Does Beer Really Equal Democracy Equal The U.S.A?
July 15, 2002 6:33 PM   Subscribe

Does Beer Really Equal Democracy Equal The U.S.A? Max Rudin's somewhat wild assumptions only make this article of his more interesting. But is it true that beer in North America overtakes all the usual class, status and income boundaries? If so, it certainly sets it apart from Europe, where all the old preconceptions and habits still prevail and (at least in the Southwest) a glass of wine is always cheaper than a beer. So I guess the question here is: just how political can beer be? [As a chaser, the British expert Michael Jackson's list of the ten great beers of America seems authoritative and tempting, if a tad disloyal to the cask-conditioned real, live ales of England and Scotland...].
posted by MiguelCardoso (20 comments total)
Not that this was easy to post, mind you... ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:35 PM on July 15, 2002

hands up if you're surprised miguel was first to post.
posted by patricking at 6:37 PM on July 15, 2002

Actually, patricking, I (and several others) managed to beat him here earlier today (even Miguel sleeps sometimes) when the server was up for a few minutes, but the thread was deleted.

Something about the OpenRMCS, I recall. I remember it like it was yesterday...

*rubs chin, scene dissolves*
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:08 PM on July 15, 2002

Crash, that thread was deleted because it was total crap. I mean who cares whether Claudia Schiffer's breasts have become less pert since she got married? ;)

I don't suppose anyone is going to actually click on links today. A shame, because Rudin's article is well worth reading...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:26 PM on July 15, 2002

Fantastic link! Very interesting read.

Pabst (for its Blue Ribbon lager, introduced in 1882) and most other brewers preferred corn, but Anheuser Busch used rice, which it thought added "snappiness" to Budweiser.

Um . . . racing stripes? (ducks)
posted by mcwetboy at 7:50 PM on July 15, 2002

Hm . . . to deal with Miguel's topics for discussion:

I once paid over 40 FF for a beer in a Paris café. You could get eight bottles of (very suspect) wine for that price at the local G20 supermarket in the 14th near where I was staying . . .

I spent a few years as a graduate student looking at the relationship between culture and social status, so the idea that beer became a working-class beverage rings true for me. The same thing happened, for example, with bread flour in 19th-century France: white breed was, if you'll pardon the expression, upper-crust; ryes and black and whole-grain bread was peasant food. My Pierre Bourdieu is pretty rusty, but it does seem to me that people go out of their way to assign social meanings (and status) to everyday activities.

Also interesting that the original temperance movement wanted to get people to drink beer instead of whiskey. I remember a few years back that there was a Beer Party in Poland that was advocating the same thing: drink beer instead of vodka.
posted by mcwetboy at 7:59 PM on July 15, 2002

"I once paid over 40 FF for a beer in a Paris caf(e)"

A Guinness cost me $8.50 at Arizona's Bank One Ballpark, but it didn't taste any better, it just caused me to wait until I left the park and entered a pub to buy another.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:12 PM on July 15, 2002

WTF? Matt & Miguel, what happened to my 1st response, and your reply to that? It was only a gentle tease, not a troll or flame, for goodness sakes!
posted by dash_slot- at 9:50 PM on July 15, 2002

I don't like beer. Am I a communist?
posted by owillis at 9:52 PM on July 15, 2002

The ten-best list certainly needs to include Grants Scottish Ale, from Yakima Brewing and Malting Company, the first craft brewery in the Pacific Northwest and the first modern brewpub in the U.S. since Prohibition. Beats anything made in Portland and I've tried most of them.
posted by Mack Twain at 10:08 PM on July 15, 2002

OK, Miguel, you win!! ;)

posted by dash_slot at 6:47 PM PST on July 15

Ah, but there was no challenge, dash_slot, so it doesn't count. Also I don't know if we really should be here... :)

posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:54 PM PST on July 15

Here they are, dash_slot. 'Cept they were posted to SillyFilter, so they're neither here nor there. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:11 PM on July 15, 2002

Mack Twain: don't make me link this, OK?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:13 PM on July 15, 2002

I'm not surprised. alcohol and drugs fuel our work force.
posted by mcsweetie at 12:16 AM on July 16, 2002

Yes Miguel, I see what you mean! *realizing he's too entrenched in the North West, drinks 6 Budwisers*
posted by Mack Twain at 12:38 AM on July 16, 2002

*'miniscule' level geek cred officially downgraded to 'infinitisimal'*

posted by dash_slot- at 6:31 AM on July 16, 2002

The ten-best list certainly needs to include Grants Scottish Ale

I agree somewhat Mack Twain, although my vote would be for Grant's Imperial Stout. Actually, I couldn't believe that ANY beer from Brooklyn Brewing made the list - everything I've ever had from them has been thoroughly disappointing. I'd bet on ANYTHING from Grant's first and I was likewise disappointed that Stoudt's did not place on the list.

I mean, Anchor Steam? Geez, why not Budweiser...
posted by RevGreg at 1:59 PM on July 16, 2002


I don't like beer. Am I a communist?

No. No you are not.

If I'm drinking, I looking to put a buzz on in the most effecient way possible. Beer and wine just don't get it done for me. That's what vodka and gin are for.

I love the new crop of beer snobs that seems to have overrun every bar on Earth since the 90's. There just as snotty as wine taster drunks, but they claim not to be.
posted by mark13 at 8:21 AM on July 17, 2002

I had beer for the first time last saturday night. I thought it was discusting.
posted by delmoi at 7:51 AM on July 22, 2002

I had beer for the first time last saturday night. I thought it was discusting.

That is very possible. I currently have over 500 different bottles from the different beers I've tried - some sucked ass and some were nectar of the gods. Don't discount the whole range of possibilities due to one bad experience...
posted by RevGreg at 12:43 PM on July 22, 2002

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