in reality, a six pack at eight dollars and 6.6% alcohol is cheaper than Bud Light, if you’re going by buzz-worthyness. It goes without saying that, even if more expensive, you get what you pay for.

If you’re not looking to get a buzz, but just enjoy having a couple of beers, then alcohol content is of no consequence anyway. If one likes the taste of Bud Light, and drinks a couple each day after work, then this person is not going to change. He is probably a lost cause, and that’s fine. Me? If I’m drinking two beers, I’m drinking beer for the taste, not for a buzz, and I’ll gladly pay a little more for a satisfying brew.

Now that you’ve been patient, here are my recommended brews for people who drink swill and would like to come on over to the dark side:

  • Shiner Bock or Blonde
  • Sam Adams (just the ol’ regular)
  • Any Amber Ale

Like those? Then keep going. Don’t stop there. These are good beers, yes, and if you drink these and never go back to Light beer, I’m a happy man.

Here are my current top beers, and staples of my barley and hops sandwich diet (my favorite beer is IPAs, so, this will be biased in that direction):

  • Saint Arnold’s Elissa IPA
  • Saint Arnold’s Amber
  • Stone IPA
  • Sierra Nevada

I buy many more and am always trying new beers I think look interesting, and ALWAYS from a microbrewery. If you really want to get bold, try a Dogfish Head 60 minute, then a 90 minutes (be careful, these only come in four packs, and four of these will make you hit on your sister).

Another tip: just because a beer is dark in color, doesn’t mean it’s a strong beer. Don’t be fooled.

This is about all I have to say for now concerning beer. If you or a friend still drink Bud or Miller Light, I suggest you read this, the forward this to your friend. Take a chance and try something new. Hopefully, you’ll find that there’s a whole other world of real, good beers out there, and none of them come from the Big Three. So, drink up and let me know what beers you are currently drinking, or if you have any tips on other good beers.


  1. girolahozz says:

    I really liked your ‘article’
    Very well written, not too harsh to turn someone away before reading it all and informative

    Stone IPA all the way! Rock the gargoyle
    Sam Adams is my favorite by far.
    Gotta love Rolling Rock and Bud Heavy though. Memories…

    The Beast premium!
    Natty light!

    Do you dare delve into Japanese beers whilst licking a lemon?

    PS – Miller Light is disgusting. Sorry to say it, but I can tell a difference in Bud Light or Coors verses a ML. But Bud and Coors are very similar in can slobber…

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