On my way to adulthood, like so many, I ran into a snag with a certain alcoholic beverage. This snag--mostly involving an eighteen year old blacking out in the city of Ann Arbor--combined with stupidity of youth with the mildly alcoholic presence of beer. And not just any beer! It was the most bland, commonplace, and trite beer of them all: Miller Lite. My run in with this run-of-the-miller, tried and true and overdone brewing recipe left me with a gag reflex that, from eighteen to nearly twenty-five, left me dry heaving the moment I could smell an American Lager--light or otherwise.
However, time does go by; I got over my gagging issue, and I have, in recent days, been introduced to the world of craft brewing. It is just added irony that one of my favorite "craft" brewing companies are owned by the Miller-Coors conglomerate--a company only slightly less evil than the beverage giant In-Bev, who owns everything else essentially. Blue Moon is that one; and Bell's would have to be my current favorite independent. Though, Atwater, and New Holland. However, I--being the Michigander that I am--have a love for so many of "The Craft State" local breweries.
Yet, somehow the prominence of Michigan's in-state brewing industry does not translate when I actually go shopping for a brew. A quick run down for anyone who does not go to Meijer or Kroger in the same parts of Southeast Michigan that I do: there is one aisle only partially dedicated to beer. Mixed in is usually Mike's Hard beverages and cocktail mixers. Of the cooler and warm shelves, spanning roughly sixty feet long--I'm guessing--there is, maybe, ten feet of craft beer. That doesn't sound too bad, right? Here's the kicker: most of it is out of season or, worse yet, they never stock the seasonal beers to begin with.
The beer that got me into beer was a seasonal beer: Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale. I live for seasonal brewing. And all I have to say is: Come on, Meijer! Yeah, I know that area that I live is not the most sophisticated, but why can I not get fall beer in the fall and spring beers in the summer? Oh, sure, I see a summer beer, now. It's freaking December! And where is all of your Sam Adam's? Oh you have the Boston lager out and Sam Light? Great! Where is the Alpine Spring or the Old Fezziwig?
What are you so mad about? says my Meijer. You can always buy any one of our Budweiser beers. They take up half the aisle!
No, Meijer, I don't think I will. I don't think that I will.
Above are links to the company websites and wiki sites. Also, under "Craft State" is a good article with interviews from the Founders Brewing Company's...well, Founders. It's all worth reading and informative, especially if you are out of state and don't have a craft beer culture like Michigan's.
That's all for for now, from Elliott at the Kitchen Table, drinking Bell's Winter White Ale with a cold cut sandwich.