Talking About Beer!

Let’s have a hipster-y post about beer, shall we? I saw a list today on the Concourse of the 18 most overrated beers. Here’s the list, devoid of the original author’s comments. If you want to know why the author chose these beers, you’ll have to follow the link:

  1. Miller High Life
  2. Blue Moon
  3. Killian’s Red
  4. Heineken
  5. Yuengling
  6. Corona
  7. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
  8. Heady Topper
  9. Stella Artois
  10. Bass Ale
  11. Magic Hat 9
  12. Your local brewery’s flagship
  13. North Coast Old Rasputin
  14. Anchor Steam
  15. Rolling Rock
  16. Red Stripe
  17. Moosehead
  18. Shiner Bock

My thoughts? Who the hell is out there drinking Miller High Life and declaring that it’s a “good beer?” Are there people that do that? Seriously? I’ve never once heard someone declare their sophistication for Miller High Life; at best, I’ve heard its praises as “it’s cold” and “I don’t know, I just like it.”

Blue Moon is trading on the craft beer thing even though it’s really not a craft beer. Of all the beers on this list, this is the only one that I’ll drink, always because I’m at the kind of place where my choice is Blue Moon or Bud Light.

I hate Killian’s Red, perhaps moreso than any other beer on this list. Most of that hatred comes from the fact that red ale is my favorite style to drink, so my standards are correspondingly higher. If the choice is between Killian’s Red and warm tap water, I’ll take the tap water.

My experiences with Heinekein tend to be limited to smiling smugly to myself when I see people who like them.

My father likes Yuengling. I have no opinion on it either way.

Corona isn’t very good, but since I live in the Southwest, there’s something that’s cultural about drinking it around here.

I have no opinions on 7 through 15. I either haven’t tried or haven’t heard of these beers. I have no idea about my local brewery’s flagship beer; maybe the one I order is their flagship? I’ve never asked.

I drank Red Stripe once and hated it.

No opinion on Moosehead. I tried Shiner Bock once; didn’t really care for it, but also didn’t hate it. So, meh.

What are my favorite beers (none of which made it to this list?) I’m happy to tell you!

Matt’s Favorite Beers

  1. Full Sail Amber Ale
  2. Jeremiah Red Ale
  3. Kiltlifter Scottish Ale
  4. Grand Canyon Amber Ale
  5. Bud Light Lime

Number five on my list is a troll pick, just to see if you’re paying attention. My actual number five would be Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

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.

Travelogue: Live From Sky Harbor

I’ve flown for twenty minutes and I’m already writing my first travelogue. God, I’m such a nerd.

There aren’t a lot of things to do while waiting for one’s next flight. One can read, of course, and you can be certain that I brought an ample supply of literary material to keep my mind so occupied. One can also drink beer, which is something I’m doing right now; this may well be my final Kiltlifter until I return to the western United States next week. I’m not certain this fine brew has made it all the way back to the east. In fact, I’m not sure if any of my favorite brews are known to the people of my ancestral land. I’ll have to investigate while I’m there.

What else can one do while waiting for your next flight? One can blog, which is what I’m doing! The WiFi is fairly shoddy, though, so there is a very curious time-delay between what I type and what appears on the screen. It’s unfortunate when I notice a typo, because the text tends to keep scrolling for several more seconds until I can arrow back to correct myself.

I started my travels in Tucson little more than an hour ago. My first flight brought me to Phoenix, which I noted was slightly ironic given how excited I was to fly out of Tucson . . . right into Phoenix, which where I always fly. All roads lead to the Shy Harbor, it seems.

It’s going to be a long night for me. My next leg will take me into Philadelphia, which is an airport I’ve never seen before. I worry that they won’t have any of my favorite beers. I’ll probably have to drink some strange Pennsylvanian beers. I wonder what that’s going to be like.

It’s funny, because as much as I’ve grumbled to myself and my coworkers this week about the amount of layover I’m going to have (almost as much layover as actual travel time!), the truth is, I’m really enjoying myself. Aside from my horrific experience last year, I really enjoy traveling. I like the flow and the feel of it. I like people watching. I like drinking in strange airports and typing on my little laptop and thinking about the world.

I also really enjoy red eye flights. Seriously, the plane from Tucson to Phoenix was less than a third full. When the captain told us he needed several people to move to the back of the plane to “balance things out,” rather than worry about the fact that planes can apparently become unbalanced, I leaped to my feet and proceeded to back of the plane to secure my very own emergency exit row. As I explained to the guy behind me, I really enjoy the extra leg room . . . and if the plane did go down, I could totally be a minor hero by valiantly opening the emergency exit and ushering my fellow humans to safety.

The only downside to this experience was that I’m now completely spoiled for the rest of the trip. I doubt I’ll be lucky enough to get my own row again, but we wants it, precious, we wants it. Ahem.

What else can I tell you? Not much; it’s incredibly weird to be on a flight that lasts only 2o minutes. I kept looking out of the window trying to figure out which Tucson streets we were flying over only to realize that we were already over Phoenix and preparing for landing. That was strange!

In my opinion, all flights should be twenty minutes long and allow you to have your own row. This would make flying an optimal experience.

That’s probably what it feels like for rich people when they fly. I think I would like to be rich someday. I may or may not blog again when I arrive in Philadelphia. We shall see!