It was only five or six years ago, that keystone light arguably had one of the best marketing campaigns of the year “Say no to bitter beer face”. Great imagery and a catchy tagline caused a lot of people to talk. Too bad the beer advertised was such swill. Yet here we are not a decade later and bitter beer is being considered a good thing? With constant chatter about craft beers today, I am amazed to hear how many people advocate bitter beer, “more hoppy the better”. My god, to watch at a craft beer bar these days, you flash back to the old Keystone light commercials. You would think that nothing is more refreshing than having your taste buds pulled out by the stem.
What is the current fascination in the US with bitter beer? When did US craft brewers decide to measure their manhood by how many hops they can cram in a beer bottle? More importantly, how did they convince US beer drinks to buy into this madness?
There are a lot of things I do not understand about the US beer industry and it’s consumers. Things like, how can Boston Brewing Company (Sam Adams) produce more than 2 million barrels of beer a year (that’s more than 62,000,000 gallons of beer) and still be considered a craft brewery? Additionally, why do respected international beer competitions feel the need to include categories such as “Best American Style Light Lager”, which has been won repeatedly by beers such as, Lite by Miller Brewing Co. and Old Milwaukee Lite (Really, Beast Lite? God help us all!)? When did people feel the need to start tasting beer from a wine glass, swirling it around and commenting on it like a fine wine (for the love of all that is holy, it is a $7.00 beer not a 100 year old, $300 bottle of wine)? When did IBU (International Bittering Units), the scale for measuring the perceived bitterness of a beer, become a common rating method for beer even at the most meager dive bars (we know this because we have been asked the IBU of our beers at many a dive bar)?
So help out a simple, small brewery owner, what is America’s great fascination with bitter beers? Don’t get me wrong, I do love hops but in the proper proportion. There is nothing like the wonderful aroma from a good hop, balanced with malty undertones. A smooth balanced beer is a thing of beauty. So what is the obsession? Where will it end? Or is there no hope for American beer drinkers ruining their taste buds with hops overload?
We here at Dockside Brewery believe in well-balanced beers. We believe in making refreshing, easily drinkable beers with a unique taste. I guess it should go without saying, at Dockside Brewery, we don’t appreciate bitter beer face.