Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

Other than Brewing => The Pub => Topic started by: brookspn on November 12, 2009, 04:00:36 AM

Title: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: brookspn on November 12, 2009, 04:00:36 AM
This is a conversation I'm sure we are all familiar with.  One of our friends is drinking back on a Bud Light Lime and we may say something like, "why don't you try drinking something good?"  Which raises a great question; Is my Pliny the Elder better than his Bud Light Lime?  If so, what makes it better?  It is all a matter of taste, or lack thereof.  Or is there some sort of intrinsic quality that makes Vinnie's crowning achievement superior to the dregs of Anhauser-Busch?
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: nicneufeld on November 12, 2009, 04:12:28 AM
Is Herbie Hancock better than the Jonas Brothers?  These are the questions that haunt us as we walk the fine line between good taste and snobbery.
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: a10t2 on November 12, 2009, 04:51:39 AM
I'd say PTE and Bud Light are both world-class examples of their respective styles. If you don't like a style, that's different from it being *bad*.

On the other hand, there are definitely beers that are objectively bad. I've had some, commercial and homebrewed.
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: blatz on November 12, 2009, 05:00:25 AM
better is subjective  - whats better to you might be worse to him and vice versa. there are no absolutes.
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: The Professor on November 12, 2009, 05:22:35 AM
I went through a beer snob period.
Really, the best beer is the one in your hand, that you enjoy.

And for whatever it's worth, inasmuch as I have been a booster for the micro movement since it began, it must be noted with objectivity that  "big brewing" prejudices aside, A/B-InBev is making some pretty decent specialty beers these days. 
They may yet get it right.
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: smurfe on November 12, 2009, 12:02:32 PM
I grew up on Budweiser being from the St Louis area  and can't diss them. If you really want to get technical they brew a superior product. Look at it. They brew day in and day out world wide and each and every Budweiser taste the same. It really isn't that bad in taste either. Now many craft beers will awaken the palate with alternative flavor and are fantastic in their own right but you can't tell me any of them are technically "better" beers. Preferred flavor? Yes! Better beers? No.
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: majorvices on November 12, 2009, 12:25:22 PM
Is Herbie Hancock better than the Jonas Brothers?  These are the questions that haunt us as we walk the fine line between good taste and snobbery.

lol!  ;D

Seriously, I don't care what someone drinks (as long as they don't throw the can out their car window) and I will drink BMC beer from time to time. IMO what it really boils down to is how adventurous are you? Some people never get over a maturity level with their taste and can not stand anything with flavor, period. They stopped maturing taste wise when they were about 6. For them, Mac and Cheese and Koolaide is the pinnacle of their flavor empire. Most of these people eat and drink bland, flavorless foods and don't care to experiment. Many people go through their life with American Cheese, White Bread and Bud Light.

And I really think that they don't like the taste of Beer but want to have the Beer drinking experience - and really, that is what Light beers were made for in the first place!

Common, what food really goes best with Bud Light? I'll tell you - Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets!

Whether or not the beers are as good as each other, I would say they are both brewed to a high standard of quality. One just is not very interesting and tastes more like fizzy water than beer. Hell, even Bud tastes like a beer at least.
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: bluesman on November 12, 2009, 12:48:26 PM
I am always searching for examples of different styles. It is rare for me to buy a six pack of anything anymore, not only because I have six kegs and numerous bottled beers at home, but because I am looking to broaden my horizon or palate for different styles of beer.

If I want to make a particular style of beer, I search for good examples first, then tailor a recipe and go for it.

I try to keep an open mind when trying different beers.

...in the end it's vanilla, chocolate or strawberry...one prefers vanilla while another likes chocolate...to each his own.

