I like a wide variety of beers, but if you open up my fridge you’ll mostly find those cold activated cans of el cheapo lager. Why? Because it’s just fine. That’s right, I said it.
I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point, grabbing a six pack of mass market beer became some sort of social faux pas. “Why are you drinking that?” I get asked when hosting a house party, or when I sit down with my mostly see-through pint of beer at a bar.
Apparently it’s a crime to not order a milk stout, IPA, or some craft beer that’s been brewed with pumpkin spice or whatever. Honestly, I kind of hate this hipster beer culture that’s developed. Like you’re not cool if you haven’t tried so-and-so brewery’s new weird thing.
It feels like people wear their “beer cred” on their sleeves, as if they’re above us silver bullet crunching plebs. I like that small craft breweries exist, I do, but you’re not better than other beer drinkers when you drink it. You’re still just having a damn beer.
I get it — people basically want to know why I would want a McDonald’s cheeseburger when I could get a thick steakhouse burger with pineapple and teriyaki sauce and bunch of other accoutrements on it. Because it’s easy, it’s affordable and frankly, it’s comfortable. It’s the same reason I drink boxed wine — which is also perfectly fine, thank you very much.
Sometimes I don’t want to expand my palate when I order a drink with some buddies, or sip something “that is both elevating and challenging”. Sometimes I just want the mild taste of a light beer and a buzz so I can forget about this horrible place filled with horrible people and have a laugh.
I mean, I’m very aware that I’m not some university student and that I can afford “good” beer, but the reality is that I hardly ever want it. A lot of the “good” beers that get recommended to me taste fine, but they feel heavy and overpowering. The crappy stuff is cheap and it tastes good enough. If mass market pilsners didn’t taste somewhat OK, they wouldn’t have been around as long as they have.
I also like to make beer cocktails, such as micheladas or red beers, and crappy beer makes for a great baseline so I can still taste all the other good stuff in those drinks. Also, I cook with beer fairly often, and the crappy stuff is good for that too.
Lastly, I can drink a lot of it and not feel bad, both in a guilty “I spent too much money on booze” way and in an “I actually woke up without a hangover” way. The joke about cheap light beers is that they’re watered down, or mostly water, and well, yeah! I stay fairly hydrated knocking a few back, I can pace myself much easier, and they have a lot fewer kilojoules so I’m not wrecking my diet every time I want to unwind.
I get to have my beer and drink it too, so to speak. So, laugh at me if you want, but I think everyone should have a favourite crappy beer they can always count on. What’s yours?