Question Answered

I’m going to break with Blog Precedent here [waits for gasps of shock to subside]  and tell a story on the Son & Heir.

After his mother and I were divorced, we shared joint custody  — in a very, very adult arrangement, I should add — with extremely loose and flexible visitation parameters.  (That means that nobody kept score as to how many days the S&H was here or there, etc.)  Anyway, shortly after his 11th (? I think) birthday, he’d spent a lengthy period of his summer vacation with me, which led to a slight contretemps between him and his mother.

You see, she was always on a diet, which meant that in her house there were items such as whole-wheat bread, skim milk, margarine, low-fat this and that, and so on.  Of course, I wasn’t:  white bread, full-cream (Vit D) milk and half-and-half (sometimes mixed) along with double-cream butter, and no regard for the fat content of any food.

So after the summer vacation, the S&H returned home, and when given his usual fare of skim milk in his cereal and margarine on his wheat toast, he promptly rebelled and refused to eat the food his mother had placed before him.

“Why don’t you want to eat your food?” she inquired.
Because it tastes like shit, Ma,” was his somewhat intemperate reply.  (Yes, he had just spent the summer with me.)

I told you all that so I could tell you this.  Apparently, sales of the Big Three local beers have dropped precipitously — the three being Bud Lite, Coors Lite and Budweiser — and if anyone should want to know why this has happened, allow me to point you towards the Son&Heir’s observation above.

To buttress what seems to be a purely subjective take on the issue, allow me to point out to you all that as the Big Three have slipped, craft- and premium beers have increased in sales volume, as have spirits and wines.  So yes, the new generation of drinkers may have taken up (ahem) tastier alcoholic beverages — and more varied ones withal — but this would not have happened had the suffering brands in question had any kind of taste other than slightly bitter carbonated water.

Needless to say, I don’t care as I have never drunk a light (lite? ugh) beer in my life other than to taste it (and spit it out violently, shortly thereafter).  Certainly, I’ve never finished a light beer;  the lightest beer I’ve ever drunk was Amstel (in the proper green bottle, not the watered-down garbage sold in the U.S.).  Hell, I don’t even drink Heineken because it doesn’t have enough body for me.  So the travails of the Budweiser- and Coors brewing companies leave me unmoved.  I’m not suggesting that light beers are a product of Satan’s imagination (okay, maybe I am) but like all products which have been “lightened” to lessen the effects on the waistline, they taste like shit.

Okay, all this talk of beer has made me thirsty and it’s nearly lunch time anyway, so it’s time for a pint or so of my favorite:

Cheers, everyone.

P.S.  I should point out (and this should come as no surprise to anyone) that the grown-up Son&Heir is a devotee of full-bodied craft beers.  In fact, he’s a bit of a pain in the ass about the topic, but then again, he’s just as much a devotee of single malt Scotch (again, no surprise) so I’ll forgive him the beer snobbery.


  1. It’s funny, because when I was young, I thought that I didn’t like beer. Craft beer (starting with good old Shiner) taught me that I actually love it — I just didn’t like that beer.

    After a while, though, specifically because of the beer snob thing, I made a resolution. If someone handed me a beer, even a bud light, I would drink it. I’m not buying it, I’m not keeping it at home, but if someone genuinely hands me one (specifically if they are already drinking it) I’m having it.

    Why? Because for far, far too many people, they shit on light beer not because of the beer, but because of the kinds of people who drink it. (I don’t think you are one of them, but I know that the hipsters are absolutely in this category.) It’s the same as the people trying to ban vaping. There’s no danger to vaping. Second hand smoke was bullshit from the start, and now there is not even THAT danger, but they still want to make it clear to the type of person who vapes that they are not welcome.

    Gun control isn’t about guns. It’s about controlling the type of person who owns guns. People shit on Wonder Bread because of the people who eat Wonder Bread. People shit on McDonalds because of the people who eat at McDonalds.

    I say fuck ’em. I like the people who drink light beer, vape, smoke, shoot guns and eat Wonder Bread and Big Macs. I like them a hell of lot more than the people who mock them, and I suppose that I can suffer through the occasional glass of water masquerading as beer and a terrible hamburger or two to make them feel welcome.

