The Glory of Cheap Beer: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the "Swill"

My defense of "cheap" beer and insight into my beer philosophy.

Re-posted from my blog: Malted Musings.

It all came upon me suddenly, but I guess in hindsight it's been the culmination of experience that really planted the realization in my head. The time was last week, around dinner time. It was late (for me), and my wife and I were enjoying some decidedly "ok" Chinese takeout for a latish diner- as we were busy running around filing paperwork for a house closing for the entire early evening.

We sat down to catch up on Breaking Bad, cheap plastic take-out bowls uncovered, steaming in front of us on the coffee table. It had been a hell of a day so I opened to fridge hunting for beer. I had some Chimay, Weyerbacher Tiny, and Reinaert Wild Ale (a Belgian I'd received as a birthday gift). I thought a minute, reached for a brew (I don't remember which) and then stopped short when I saw what lined the entire other door of my fridge- Narragansett and Genesee as far as the eye could see. It was left over beer from my birthday present. I had bought it to have some "cheap" beer for those who didn't bring their own beverages and (surprise) ended up with a ton of it left over.

I grudgingly grabbed a Genesee, turned on the TV, sat down, took a bite of my chow ho fun, sipped at my green-canned swill, and that's when something shocking happened. A feeling of perfect peace, as if all was right in the world, swept through my entire being, carried on the tepid waves of the pale lightweight beer. It was great. It was magical. In that movement the Genesee not only complimented my food, but it summed up my mood, ended the day on a good note, and made everything feel . . . well . . . awesome.

I guess all that is to say that I'm the worst beer blogger in the world. Before you agree, let me explain. I have a hard time "rating" beer, for reasons my anecdote illustrated above. Genesee and Naragansett are far from the "score" of the Belgians and small batch craft beers I have next to them in my fridge. And yet, in one moment, I enjoyed a cheap ($14 for a 30 rack, so $.47 a can?) beer far more than I ever would of your highest scoring limited release IPA or $50 Belgian sour. And I guess that's the crux of my beer philosophy (and no I'm not calling it my 'beer-osophy' that's lame): how the hell can I "rate" a beer when everyone is going to enjoy a certain style during a certain time in different ways?

Call me neurotic, but the philosophical ramifications of demanding that people drink a certain beer, and then mocking their "poor" choice in beer seem far too vast for some schlub whose only qualification is that he drinks a fair amount of beer (me) to decide! It's the easiest thing in the world to be snobby. See someone drinking a bud? Idiot! Someone says that Molson is their favorite beer? Plebeian  A buddy invites you to tour their favorite brewery, Sam Adams? You're no friend of mine! Hey I know, I've been there, turned my nose up, and all it really did was give me a false air of superiority and a more expensive tab at the end of the night.

Now this isn't to say that I'm going to be drinking nothing but Bud Light from now on: I stand by the fact that some beer is superior tasting than other beer. I also know that some people just plain don't like certain breweries, whether the breweries be "high" end or "low." The whole point of this is to say that there's no reason to discriminate against other beer drinkers and to explain my point-of-view on beer a bit more. I'm even back tracking on what I said before: there's no reason for me to educate people on their "poor beer choice." People like the beer they like. If someone wants to know more, than I'm more than willing to open up my personal stores and run down all the craft styles I know to help someone out. But if someone is happy with the beer they're drinking . . . well isn't being happy the whole point of drinking beer?

I suppose my thoughts on "sharing only when someone is actually interested in my opinion" is the same in regards to my personal faith and religion, but that's touching on topics way too deep for a beer blog! Anyway I hope this post find everyone thawing out and getting ready for Spring: rain, spring seasonals, and actually enjoying time outside the house! Follow me on on BloggerTwitter, and Facebook for more beer ramblings and malted musings.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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