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Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Note From the Road

After a long day with convelescing dad, I'm back at the Boise Red Lion. Just went down to the bar for a couple bottles of beer, and of my ten or so choices, the only non-macro was Guinness (if you consider that a non-macro). Such is my opinion of regular Guinness (as opposed to Extra Stout), that I nostalgically went for Rolling Rock instead.

(To their credit, the bar did have Widmer on tap.)

8 comments:

The Beer Nut said...

Under what possible criteria would Guinness be classed as a non-macro?

Jeff Alworth said...

When I commented on Guinness, I wondered if you would have a response (the Beer Nut is our Irish correspondent and a critic of the nation's dominant brewery). It's obviously macro, but as an import occupies a different status than Bud Light. Also, it was the only offering that wasn't a light lager.

dr wort said...

Rolling Rock? For your readers info, Rolling Rock used to be used for Beer Evaluation studies. It was a great example of a beer with Acetaldehyde.

Didn't have much other reason to drink the stuff other than a prime example of a brewing off-flavor flaw.

Once again, according to John Palmer's 'How to brew:"

"Acetaldehyde - A flavor of green apples or freshly cut pumpkin; it is an intermediate compound in the formation of alcohol. Some yeast strains produce more than others, but generally it's presence indicates that the beer is too young and needs more time to condition."

The Beer Nut said...

Predictable, ain't I?

I think it's a very dangerous game to go ascribing some level of quality cred to a beer simply because it (or the brand) came from a long way away. Heineken and Stella are not better (or less macro) than Bud or Coors, however you slice it or wherever you're standing.

I have a serious nostalgia thing with Rolling Rock too. I drank it as a teenager, and then years later in Hungary where a local brewery made it and put it in bomber-sized bottles. Yum!

MicMac said...

Never mind the problem over the Guinness, I'm still trying to work out why you'd take Rolling Rock over Widmer?

(& no, I'm not stalking you BeerNut, though a stalker would say that wouldn't he?)

Jeff Alworth said...

Beer Nut,

I ascribe no cred to Guinness. However, I think you have a blind spot with regard to American beer (which, no doubt, we have toward Irish beer). There is a pretty bright line separating styles of beer in the US. 96% of the beer sold here is fizzy yellow water. Ninety-six percent. When I say "macro," most Americans take my meaning--it's less to do with barrels sold than style.

In large parts of the country, the only beer available is that yellow fizzy crap. To appease the "probably effete wine-drinking" set, pubs will occasionally offer an alternative in the import/specialty/craft category, and Guinness very often occupies that slot--as it does at the Boise Red Lion. It is in this context that I describe it as "non-macro." Shorthand, but you are perhaps the only reader who would take issue with it. (About which I am pleased--I love it when cultural mores are examined by people outside them.)

Doc, no acetaldehyde in the RR. Not surprising, given that it's now brewed by a Belgian concern. (God, I'll never tire of that joke.)

MicMac, the Widmer was only on draft, and I wanted to take a couple bottles up to the room and watch SportsCenter.

The Beer Nut said...

"Most Americans", eh? Looks like some of your posts have sneaked out onto the "world wide" web where other people get to see them. Maybe check your firewall settings :P

This is clearly a linguistic thing more than a beer thing. Fortunately I'm well versed in spraffing inconsequentially about that too.

And I think it's a huge error to draw that equation between shitty American light lager and macro beer. It creates a market where your unscrupulous pub owners can put on a Guinness or Newkie Brown tap and say a) it's not fizzy piss, and therefore b) non-macro and c) high-quality: while a is true, b and c are demonstrably false to anyone with a tongue in their head. And then you end up drinking Rolling Rock because there's nothing better.

As an aside, the catch-all terminology also denigrates perfectly good macro beer, like Hoegaarden and Fuller's ESB, f'rinstance.

dr wort said...

@ Jeff

Noted. Acetaldehyde problem has been fixed some years ago, but was highly prevalent for many years. Also had problems with DMS.

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