Daniel Davies stakes out a controversial position at Crooked Timber:
I tend to regard myself as Crooked Timber’s online myrmidon of a number of rather unpopular views; among other things, as regular readers will have seen, I believe that the incitement to religious hatred legislation was a good idea (perhaps badly executed), that John Searle has it more or less correct on the subject of artificial intelligence, that Jacques Derrida deserves his high reputation and that George Orwell was not even in the top three essayists of the twentieth century. I’m a fan of Welsh nationalism. Oh yes, the Kosovo intervention was a crock too. At some subconscious level I am aware that my ideas about education are both idiotic and unspeakable. But I think that all of these causes are regarded as at least borderline sane by at least one fellow CT contributor. There is only one major issue on which I stand completely alone, reviled by all. And it’s this; Budweiser (by which I mean the real Budweiser, the beer which has been sold under that brand by Anheuser-Busch since 1876) is really quite a good beer.
He follows this up with a good deal of historical evidence, and a dizzying series of cascading footnotes, which makes for an entertaining read. As for his actual views about beer? Well, he’s probably right, to a point.
He’s right, in that Budweiser is a perfectly competently made American-style light lager. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, as that sort of beer goes.
I just don’t particularly care for that sort of beer in general. I’m not much of a fan of the German and Czech pilsners that Bud is held to be an inferior imitation of. Pilsner Urquell has a somewhat better flavor than Budweiser, to be sure, but is it really worth three times the price? I don’t think so. If I’m going to pay premium beer prices, I’m going to buy pale ale, which is just better beer.
Which is not to say that there isn’t a place for light lagers. There are a whole bunch of international beers in that basic style that go well with the foods of their respective countries– Kingfisher with Indian food, Tsin Tao with Chinese, Sapporo with Japanese. And if you’re planning to drink a whole lot of beer out in the sun, Bud’s as good a choice as any.
Hell, there’s even a time and a place for Coors Light, which is “On a golf course on a hot summer day, when the beer is just barely above freezing.” That’s because it’s a terrible idea to drink alcohol if you’re going to be out walking around in the hot sun, so you might as well get a beer that’s mostly water.
But, really, if I’m only going to have a couple of beers, there are much more interesting choices than Budweiser. My widely available default order in restaurants is Bass Pale Ale, but at home, my recent beer of choice has been Red Seal Ale from California’s North Coast Brewing, which has a good flavor without being too heavy. Lagunitas Red Ale, also from California, is another good choice, though it has a bit too much carbonation. My other recent purchase was a sixpack of O’Hara’s Irish Red, which is also quite good.
If you must have lighter beer, which sometimes you must, when the weather gets hot, I tend to buy either Flying Dog’s Tire Biter Golden Ale or Old Speckled Hen, from some British brewery I can’t be bothered to look up. They’re both on the lighter side, without being bland.
This reminds me, I really need to make a beer run today…