Wednesday, July 16, 2014
What's Your Problem?
Pricing. This is a horse they've beaten well past expiration: if session beers are lower alcohol, they should be less expensive. Other people say it too. But we've had that discussion, and the truth is, lower alcohol beers don't really cost that much less to make or sell. Materials -- hops, malt, spices -- are only part of a beer's cost; there's energy, labor, transport, taxes, promotion, facility costs, debt service... If a pint of 4.5% pilsner is a good pint, a good-tasting beer, why should it be cheaper than a 6.5% IPA? Because it cost a nickel less to make? Or because it has less alcohol? I thought craft beer was all about flavor. If it's about the alcohol, well...why are you drinking it, again? Maybe you ought to think about that. In any case, I'd certainly encourage any brewpub operator or bar manager to think about dropping pints a buck just to encourage the multiple sales sessions are about, but it's not about session being a somehow "lesser" beer. We don't buy that, no matter what the price.
BeerAdvocate 5% definition isn't definitive enough; I like 4.5% better, and 4.0% is good too. But look at how long it took to define "craft beer." Oops...the Brewers Association is apparently still working on that one. Doesn't seem to be hurting sales, though. Yeah. Another non-problem.
Boring! I'll quote them here, because I agree with a little bit of this...but not much. "There's a serious lack of creativity when it comes to session beers. It's either an attempt at an old beer style, or a weak, watery failure. Even worse, some fool (or genius) created the 'Session IPA,' and it's taking over the session beer category thanks to bandwagoning brewers releasing hop water into the market in order to capture twice the hype."
as yet undreamt of just waiting to be born...why single out Session IPA? Again, this is a failure of craft beer, not session beer. If the Alstroms really want to be muckrakers, and call for a better brighter world of beer, they need to step up and tackle the real problems.
Sorry. In the meantime, tell me: what's it going to take for sour beers to be "truly accepted" in the US? Because while I love 'em, I think there's a much longer list of why they ain't going mainstream anytime soon. Gonna write that editorial next issue, guys?