The Legend of Wooley Swamp

What ever happened to nuance? Jabberwocky is being spewed up by the left and right as they try to drag us into their Wonderlands. This blog charts a path out of this swamp of simple truths and false certainties. And from time to time, it'll be a place for more light-hearted musings.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

World Cup Beers: Get Over It Already!

Since the week is young, the Swamp offers the first installment in a new series:

Brewy Mondays

This is prompted by an article in the Times of London. It reports on what some see as blasphemy: Budweiser, one of the main sponsors of the World Cup is actually going to be given near-monopoly rights when it comes to sales of….yes, beers in the stadiums. Hello? Is this news?

Roger Boyes writes:

“The Germans are furious that Budweiser will be the official tipple for the soccer World Cup. The American lager has secured a near-monopoly of beer sales inside World Cup stadiums and within a 500m radius of the grounds, supplanting more than 1270 domestic breweries. And what most upsets the fans is that Budweiser - advertised as the "King of Beers" in the US - fails to meet the ancient German standards for purity, which stipulate that beer can be brewed only from malt, hops and water.
Budweiser uses rice in its production process and therefore fails to qualify as a beer in the German sense. Budweiser's World Cup status is a slap in the face for a country that attaches such importance to beer production. When Germany was a patchwork of principalities and duchies, a sponsored brewery was seen as the stamp of independence. "Most pubs don't even stock it," groaned Walter Konig, of the Bavarian Breweries Association. "Bavarian beer should be available in a Bavarian stadium - Munich - for the first kick-off.”
Click here to read the entire brouhaha

Immigrant Merchant of Impure Brews?

Furious? Asleep for the past few years is more like it. Crikey, a German immigrant to the U.S. (that's him, Adolphus Busch, to the right) founded Budweiser. Be proud if anything - or at least accept a share of the blame. Tastes change, palates adapt, new recipes develop. Ask someone from Szechuan what they think of Kung Pao Chicken made in Berlin. Or a Stockholmer about the meatballs served up at IKEA in Vancouver. Actually, they are kind of tasty.... 'tis all so relative.

Look, I love beer and consider myself a happy amateur when it comes to the art of sniffing out and quaffing a good brew. But this saga is more than a little ridiculous. Every German city has countless stores that sell gallons of good beer that you can then drink in public spaces - as long as you behave - so I really see no cause for concern. Especially when it's really feigned outrage at this late hour in the day. The World Cup starts in less than three weeks.

Yesterday, I was at a baseball game with a friend and we had a couple of Miller Lites. Gasp and Yikes! What WAS I thinking? Is it my beer of choice? Number 324 on my all-time list? Not even. But it is still beer…kind of. As we watched the rekindled Washington-area rivalry play out between the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals, people seemed to be enjoying themselves. Despite the ghastly 'paint thinner' on tap. Go figure.


Da Troegenator, Brethren of Budweiser!

Later on we found a premium tap serving Blue Moon Belgian White. An American beer, one of hundreds that are just hunky dory. And if I may recommend another, I'd pick the Troegenator out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The king of doppelbocks on this side of the pond! In case you were wondering: the Troegenator is named in honor of the original German double bock, Paulaner’s Salvator – most bocks in Germany end in –ator in deference to this magic brew from Munich.

The fuss in the article surrounding the anno 1516 Bavarian Purity Law (also inaccurately called the German Purity Law – Germany came about some 350 years later) is just that: a hullabaloo. Read this article to find out why. Good beer is good beer. Bad beer is bad beer. Simple.

So get over it, leute and folks. Your crocodile tears are anything but pure. But if you’re looking for a good guide to German beer, click here. Just don’t ruin the games by whining about Budweiser (or anything else for that matter). OK?

jo, who will be enjoying other beers and probably the occasional overpriced Budweiser while supporting Tunisia!

PS Please read these L.A. Times articles on bock beer, click here and here.

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