This is my contribution to the Session. The subject is …
What … has America done to beer?‘, AKA, ‘USA versus Old World Beer Culture‘. It was chosen by Ding’s Beer Blog. Follow the links to learn more about both The Session and Ding.
The question should be ’what hasn’t America done to beers?’ I just finished reading Mr Ding’s (sounds weird, yes just trying to be respectful in my own sarcastic fashion) blog post about this subject. Now I feel ridiculous trying to fashion further thoughts.
Why try, then, right? Right. I’m just a foolish American with little culture. That’s not sarcasm. My drinking associate and I have often discussed the dearth of real history in culture in this country. However, perhaps I’m really just thinking of the western US. It’s got to be the youngest culture on earth. Right, I mean there are new countries being formed but usually it’s the same people, same culture – just new boundaries.
So I see the western US the little kid of the world. What’s it gonna do but imitate and go over the top in said imitation? Oh, your Tonka truck can hold that much dirt? Look I can bury mine!
What has that yielded? I am not the sublime cultural critic Mr Ding is. None of these points will be as salient as his or other bloggers. I do think, though, that he pointed out two quintessential American traits: irreverence and consumerism.
The irreverence has given us: Ridiculously Increased Hop Rates. Honestly, did Sierra Nevada really need to create Hoptimum? Did I really need to stand in line at a beer festival to taste it? And it also led to: Consistency and Blandness. This has been detrimental to beer culture and has already been discussed at length. For years.
I do appreciate the home brewing community, though, and its do-it-yourself attitude. Is there an “old world” equivalent? Other than the Dark Ages? I suppose home brewing hearkens back to the alewives of yestercentury. Cool. I think home brewing is a good answer to consumerism, though. Repurpose all this commercial stuff into useful brewing apparatus. Grow hops at home. I want to try some hydroponic barley gardening, myself.