I try to keep my criticisms of beer coverage by the mainstream media civil, especially since at times I’m one of them. But an article posted yesterday on MSNBC, Will You Drink Beer In A Box?, is so completely riddled with error and ridiculousness that the gloves are off. Author James Dlugosch may know stocks and the world of finance, but when it comes to beer, he’s an unmitigated idiot.
First of all, the premise of his article, taken from a Wall Street Journal article, is that Molson Coors, actually MillerCoors but I’ll try not to nitpick, is testing beer in a box, which he finds as distasteful as box wine. Which is all well and good, but it’s not in a box at all. It’s a small keg that fits in your refrigerator, similar to the mini-kegs the Germans have been selling for decades. See below. You can also see another view of it from the front at Gizmodo. The keg itself is in a cardboard box, presumably for easier carrying, but the beer is in a container no different than any other keg or can of beer. It’s like saying that since a six-pack of bottles are packaged in a cardboard six-pack carrier that the beer is in cardboard, too. What a maroon.
But it gets better. The reason he’s so opposed to a box has less to do with the container and more to do with his own twisted sense of how things ought to be. Here’s how he sees it:
Now, with beer, the box might be less objectionable since, in my opinion, the quality issue is not really in play. Despite what the microbrewers will tell you, all beer is pretty much the same. Consumers who pay a premium do so more for the experience than the taste.
So apparently an Old Rasputin Imperial Stout is exactly, excuse me, pretty much the same as Miller Lite. In the words of Bill Cosby channeling Noah. “Right ….” At this point, I almost feel sorry for him. Imagine having so little understanding or familiarity with taste and smell or such an underdeveloped palate that you could write those words and, presumably, believe them. It’s not that beer tastes differently, it’s just that we experience them differently. “Right …” Well that will certainly make judging at GABF this year considerably easier since we can just pile them all together instead of having to sit for hours with 78 different style categories and countless sub-categories, each pretending to have their own unique taste profile. Not that there’s much danger of this, but I sure hope I don’t get invited to the White House for a beer summit with this knucklehead.
But as ridiculous as that statement was, wait, this one’s even better:
But for me, the issue is the bottle. I like drinking my suds from a cold bottle. Period.
Put it in a glass, and the experience just isn’t the same.
Wow. I’ve found my complete opposite. I won’t drink beer in a bottle or can, but insist on a glass. I’m frankly quite glad the experience isn’t the same, how could it be? Beer in a glass is so much better that I’m continually amazed that people really will drink directly from a bottle or can and now here’s someone who only does what I find abhorrent and refuse to do. Of course, I do this for a reason. Much of beer’s aroma, an integral component of its overall taste, is locked in the bottle and is released through the head when it’s poured into a glass. That’s not just my opinion, but is backed up by at least a century of scientific research, not to mention the experience of billions throughout history. It also releases excess carbon dioxide and makes your beer much less gassy and filling, too. Then, of course, there’s the pleasure of enjoying a beer from its proper glass, all lost on Dlugosch.
Naturally, Dlugosch is entitled to his opinion but I’m so weary of such ignorance being passed off as expertise. His opinion is obviously the by-product of living in a society that has commodified beer as one thing, interchangeable but for brand names differentiated by marketing and advertising. And, but for a few exceptions, his statement about beer being pretty much the same might have been correct 35-40 years ago, at least with regard to American beer. But saying so today, with over 1500 breweries making craft beer in a myriad of styles and unique compositions, makes Dlugosch a doofus. Period.
I’m glad the gloves came off. Heresy!
I laughed out loud reading through this post.
Ha! Great post. I’m amazed they give column space to these kinds of ill-prepared writers in a reputable national publication like WSJ.
“I like drinking my suds from a cold bottle. Period.”
