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A mate mailed me this article. Dont know if its been posted before but it certainly reinforces why we do what we do!

Seeing amber
> By Keith Austin
> Sydney Morning Herald
> September 3, 2003
> An Aussie writing duo tips a bucket on tasteless local beer staples.
> Humans have been brewing beer for something like 6000 years. It was first
> stumbled upon by the Sumerians, who lived in the area around the Persian
> Gulf now known as Iran and Iraq.
> Six thousand years and still we get it wrong, as anyone who has tasted
> Budweiser will confirm. Budweiser, by the way, is the world's best-selling
> beer brand. Seems there's no accounting for taste.
> Or perhaps there is, for drinks writers Ben Canaider and Greg Duncan
> have come up with a tasting guide called Beer Slabs, Stubbies and
> Six-Packs. Here's what they had to say about Budweiser: "We don't know why
> this is in the book; it's almost not a beer ... it's made to be sessional
> [an undemanding beer you can drink over and over again] but is simply
> tasteless."
> Brave words but wait until they get stuck into those Australian beers that
> we all take for granted. Victoria Bitter, Crown Lager, Tooheys New and
> Carlton Cold all come in for a serve.
> Canaider and Duncan Powell are men on a mission to educate the
> beer-drinking public and are unapologetic about their verdicts. Sitting in
> the ABC canteen in Harris Street, Ultimo, after an early morning radio
> appearance they are a practised double-act.
> Canaider explains that although researching the book was fun, "the
> depressing bit was realising that a lot of those standard Australian beers
> are really, really bad. We didn't set out to can them just because we
> could. It just happened that way."
> Having covered beer styles, beer ingredients, how beer is made and devoted
> chapters to sessional beers, premium beers, boutique beers, heavy beers,
> light beers and weirdo beers, the writers say they will be happy if they
> manage only to get people to differentiate between ales and lagers.
> Duncan Powell explains: "Heaps of people want to talk about beer, it's the
> sort of subject that everyone's got an opinion on but it's not a developed
> opinion. They haven't really thought about the beer they drink, much."
> To which Canaider adds: "Oh, we love it but we don't know why. The fact
> that a lot of Australians don't know the difference between ale and lager
> is outrageous.
> "We're hoping that even if we get people to understand that difference,
> even if we can get them to do that and think a little bit more
> intelligently about the beer they drink ..."
> Duncan Powell: "We reckon that there's a beer for each different thirst,
> not just The Beer I Always Drink. That's very tribal ..." Canaider: "Yeah,
> that's the parochial, tribal element. That's, you know, when you first
> start drinking beer and that's what your mates drink. Or you don't drink a
> beer because you used to know some dickhead who used to drink it ..."
> Duncan Powell: "Actually I was at the snow and watching all these
> ordering beer and they're not ordering tribally any more in those sort of
> situations. They're defining themselves by what beer they order. You know,
> the poncy private school bloke ordered a Crown Lager ..."
> Canaider: "What did the fake ski instructor drink? The bloke with all the
> gear?"
> Duncan Powell: "Ah, they always drink imported stuff. They're all defining
> themselves by the beer they choose but they're still not thinking about
> what it tastes like. It's all about packaging ..."
> Canaider: "And brewers are uniquely aware of that. It's like building
> backwards. It starts with the marketing department. 'We want a beer like
> this, can you go and make it?' "
> Duncan Powell: "Here's the ad, can you make the beer?" Canaider:
> So how did they feel after sampling more than 100 beers for their book? Is
> there such a thing as too much of a good thing? "After doing the
> says Canaider, "I just wanted to have a bit of a rest for a while ...
> although having a beer by yourself after you've done the mowing, that's
> pretty good. But I've got a little balcony so there's no point mowing that
> ... do you mow a lot?"
> "I do mow a lot," Duncan Powell shoots back. "I love it out on the mower.
> Emu Bitter is really quite good for that. And Boag's Original. That's a
> good product. A good mowing product."
> Ah, yes, Boag's Original Bitter, described by the duo as having "shitloads
> of flavour" in the book and yet remaining unpopular and hard to get.
> "Sometimes we wonder if they are deliberately kept from a wider audience
> order not to show up the shithouseness of our mainstream amber staples,"
> they write.
> It's a conspiracy theory that comes up more than once in conversation: "We
> reckon," says Canaider, "the reason is that the brewers have never wanted
> to alienate their market by making beer that's too good.
> "If you've got people on a drug, on a good supply and the quality's shit,
> the worst thing you can do is change the quality."
> We could do worse than end with the dedication [to beer] at the front of
> the book: "Thanks for helping us through adolescence, for teaching us how
> to meditate, for giving us an understanding of women and providing us with
> what self-confidence we have ..."
> Amen to that.
> The Nectar
> Cascade Pale Ale (Tasmania)"The hops have the requisite high notes as well
> as roasted-nut oiliness. The thinking person's sessional beer."
> Cooper's Original Pale Ale (South Australia) "Once you've acquired a taste
> for it, you're addicted."
> J. Boag's Original Bitter (Tasmania) "This serious sessional beer is
> of its name original ... loads of flavour."
> Emu Bitter (West Aus) "Tastes like it wasn't made with perfect,
> multi-filtered, mineral-adjusted water ... it's an emu by a billabong."
> Pilsner Urquell (Czech) "If you're bored by contemporary pilseners with
> their buttoned-up clean flavours and polite manners get some of this into
> you."
> The Piss
> Boag's Strongarm Bitter (Tasmania) "The beer finishes in a sour, watery,
> bar-towel sort of way."
> Carlton Cold (Victoria) "Manages to magnificently replicate the look,
> flavour and texture of mediocre Victorian pub tap beer."
> Foster's Lager (Should not appear in an article on beer) "Supremely
> inoffensive ... tiptoes across your palate as if it doesn't want to wake
> your senses."
> Hahn Ice (South Australia) "Almost characterless ... a kind of thoughtless
> way of getting beer into you."
> Miller Genuine Draft (US) "Cold-filtered to within an inch of its life to
> remove all those beer flavours that have for so many thousands of years
> made people want to drink beer."
> From Beer Slabs, Stubbies and Six-Packs by Ben Canaider and Greg Duncan
> Powell (A$22.95, Random House)


