The Spring 2019 issue (Vol. 63) of Food & Dining Magazine will hit the streets in March. My beer column is returning with a brief overview of Pints&union, emphasizing our revolutionary beer program.
My stand is clear, and the time for a “back to basics” movement is now. I believe there exists a silent majority among American beer drinkers who find the kaleidoscopic tilt-whirl of short attention spans – this frenetic hamster wheel approach to beer appreciation – utterly bewildering.
If you’re thinking this isn’t revolutionary at all, I beg to differ. The core definition of revolution is “involving or causing a complete or dramatic change.” There’s an inescapable relativity to this. If beer choices constantly rotate, then it’s revolutionary to rotate them less often — or not at all.
Ah, but BUSINESS — consumers demand kaleidoscopic hamster wheels, therefore businesses are compelled to provide them or go bust.
Not entirely, and in fact I’ve never really believed this is true. If I had, would there have been a Rich O’s Public House in 1990 offering unknown beers when consumers were demanding a dozen more tasteless frozen light lager “choices”?
Besides, if every bar in town is showing the Stupor Bore, then I want my joint to do something different as a haven for the minority preferring anything but football. Businesses are compelled to find markets, not pander to any particular model.
This is as good a segue as any into a nationwide campaign to restore a dollop or three of equilibrium to the reign of short beer attention spans.
What sometimes gets lost amid the constant stream of special releases are the beers that paved the way for today’s remarkable global beer market, or in other words, the flagship beers that got us here.
San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Co. is widely acknowledged to be the first modern-day craft brewery in the United States. It is less appreciated that the company’s flagship beer, Anchor Steam Beer, is the first American craft beer in modern times. Because of its status as the last survivor of the steam beer style, which was once widespread in the American West, the beer appears to be a missing link between historic and craft beers. However, the circumstances of its reinvention in 1971 show it to be something far more important.
Finally, at Good Beer Hunting the forever well-informed and provocative Bryan Roth turns the very notion of “flagship” inside out. It’s very interesting reading, which makes me more determined than ever to create, nurture and sustain an alternative beachhead.
… Advocates spent the last 40 years decrying the problems of mass market Lager and clamoring for more options and experiences via “small and independent” craft brewers. They can hardly complain when those wishes come to fruition, and when 85% of 21-and-over Americans live within 10 miles of a brewery. This is the future liberal, promiscuous drinkers want, old-guard flagships be damned.
I’ve been one of these advocates, who now finds his innate contrarianism to be as infinitely mutable as the beer marketplace itself. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, and I will continue to work on improving the beer experience at Pints&union.