Several months ago, I took part in a judging competition for a local craft beer festival. As often occurs at such ceremonies, we began the day by tasting a calibration beer -- one brew, given to every judge, that helps beer-tasters adjust their scoring so it's in line with everyone else in the room. The beer was poured was translucent and golden, with a fluffy head of pure white. Its flavor was crisp, with a soft grain flavor and a touch of corn-like sweetness. Pretty tasty, we all agreed.
Each judge's score was collected and the beer was given an average score of 40 out of 50 -- an excellent rating for any brew. Then the mysterious beer was revealed.
It was Budweiser.
I bring this up because Bud and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, have been much discussed in craft beer circles these past few nights. The debate stems from a Facebook post Oregon-based 10 Barrel Brewing Co. made Wednesday announcing that the brewery would be sold to Anheuser Busch. Beer nerds promptly lost their minds:
"This is an absolute tragedy. Seriously so bummed. Boooooo"
"wow, another company sells their soul to the devil."
"aww man i loved yalls beer now i know those guys are going to make it taste like crap somehow"
"At least you could have had the decency to SELL OUT to an American company."
"Fuck Budweiser and fuck 10 barrel the god damned sell outs." *
If you're not familiar with 10 Barrel, that's okay. The brewery's located in Bend, Oregon and only distributes its products in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Vermont. But the reaction to its purchase by AB InBev is nationwide. It's similar to the feedback New York's Blue Point Brewing Co. received from fans when it sold to AB in February, and nearly identical to the backlash directed at Chicago craft brewery Goose Island when AB bought it in 2011. Were the Belgian-Brazilian brewing giant to purchase an Arizona-based brewery -- Four Peaks, SanTan or Lumberyard, for instance -- I daresay we'd be seeing the same nastiness on their Facebook pages. Why?More »