    1. re: “People shit on McDonalds because of the people who eat at McDonalds.” Phelps

      No, people disparage McDonalds because the food is bad.

      Last year my wife of half a century went on a trip for a week and left me home to watch the cat and instructions “do not eat too much.” She is nearly as thin as when we married in 1968 and keeps a virtual snack free house which I have lived under so long that I consider it normal. For those 8 days I was on my own so I could cook what I wanted. Unfortunately it was in early August in a desert city in the South West and cooking was just too hot to do so I ate out most meals.

      I experimented and went to a number of “hamburger” places something my wife would never do. I tried McDonalds, In & Out burger, 5 guys, Smash Burger, Culvers, Burger King and Safeway’s 80/20 freshly ground market trim burgers on my grill with Tillamook aged white cheddar as a control. At the bottom was McDonalds Big Mac and Burger King’s Whopper. In and Out, Smash Burger, Culvers, and 5 guys were all great. Some I got with added bacon and others just the beef but it didn’t matter as the winners were all just great. Clearly the best were the cheeseburgers done with the Safeway fresh 80/20 Market Trim. McDonalds was the loser by far.

      Other than the burgers I visited a Dim Sum Chinese place three times for lunch. Wunderbar! I spent time in Asia over the years and I just love Dim Sum but my wife refuses to go with me. My other weakness is Pho and I found a place where I can get the Pho sans noodles but with Won Tons. I also found a Mexican joint that serves Chilaquiles (red or green sauce) with fried eggs and Pozole soup. Great low end food week. Alas, she is not traveling this summer as we are going to Maui for a few weeks in late August/September.

      Dan Kurt

    2. Phelps, you wonderful bastard, you have just encapsulated the American class system with “some” of it’s identifiers. I would like to see Kim expound on this if he hasn’t already

  2. Your son and heir showed character! Excellent turn of events. Now to being a grammar cop, the word should be “flavor” in this context as we all recognize that the major breweries have no taste based on their product offering…. “but this would not have happened had the suffering brands in question had any kind of taste other than slightly bitter carbonated water”.

    Reminds me of my first visit home after first year (equivalent to boot camp) at one of the service academies. I asked mother to “please pass the f*cking butter”. There was total silence at the table for 2 seconds, then my dad intoned “you heard the GENTLEMAN dear, please pass the butter”.

    It taught me to watch my speech tout suite, and yes, the navy trains one to swear in a most exquisite manner, it is a requirement for command apparently.

    1. RAdm Dan Gallery had a story about the Marine guards at his WW II airbase in Iceland. Their language was… indelicate. This was, he wrote, intentional Marine Corps training. Such language would get you thrown out of any well-run waterfront whorehouse, and these boys were too young to be visiting such places.

      1. @Rich,
        Not many folks know about RAdm Gallery, or his pal Harald Lange. For those not in the know, Adm Gallery’s taskforce captured Lange’s uboat at sea on June 4, 1944. Check out details on the U-505, currently housed in Chicago at The Musuem of Science & Industry.

        As for the Marines, I love Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote about The Corps.
        “The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!”

    2. Terra, beer does not have flavor, it has “taste”. I refer you to the payoff line for the excellent Castle Lager from South Africa: “The Taste That’s Stood The Test Of Time.”
      When you add, say, lime to beer [pause to be sick], THAT adds flavor, albeit of dubious value.

  3. A-B is losing sales on its flagship beers, but the managment isn’t stupid. They have invested very substantially in craft beers, acquiring several regional craft brewers, including Goose Island here in Chicago.

    AFAIK they have not meddled with the brewing; but they have provided capital for expanded production.

  4. Now observing some near state of perpetual lent but as I recall, you speak a sad truth about the Big-3. US beers have been spiked if not neutered with some equivalent of fluoride. But back in the day, Castlemaine 4-X was the real deal to drink for…

  5. Coors Lite, Coors, Budweiser = Diet Water, Colored Water and Panther Piss.
    I, like Phelps above, seldom decline a proffered beer out of respect for the person who offers. The most offered beer in my experience has been Bud, so I drank it. I’ve never understood why Bud, with all their money and know how, haven’t found a way to keep from giving me an all-day headache after drinking just three of those vile things .

