Arizona’s Favorite Beer Is Not What You Think

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I enjoy beer. It’s basically a cliche at this point; if you’re a writer, you drink (you may also smoke, although I don’t). If you looked at my desk right now, the evidence would confirm everything you suspected. It might also tell you that I desperately need to clean my desk.

I pride myself on being a bit of a beer snob. At a bar, the minimum I’ll settle for is a craft beer. I drink local and regional microbrews with a fierce passion. I can tell you that my favorite region of beer is the Pacific Northwest, although Arizona does have some excellent options and my very favorite beer in the world comes from San Diego.

If you had asked me what the most popular beers were by state, I would have described the Northwest as being into craft beers. Maybe some of the more affluent regions of the Northeast. But the Southwest? Good ol’ Arizona with its cowboy hats, Wild West-esque love of guns, and its proximity to Mexico? Bud Light, maybe. Possibly Corona, if the Mexico angle is played up enough. Certainly nothing more exotic than that, though.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I read this map of the most popular beers by state. From the article: “America has a new king of beers – and it’s Blue Moon.”

Bud Light still has a strong grip on the Midwest, which isn’t surprising. I’m still surprised to see a Belgian-style witbier like Blue Moon is popular with my home state. Blue Moon still has a reputation as a craft beer, even if that reputation is the subject of controversy and disagreement among more elite beer aficionados.

I’m really curious to find out what prompted the shift away from a staple like Bud Light. Is it the taste? Is it a sign of a cultural shift away from “good ol’ ‘merica?” Is it becoming cool to be elite again? I certainly hope so. I like to think that beers like Blue Moon are the gateway beers; gateways to appreciation of excellent microbrew and craft options.

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