Drink what you want...and brew what you like.
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: brookspn on November 12, 2009, 01:46:00 PM
I guess I just think that the whole "to each his own" thing is problematic.  All of us here no what "beer" is.  We've read about it, we've drank our fair share of it, and we've made a good deal of it too.  So, I think that we should, without fear of snobbery or alienation, be able to talk critically about the aesthetics of beer.  In the same way that some music is objectively better than others, beer is too.  As with all forms of art, it comes down to craftsmanship.  Is AB/Inbev beer crafted well.  Absolutely.  But where is the creativity?  I suppose its the difference between a mass produced Chinese painting (they redo famous works of art in the original medium on an assembly line) and an original Maxfield Parrish. 
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: babalu87 on November 12, 2009, 02:13:06 PM
I'd say PTE and Bud Light are both world-class examples of their respective styles. If you don't like a style, that's different from it being *bad*.

On the other hand, there are definitely beers that are objectively bad. I've had some, commercial and homebrewed.

Can a style be bad?



ROFL

HOT POCKETS!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9c9lAfXQHs
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: bonjour on November 12, 2009, 02:19:58 PM
While some beers are definately better than other beers, some beer styles are not better than other beer styles.
A quality beer is a quality beer and a flawed beer is a flawed beer.  The brewers and breweries mentioned are at the top of the game and consistently produce quality beers, though Vinnie is known to sell sour beers, but that is done with intent.

Last Wednesday I served Bud, Miller Lite and several other delctable treasures to my class of beer geeks.  These beers are litterally classic examples of style and as such are awesome representatives of their styles.  Are these the beers that you prefer?  I really didn't need to ask that now did I.   Which is more popular?  Obviously AB.  

So in answer to the question, Beers - Yes, Styles - No
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: homebrewgamecock on November 12, 2009, 04:16:10 PM
I agree it depends on your taste.  Most big commercial beers like Bud are very well made.  Personally, I would take a Bud over a Miller any day.  Don't really care for Miller products at all.  Coors is ok to me, but not great.  All these commercial beers have very little beer flavor to me.  I don't diss them as a beer snob, but rather I choose not to drink them because for me, they are flavorless empty beer calories.  Also, they are not that much cheaper these days than craft beer.  I see Bud in most stores in CO for $5-6 a six pack unless it's on special.  As for light beer, I don't care for any of it.  Just don't like them - BL, CL, ML, Sam Adams Light, etc. 

I would never call someone out for drinking what they like.  If you like it, drink it.
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: denny on November 12, 2009, 04:41:00 PM
I went through a beer snob period.
Really, the best beer is the one in your hand, that you enjoy.

Same here....when I had just started homebrewing, I was on a quest to save people from "bad beer".  Now, I recognize that people should drink what they like.  I may feel sorry for someone who doesn't want to at least try something new, but I don't judge people by what they drink.

And for whatever it's worth, inasmuch as I have been a booster for the micro movement since it began, it must be noted with objectivity that  "big brewing" prejudices aside, A/B-InBev is making some pretty decent specialty beers these days. 
They may yet get it right.

Interesting observation....about a year ago, AB came out with a bourbon vanilla porter.  They recently announced a rye IPA.   Are they watching me???  ;)
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: babalu87 on November 12, 2009, 05:12:13 PM
Same here....when I had just started homebrewing, I was on a quest to save people from "bad beer".  Now, I recognize that people should drink what they like.  I may feel sorry for someone who doesn't want to at least try something new, but I don't judge people by what they drink.

I have attempted to blindfold people who think all dark beers are too heavy etc, etc, etc

Its funny though, people are willing to try damn near anything put on a plate in front of them but once a beer is anything other than piss yellow they act like you kicked their dog

Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: BrewArk on November 12, 2009, 05:31:36 PM
My beer is better than your beer.   nananana  :D
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: bonjour on November 12, 2009, 05:32:31 PM
Interesting observation....about a year ago, AB came out with a bourbon vanilla porter.  They recently announced a rye IPA.   Are they watching me???  ;)
Hmmmm,

Maybe you should issue them a cease and desist letter.  Talk to Matt at Vermont Rock Art Brewery to see how that works.  
I'm sure that you with all your financial might can duke it out with them. ;)

Fred
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: brookspn on November 12, 2009, 08:06:38 PM
[quote author=denny link=topic=237.msg2360#msg2360 date=1258044060

Its funny though, people are willing to try damn near anything put on a plate in front of them but once a beer is anything other than piss yellow they act like you kicked their dog



I've experienced that too.  I think that's what drew me to this question (plus I was a philosophy major).  It just seems that what beer is considered to be has changed a great deal.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not all about the Rienheitsgebot but at the same time, doesn't there come a time when we have to draw a line as to what constitutes beer and what doesn't?  Also as to what constitutes quality and what doesn't.