  6. They make their watery beers because they still sell, just not as much as they used to. They can make good beer when they want to, and as mentioned above often do under different labels.

    I just had one of those Budweiser red lagers – not bad at all. By far the best Bud I’ve ever tasted.

  7. I do not like the big 3 beers, or similar, but I hate the F-ing craft beer craze with a passion.

    The reason is simple. Pre-craft beer, I could go into any reasonably stocked grocery store and the premium section of their beer aisle would have a large selection of German, Czech and other suitable tasty real actual freaking beer.

    Now, they have piles of vile craft IPA, cherry fize craft “beer” and assorted other crap and the real beer is shrunken to a tiny section (if they have anything). Sure, I have had a couple decent craft beers, but most are crap and even the good ones; I try them again later and they are off because most of them have terrible quality control.

    It is worse in restaurants which will offer bud products or whatever and then a half dozen trendy craft beers and no real beer at all (and no, nothing English, Canadian, Australian or Irish counts, that crap is not beer).

    It is not so bad here locally because I know where to go, but when I travel finding anything decent has become a real PITA.

    1. “Now, they have piles of vile craft IPA, cherry fize craft “beer” and assorted other crap and the real beer is shrunken to a tiny section (if they have anything).”

      As usual, Vonzie, you speak da troof. Imagine my problems finding Fuller’s London Pride anywhere… it’s enough to drive one to drink.

  8. I never drank beer when I was drinking. (As the Irish say, I have The Failure.) Rums and flovoured vodkas were my poisons of choice. I’ve never had a beer in my life because I could never stand the smell. Maybe beer smells better in other countries. My wallet and my waistline are glad to have never found out. Anyway, Monty Python nailed it (I’m guessing) when during the “Bruces” Sketch, they averred that American beer is like making love in a canoe: it’s fucking close to water.

  9. I mostly agree with our esteemed host, but Phelps has a good point as well.

    However, I want to make two points of my own…

    First, whatever your taste in beer, when someone says brand XX “…tastes like piss.”, that begs the question – How would you know? I for one, have never drank piss so I have no means of comparison.

    Then there is the fact that companies like AB and Coors sell a *LOT* of beer. (It might be apocryphal, but I read that AB sells more beer than all of the breweries in Germany combined.)

    My second point is this: It’s okay if you don’t like Bud or Coors or McDonald’s. It’s also okay if others do like them. Free American citizens are allowed to have different tastes than yours or mine.

    PS: In case you are wondering, my favorite “common” beers are Corona and Sam Adams, but I will take nearly anything offered – especially if it’s hot-as-hell outside and the beer is cold. As far as whiskey goes, like our esteemed host, I like nearly any single malt scotch, my current favorite being 12yo Glenlivet. (There are better out there of course, but the Glenlivet is a good compromise between taste and not having to mortgage the house to purchase a bottle.) I also like a good bourbon, and being from Kentucky, I have lots of good selection – Woodford Reserve and Four Roses being the ones I like the best. I also like Jack Daniels black label from my brothers down in Tennessee.

  10. We all have choices. We should be so lucky. According to my better half, yesterday was national Fried Chicken Day. We Chose to go here—

    They are BYOB, and will provide a bucket (or tub) of ice. My choice is Bud Light because, yes, it is less filling, and I plan to gorge myself like a tick on a hound dog.

    I have some insight into the craft beer scene. I used to shoot on a pistol team with one of the two founders of Sierra Nevada back when they were just getting started. My personal taste runs from their Pale Ale to Sam Adams to Fat Tire to….

  11. The CEOs of Bud, Coors, Miller and Guinness were having lunch one day. When the waiter asked for their drink order, the Bud guy said, “I’ll have a Bud Lite.”, the Coors guy said, “I’ll have a Coors Lite.”, the Miller guy said “I’ll have a Miller Lite.” and the Guinness guy said , “I’ll have a diet Coke.” The others looked at him aghast. “Why?” they chimed in unison. “Well,” said the Guinness guy, “Since you weren’t drinking beer, I thought I wouldn’t either.”

  12. For me, and I admit I’m more of a spirits man, nothing beats 1 or 2 ice cold Millers, in bottles, on a hot w Texas day.

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