The King of Hops

Today I’m going to start with something a bit more topical than usual — no, I’m not going to talk about Haiti, because I couldn’t find a noteworthy quote about Haitian beer. But I did read an interesting bit of crossover news about Anheuser-Busch InBev planning to send almost a million cans of drinking water to thirsty Haitians. (Click here to learn how to send money to Haiti without falling prey to scams created by people who apparently want to reserve a special spot in hell’s Greedy Bastards Hall of Fame.)

Alas, I promised you all a beer-quote, and I will deliver. Who, during the past week or two, has been more quotable than recently snubbed talk show host Conan O’Brien? (If you haven’t heard about what’s been happening, this video explains it … more or less.) The former leading man of The Tonight Show spent all last week firing completely warranted zingers at the unprotected genitals of NBC executives. For example:“NBC is going to throw me and Jay into a pit with sharpened sticks. The one who crawls out alive gets to leave NBC.”

and, about his future career options,

“Leave television altogether, and work in a classier business with better people, like hardcore porn.”So how does the late-night war relate to beer? Well, there’s this commericial — but that’s the iceberg’s tip, of course. During his days on Late Night, Conan twice hosted venerable beer writer Michael Jackson (not the pop star — although this Michael Jackson died somewhat recently too, may he rest in peace). You can watch his second visit here. (Just so you know, he’s not drunk; he had Parkinson’s disease.) At one point during the interview, they discuss malt liquor:

“I still like malt liquor. It’s cheap. You can get it for $1.49. You can get a bottle you could soak your foot in afterward.”

This seemed relevant, as my last article may have conveyed the impression that I’m anti-expensive-beer. If any of you inferred that, I accuse myself of libel. Paying more for better beer is the sacred right of any beer lover! We should learn to appreciate great beers in every price range and give generously to the breweries we love.

But I try to avoid preaching only to my choir; my audience, after all, comprises more than beer geeks, many of whom would already decimate their paycheck for grade A beer. Although I embrace these readers as my brothers and sisters in brew, my primary goal here is to educate the uninformed about this miraculous but oft-underappreciated beverage.

Here’s a relevant quote from Jackson:

“Let’s all work to get people to drink more good beer, so if someone walks into your office and says he drinks Corona, don’t immediately call him a dickhead.”
-Michael Jackson

To be honest, I agree with Jackson about Corona; it’s one of my least favorite beers. But I agree with him even more about his larger point. Does liking a certain beer make you an idiot? Of course not. Numerous factors contribute to the creation of an idiot. And we craft drinkers will make few friends by assigning such labels.

I once heard a story about a bartender in brewpub. According to the teller, this bartender (hereafter named Cecil) responded to a request for Bud Lite by handing the unsuspecting customer a glass of water. OK, I’ll admit I chuckled when I heard it — but will that Bud drinker ever want to enter a small brewery again? I can think of several more productive ways to handle the situation. Cecil might have said, “We actually don’t have Bud on tap, but if you like beers like that, you could try our Pilsner. It’s similar but more flavorful, and we brewed it right here in this building.” Or Cecil could have slipped a 4 ounce sample of another lager in beside the requested Bud and cordially invited his customer to compare the two.

We should encourage others to take beer seriously, not deride them for their lack of knowledge (as tempting as it may be after receiving sarcastic remarks for doing something “snooty” like smelling your beer). Offer friendly recommendations instead. As for any fans of Bud, Miller, or Coors who are reading this, please know that you’re always welcome at our table for a drink — we ask only that you try to bring an open mind.

No Responses to “The King of Hops”
  1. Ryan says:

    You smell like coors lite

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