I understand that Bud Light may be a great example of a light American lager, but the deeper question is this:

Is light American lager a good example of beer?
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: bonjour on November 12, 2009, 08:14:04 PM
I understand that Bud Light may be a great example of a light American lager, but the deeper question is this:

Is light American lager a good example of beer?
define Good?

Is this a subjective or an objective measurement?

To properly evaluate anything you need a defined standard.  What are the requirements of a "Good" beer?  Are you asking what kind of beer I prefer?  That I can answer subjectively.

Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: homebrewgamecock on November 12, 2009, 08:44:21 PM
Very subjective.  Light American lagers = not one of my favorite styles.  I am also not a big fan of sour beers, doppelbocks or wheat beers.  Now, I have had examples of all of these beers that I enjoyed and were good, but I would not seek them out, order them in bar or brew them often.  I have brewed some wheat beers, mostly for other people though.

It's really what tastes good to you.  I will agree that it bums me out to have people refuse to drink anything but fizzy, yellow beer.  I am not trying to change their drinking habits, just trying to get them to sample another type of beer.  I don't pressure anyone into drinking my homebrew, but when we have a party, I don't go out and buy BMC beer for people either.  Thankfully most people I have met in CO enjoy craft beer.
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: brookspn on November 12, 2009, 09:42:24 PM


Is this a subjective or an objective measurement?

To properly evaluate anything you need a defined standard.  What are the requirements of a "Good" beer? 



Precisely.  Now we are getting to the heart of the matter.  What makes a beer "good?"  Is it the standard by which is is made?  The care put into crafting it?  The means by which it is crafted?  The quality of the ingredients?  Or some other thing?

On a side note, it amazes me that we can talk this way about wine, but not about beer.
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: narvin on November 12, 2009, 10:00:28 PM


Interesting observation....about a year ago, AB came out with a bourbon vanilla porter.  They recently announced a rye IPA.   Are they watching me???  ;)

Was that the "Winter Bourbon Cask Ale"?  Now THAT was bad beer, in the same sense that snackwells are a bad food.  Artificial-tasting flavors, too much sweetness, etc.

Taste is subjective.  But, when judged against the schema that describes the domain of "beer" as a whole, you can say that some beers do a poor job of representing the attributes that a beer, by definition or by historical example, should have.  That doesn't mean someone can't enjoy drinking it.
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: bonjour on November 12, 2009, 10:09:00 PM
Defined standards are required here,  you just said a Kolsch sucked because I was looking for a stout

Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: a10t2 on November 12, 2009, 11:52:15 PM
I have attempted to blindfold people who think all dark beers are too heavy etc, etc, etc

That's the entire reason I started brewing a black standard lager.

define Good?

For that matter, define beer. Bud Light Lime? Smirnoff Ice? Braggot?
Title: Re: Are some beers better than others?
Post by: niquejim on November 13, 2009, 12:46:54 AM
Interesting observation....about a year ago, AB came out with a bourbon vanilla porter.  They recently announced a rye IPA.   Are they watching me???  ;)
Hmmmm,

Maybe you should issue them a cease and desist letter.  Talk to Matt at Vermont Rock Art Brewery to see how that works.  
I'm sure that you with all your financial might can duke it out with them. ;)

Fred


Actually I had the chance to try AB's RyePA(yeah, that's the name(at least it's not Wry Smile)) and it was actually bitter. Not in a Hop Ottin or Hop Rod Rye way but more than SNPA. This would be a good go to beer if sold separately