I'm a lucky man, for most often my wallet and taste buds agree. With beer, my alcoholic vice of choice, the pair decides in favor of the cheap stuff.
There's never been a miserly joy like the fool's gold hue and feeble head of a $2 tallboy cracked open at an arctic temperature. Plus, a dollar tip on a $2 beer is a big-ass tip, percentage-wise. Someday, that's the type of logic that will make me a good dad.
At the opposite end of the taste/price matrix, though, there lies craft beer. In 1979, in the most important amendment in alcohol law since Prohibition, Jimmy Carter deregulated the beer industry, opening up the marketplace for microbreweries. The field maintained steady growth until the new millennium, when demand and ABVs skyrocketed. According to the Brewers Association, craft beer had an economic impact of $2.05 billion in Florida last year.
I'm no craft prohibitionist – arguing against a multibillion-dollar business is op-ed suicide. However, these small, seasonal batches with quippy names and gorgeous cans have been riding the hype for too long. A couple of years ago, I decided to quit purchasing fancy beers because I was sick of this low-stakes game of Russian Roulette with my taste buds. Rarely could the dense flavors compensate for the sticker price, so my wallet told my brain to shut it down.
I don't care about unique coriander tones – the smell that I associate with craft beer is a roommate's home-brewing efforts that harassed the kitchen with the yeasty aroma of a YMCA locker room. I don't want to talk about beer. Surely, there are more compelling topics of conversation. Like my choice of bicycle, I'm in it for the utility: something fast, cheap and mass-produced. Something that's not a talking point as much as a vehicle to a destination.
Give me a Mexican beer, a cold, salty and beautiful thing. Even among this genre, I favor the cheap stuff. Lime is the great equalizer of Mexican beers – drench that Carta Blanca or Tecate in citrus and it can Pepsi-challenge against a Pacifico any day of the week.
I don't need your growlers and flavor profiles and small-batch double IPAs and those little Jell-O shot cups to sample beer in. Sampling? This is a bar, not a supermarket bread aisle. So enjoy your craft festivals and $5 beers, nerds. I'll be in the basement pounding cans of High Life with your dad, making up words to Steely Dan songs and mispronouncing athletes' names while yelling at the TV.
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