Editor’s Note: Malted Madness is a celebration of America’s craft beer. But what about the rest? Brandon Chuang feels… strongly about the everyman beer. We haven’t forgotten the good ole standbys either, so we let him vent.
By now, just a few short days into Malted Madness, you’ve taken in about as much as you can when it comes to beer. You’ve studied the bracket — our curated list of 64 of the best craft beers in the country — and you’re drunk with emotion. Why isn’t my beer in the tournament? How could that beer make it past the first round? Nothing brings out our passions more than competition, and nothing clouds our judgment more than the wants and desires of our own hearts. And in this boozy, passion-soaked attempt to find the best of the best, we’ve forgotten what “the best” truly means.
We’ve begun a coronation while the king still lives.
Budweiser is the king of beers. If you don’t believe me, check my source: any one of the gazillion bottles currently sitting in refrigerators, forgotten coolers and iced-down trashcans all across the world. It says it right there in scripty font: KING OF BEERS. Don’t worry, I know what you’re going to say. “But Brandon, Miller High Life has the words ‘The Champagne of Beers’ on its bottles, and that stuff tastes like shit”. To you I say two things: 1.) Do you actually like the taste of champagne? Be honest, do you, or are you just drinking it to seem fancy and/or because it’s free at weddings? 2.) If you do like champagne, I can guarantee you that what you’re sipping on costs more than $12.48 for a 30-pack.
So why is it that there’s so much hate for Budweiser? Is it because it’s what you liked when you were a kid? That description is also apropos for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and nobody thinks that those heroes in a half-shell are lame. Is it because you’ve grown older and more sophisticated? If so, I’ll refer you to my last statement regarding the awesomeness of Leo and crew.
Those fireworks you set off every July 4th are from China, G.I. Joe. That doesn’t seem to rain on anyone’s parade while they’re celebrating the good ol’ U. S. of A.
Budweiser has been around since 1876. It’s made it through not one, but two, world wars, not to mention the Jaden Smith reboot of The Karate Kid. Even Prohibition couldn’t stop Budweiser. In fact, not only did Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Budweiser, survive by ingenuously manufacturing products such as non-alcoholic malted beverages and brewer’s yeast, they thrived. And if the guides on the company’s brewery tour are to be believed, once Franklin Roosevelt lifted the ban on beer, Budweiser immediately sent its Clydesdales straight from St. Louis to the White House to deliver the first case of legal, post-Prohibition beer to the President.
Budweiser is the king of all beers because Budweiser is America. It’s inventive. Not only was it the first beer to be pasteurized, thereby ensuring that your beer is fresher, longer, it was also the first beer to come out in metal cans. And while I have no way of proving this, it’s also the only beer I know of that has an awesome stars and stripes patriotic can design. Some may argue that the nationalistic pride one has while drinking Budweiser was lost when it was bought out by overseas company, InBev, in 2009. That argument is completely idiotic. Ever think about those fireworks you’re setting off every 4th of July? Those are from China, G.I. Joe, and that doesn’t seem to rain on anyone’s parade while they’re celebrating the good ol’ U S of A.
Sure, it has a 1.41 rating on RateBeer, and yes it received a 56 (poor) from the snobby public of BeerAdvocate, but look closer. The founders of BeerAdvocate, appropriately titled “The Bros”, rate Budweiser an 80 (good). And in the sea of hyper-complexity that surrounds craft beers, sometimes good is great.
Your beer has four different kinds of barley? Fantastic. It uses a yeast culture that was illegally smuggled into the country by Belgian monks? Wow. You know what you read if you look at the ingredients list for Budweiser?
Not “Cascade hops” or “Willamette hops” or any of the other weird types of hops that none of us actually know anything about. Just hops.
Once FDR lifted the ban on beer, Budweiser immediately sent its Clydesdales straight from St. Louis to the White House to deliver the first case of legal, post-Prohibition beer to the President.
If there’s one thing that Budweiser knows, and that many of us craft-crazed drinkers forget, it’s that beer is made for consumption. You sit there, sipping down your nose on a bourbon-barrel–aged something or other, waxing poetic about chocolaty notes and elderflower undertones as you scoff at the red and white can in another man’s hand. If this were a Lifetime movie, Budweiser would’ve already plotted some clever and dastardly way to end you for the way you’ve treated it over the years. Instead, Bud sits in the corner and waits patiently for your time of need, a silent hero in the background of your life.
It’s been this way since you were a kid, letting you sneak your first pull from its can on the kitchen counter when your dad went to the bathroom. It was there for you in high school and college, before people around you started wearing non-prescription glasses and told you that craft was the only way to go. And while you may think that you’ve gone all legit now in your beer-drinking ways, Budweiser is still there for you today.
When you’re at a bar that’s fifteen deep, and the bartender — whose attention you’ve been trying to grab for the last twenty minutes — finally points at you with an impatient look, what are you going to do? Ask what locals they have on tap? Inquire about the ABV levels of their double IPAs? No, you’re going to stand there and look that bartender straight in the eyes. And with the clarity and confidence that can only come with countless repetition, you’re going to say four words that you never realized felt so good, so comforting:
I’ll take a Bud.