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The American Beer Question

The American beer question, simply put — what is an “American Beer” — has been much debated in recent years, especially in the wake of InBev’s purchase of Anheuser-Busch last year. In The Daily Campus, a Connecticut student newspaper, author Tom Godwin wonders aloud in his essay The American Beer.

What exactly is an American beer? I’ve been asking myself that question a lot the last few days. Is it simply a beer that was first made in America, or is it a beer that is better when made here than anywhere else? What about an old style with a new American twist; does that make it American or simply an imitation?

It’s a question that hasn’t yet been answered with complete satisfaction, and he definitely adds some interesting thoughts to the debate. Most of all, I like that as a young man, he’s proud and supportive of American innovation. He opines that “American brewers are never satisfied with what they are doing, and that is the true ideal of beer in this country.” He gets it, unlike older writers who cling to tradition instead (but more about that in a post later today).

But it’s his conclusion that sticks with me.

American beer, just like its people, is an extreme melting pot of creativity, tradition, capitalism and an unnerving sense of complete disregard for reality. I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

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