Are you kidding me? I wonder what his response would be if you asked him if he’d consider doing the same with wine…
The Chadd says
So, if I gave you a triangle taste test of Old Rasputin and Miller lite, you would be able to identify the different beer? Come on! 🙂
The ignorance doesn’t bother me as much as the authoritative tone. “Despite what the microbrewers will tell you”? I’d like to see the list of beers that form the basis of his claim.
Greatly summed up Jay but I think you could’ve been harder on the guy. Despite what the pundits, traders and fund managers might tell you, all stocks are the same as well. You’re just paying for the experience of watching people yell and gesture wildly before a bell is rung and the lemming are let out to graze for the night. Is it any wonder the financial markets went to crap? How can we trust this douche with “expert financial analysis” if he can’t even analyze correctly what his tongue is telling him.
Hahah! Doofus to the max!
Here’s another POV with a little more credibility:
Michael Reinhardt says
What a damned fool. Speaking of gloves being off…maybe I could punch this guy in the face some time (I’m smiling when I say this). I don’t know…is Old Rasputin triple hopped? What an offense to any intelligent beer drinker. Here is my theory on why he said what he did.
Start with his name. Dlugosch. Keep the D. Subtract the L and the G and S. Now, switch the O and U. Add and E to the end. What’s that spell? DLUGOSCH-L, G, S=DUOCH. Reverse UO=DOUCH+E= DOUCHE
California Pete says
I love free speech, and the First Amendment is by far my favorite amendment. (OK, the Twenty-First is actually a close second.) But I’m going to nitpick your statement, Jay, that “Dlugosch is entitled to his opinion”. The notion that everyone is entitled to their opinion rests on the assumption that those opinions rest on even just the slightest shreds of reality. Going out on an intellectual limb is fine. Clinging to a minority point of view is welcome. But, as you point out Jay, Dlugosch’s ignorance is so severe that it belongs in the same trash heap that is home to flat-Earthers and Holocaust-deniers. This isn’t opinion, it’s just garbage. Shame on you, MSNBC, for allowing this to appear in (Inter-)print.
A little tear in my eye . . . that was beautifully said. He should apologize to those people who read his article and passed the information along as if it were fact.
Not sure if you saw this but he posted an “apology”
I’m not sure what was more insulting and appalling…the general tone of the original blog, or the implications by the commentors that his opinions that all beer tastes the same are what “a women would think”.
I’m a home brewer and a fan of craft beer, and to see that sort of ignorance is disturbing.
homebrew hacker says
While the phrase ‘all beer tastes the same’ is logically incorrect, there’s something to the sentiment. Everybody and their mother has an IPA out now. Everybody has an imperial stout (OK not miller, but most craft breweries). The fact is that it’s just barley, hops, yeast, and water. You’ll get some differing flavors, but really do we need another brewery putting together those ingredients and calling it “Hades Stepping Stones Stout” and everybody rushing out to try it so they can yell “First!” on some message board?
I’m all for beer, but I think at this point the winners will be the ones who innovate on consumer issues (ie mostly price at the register).
Jay Brooks says
I’m not sure I understand your point of view at all. I don’t think there’s anything to the sentiment. Yes “[e]verybody and their mother has an IPA” but they’re not all the same IPA, but each individual’s take on the style, using slightly different ingredients, or combination of ingredients and using their own process.” In theory, no two of those IPAs are exactly the same. If they taste the same to you, that’s actually a problem on your end, because they don’t don’t taste the same to me, or to thousands of other people, too. I don’t know about the “rushing out to try it so they can yell “First!” on some message board” part but as for the rest, yes, we do need “another brewery putting together those ingredients.” That’s what keeps it exciting. There is no one right way to make any beer. To presume that it’s all been done to death and there’s nothing new under the sun, as you seem to suggest, seems ignorant at best and I won’t even go into the other implications at worst.
But perhaps worst that that, if you think finding ways to make beer cheaper (or as you euphemistically call it, “consumer issues”) is any way an innovation, then all I can do is shake my head, and feel sorry for you. Ah, well.