Black Label Society
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it is a shame that only us craft brewers only know what real beer is like.
it really fustrates me to see the high society bullcr$p about wine everyone seems to think wine is the all mighty brew.theres heaps of wine shows around and on telly.i'd like to see beer take over from all this snobby nosed wine drinking bulldust.
after all wine is just squashed grapes of one varriety or another.beer is a much more complex brew.its just everyone is ignorant to what beer is capable of being.it stems from very old times and the beleive that beer is just a cheap drink to keep the masses happy.and i can't unfortanly see this ignorant way of thinking changing.

iv'e given some craft brews to people who never knew beer could be that good and the comments are ussually.that brew rocks.its like beer only times 10.

i have worked my self up now might go up into a bell tower and shoot some wine toffs and mega swill drinkers.


Beer me up, Scotty!
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Careful Jayse, you don't want to get as snobby about beer as the wine toffs are about wine! A quality drop of red has it's place in a night of degustation (i.e right in between the cleansing APA and the satiating doppelbock!)

I got Ben and Greg's book for Fathers Day. It's a great read and helps me identify for flavours in beers that I know are there, but I have trouble describing (Newcastle Brown Ale: dried banana, wet gravel, Anzac biscuits and burnt toffee - and to think, I just thought it tasted like malt hops and yeast!). It's pretty funny in parts and has some surprising ratings that I don't agree with (they complimented Tuborg too much and didn't compliment Chimay high enough). All in all a great read and worth getting.

- Snow


Maintain the Rage!
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There must be something in the water on the east coast, cos' I got it for father's day as well. Not a bad read at all. Like you say Snow, things to agree and disagree with and generally pretty funny. Gotta love their description of Sheaf Stout! Couldn't have put it better myself. I saw a bloke walking out of my local with a carton of it the other day. Must have been a baaad week...

Jayse - Gotta love wine as well as beer. It's all good! A tosser is a tosser. Sure wine snobs think they are superior but then we know better don't we...


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