How About a Shot of Culture With that Beer?
Once upon a time the Battle of the Beers was Budweiser vs. Miller vs. Schlitz (yes, Schlitz). Today it is the mega brewers vs. the craft beer industry. As far as volume is concerned, it is no contest. The big guys easily kick the craft brewers' collective butts. But the little guys are slowly making gains. Each year for the last several years, craft brewing's piece of the pie has grown. And the big guys have taken notice. This all begs the question: why don't the big breweries brew their own "craft" beers? Why is there no Budweiser IPA? No Miller Stout? No Coors Porter? Instead they get lighter and lighter in a race to see who can, in fact, get closest to water (or, as the joke goes, make love in a canoe).
The answer, I suspect, lies in the philosophies of the two industries: love of money vs. love of beer. This is not to suggest that craft brewers have no interest in making money. Indeed, most of them produce a somewhat middle-of-the-road brew that appeals to a wider base - consider Sam Adams Lager and Sam Adams Light - and most produce a fruity seasonal that sells very well. There are more and more Shandies out there. But they also brew full-bodied beers with complex flavors. To do so requires costly ingredients: barley malt instead of corn and rice; copious amounts of hops. So, where the craft brewers opt to put their money into making good beer, the big guys would rather keep making the same old same old and put their money into making good commercials.
He's Our Kind of Guy
AROMA: Deliciously hoppy
BODY: Between medium and full
TASTE: Hoppy/bitter with notes of grapefruit hops and malt
OVERALL IMPRESSION: "Can't Get Enough!"
COMMENTS: "It attacks the tongue; That's a good beer!; It's brewed with a lot of hops and a lot of malt; It's a big beer; There's a nice bitter aftertaste that makes you want to go to the next sip; A reasonably priced, really good IPA; Aptly named as it has a lot of 'latitude'; You can taste the deconstructed hops; A good 'hide it from the company' beer."
The Gold Medal Goes to: Third Voyage
The Silver Medal Goes to: Latitude 48
The Bronze Medal Goes to: Tasman Red
Tough call on the last three. There was a kind of a split between Dark Depths and Whitewater, with the nod going to Whitewater by a nose. Grumpy Monk we saw as nice boat beer, pretty easy-drinking and a mild alcohol profile. So...
5. Dark Depths
6. Grumpy Monk
The BOTB Guys