Beer Myths Busted Part 1

Sometimes, it’s fun to bust myths. I mean, there’s a whole TV show dedicated to it. So this weekend, Ryan and I are going to kick the crap out of some common misconceptions about beer. The following discussion is the product of weeks of texting and e-mailing back and forth. I hope this will become an ongoing series as we think up other myths, but for now, there’s just three topics. Well, one today. The whole thing ended up being pretty long, so I split it into two days to avoid tl;dr syndrome. All right, first myth!

All Beer Tastes the Same?!

Scott: OK, you can probably guess how I feel about this one. But I’ve heard it so many times, especially from people who don’t like beer, that I feel the need to address it (even though most b(e)s regulars are probably thinking, “duh, no it doesn’t”). So Ryan, what’s your take on the crazy notion that all beers taste the same?

Ryan: Saying that statement is true would be the equivalent of saying that all music sounds the same, which is far from being accurate.

Scott: Yeah, it’s sort of like saying, “I like all music … except [rap/country/polka/didgeridoo].” Well, sorry to break it to you, but using the word “except” means you don’t like all music. Same goes for beer—there’s good stuff in every style if you’re willing to dig for it.

Ryan: There are styles of beers that taste similar (sometimes IPAs are hard to distinguish), and some breweries use the same strains of yeast or certain types of hops in their beers, but although they have familiar hints in flavor, they’re more of a signature of the makers than evidence that all beers taste alike. Even Bud, Miller, and Coors don’t taste the same … though that might be a testament to how much beer I drink, but that’s neither here nor there.

Scott: I can taste the difference too … even if I try not to talk about it because beer nerds would tar and feather me and casual drinkers would look at me like I’m nuts for noticing. I’ve heard this all-beer’s-the-same argument from people who’ve tried Guinness and other ales, though. At some point, somewhere, someone started talking smack about ale, stout in particular, telling everyone that it isn’t “real” beer, i.e., pale lager. Or that’s my best guess, anyway.

Ryan: Seems plausible. From what I’ve been able to gather by researching both paper and digital evidence, there are more than 20 different styles of beers and there are countless subcategories that fall under each style, from Belgian-style pales to barrel-aged stouts, so to say that they all taste the same is plain ol’ blind ignorance.

Scott: Are there really only around 20? I always thought there were way more base styles, as shown on Beer Advocate. But I suppose most could be included under those “endless subcategories.” Just look at the bottles lined up in my kitchen (pictured). Not one of them tasted exactly like another. So yeah, you’re clearly right about the ignorance thing.

Ryan: Not trying to sound harsh, but honestly it’s not fair to those making and enjoying different types of beer to generalize, which can be said about anything anyone is passionate about. At the risk of engaging in hyperbole: Beers are like snowflakes, or fingerprints, or tire treads … you get my meaning; they vary glaringly or subtly but, needless to say, they’re all unique. And you can’t go wrong with a little buzz either.

Scott: Nope! Although that kinda backs up the whole “doesn’t matter what it tastes like if it gets you drunk” school of thought.

Ryan: And hey, if you wanna drive around on the same Firestone for your entire life that’s all right too! Just enjoy it! Like I apparently have with this tire tread analogy.

Scott: Indeed, uh … next topic?

7 Responses to “Beer Myths Busted Part 1”
  1. Ryan says:

    diggin the article man! i’m looking forward to contributing more…

  2. Shane says:

    Is it a myth that beer makes you fat? Please tell me it is!

    • Scott says:

      Beer doesn’t make people fat, Shane … people make people fat. (Yeah, I went there.)

      But seriously, damn, we should’ve done this one! Probably the worst beer myth around. Beer is not a high-calorie beverage. Most average between 150-200 calories, which is on par with many sodas, but beer is chock full of vitamins and nutrients! The reason it’s called a beer belly and not an any-beverage-that-isn’t-water belly is because beer is commonly drunk 1) to get drunk, which means drinking A LOT of it, and 2) to wash down foods like pizza and wings. Cracking open one or two good beers occasionally will not a fat man make. Thanks for the question!

  3. Ben says:

    What about that pervasive myth rampant in Europe (one I used to perpetuate myself) that all American beer is week and “like making love in a canoe”?

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