Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Prost to that!


It's become fashionable in American beer-geek circles to talk about the dire state of beer in Germany. The story is usually based on this fact: Germans are drinking less beer, about 101 liters per capita last year, down from more than 130 liters in the mid-1990s.

The story usually then leaps to questionable assumptions about why this is happening. Chief among these: German beers have become boring because the big six Bavarian beer producers make exactly the same beers. A conclusion is arrived at: What Germany really needs to regain its former glory is some gosh-darn, rootin' tootin' American innovation - namely in the form of American-style craft brews.

Call me an unrepentant Europhile, but I get a little uneasy when I hear Americans talk about how our innovations can save the world's oldest beer culture. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Coors' "cold-activated can" also a so-called American "innovation"? And let's be clear about beer consumption: The United States consumes a little over 80 liters per capita. Even with the decline, Germans are still drinking significantly more beer than we do. Until I walk into the average bar and see everyone drinking barleywine or barrel-aged sour beers rather than Bud Light or PBR, I suggest we should be a little more humble when it comes to commenting on other established beer cultures.

Heh. People who drink Goat Piss shouldn't throw (kidney?) stones!


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