Monday, November 11, 2013

Beer # 591 & 592 (or "Extolling The Virtues Of Cheap Beer")

Your average American doesn't give two shits about "flavor profiles" or IBUs. There's no time for complexities or tasting notes.  Did someone just use the word "mouthfeel" to describe a beer?  What are they?  Commies?  Al Qaeda?  Fans of "Glee"?
As Americans, we want our beer cold, we want our beer easy to drink, and we want our beer now!
Am I right, or am I right?

My stepfather loves everyday, good ol' easy drinkin' beer.  I don't blame him.  He was a firefighter and worked his ass off dealing with untold horrible situations.  Now in retirement, all he wants is peace and quiet and easy living, and he has earned it.  He & my mother came down to visit last month, and left behind a few things in the fridge when they headed back home.

So now it's Sunday afternoon.  Game Day.  And I "went there":
ANHEUSER-BUSCH NATURAL LIGHT - Beer # 591 in my Big Year.

For as much as I love being a beer nerd / elitist, there's something strangely comforting about Natural Light.
This beer smells exactly like the first whiff of a tavern when you walk in the door.  The scent of being "home".  Now I understand how Cliff Clavin feels.
This beer says you're going to have a damn good time.
This beer says the work week is over.
This beer says it's time to get blasted and stare at the bartender's jugs.
This is the beer for sports and live music.
Natural Light does exactly what you want it to do:  Keep life uncomplicated.

Following a lazy afternoon of football, I headed out for the evening to see many friends, new and old, playing noisy hardcore punk at a rented hall in Baldwin Park.  There was a small bar in the corner of the room, run by a harried, mildly-confused 60 year old woman, who clearly wasn't prepared for the impatient throngs of thirsty punkers eager to get their buzz on.  I joined the throngs, which brings us to ANHEUSER-BUSCH BUD LIGHT - Beer # 592 in my Big Year.

Much like sports fans want to get hammered, hang out with friends, and yell at the TV, all of my hardcore music brethren want the same... get drunk, shove people around to loud music, and scream along with the songs. Different demographic, same goals.
It was an amazing, high-charged evening.  The local openers all killed it... Cave State, Fissure, and ACxDC.  Two bands from Japan dominated the evening:  Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation (greatest band name of all time) and Slight Slappers.  Capitalist Casualties headlined the show and completely leveled the room.  Couldn't have been better, and the 400 kids in attendance agreed.

Oh, and the Bud Light?  It tastes exactly like Natural Light.  They probably fill all of the different cans with the same beer.  And would it really matter if they did?

The biggest drawback about cheap beers like this is I can't drink them forever.  Whenever I drink cheap beer all day, I feel like crap all night.  There's something about good quality beer that keeps me going.  Is it "healthier"?  Maybe an argument could be made that small batch beers contain ingredients of a higher purity, and thus, don't make me feel as lousy as cheap beer.  Or maybe I'm just making it up in order to justify my fancy beer addiction.

As for Natural Light and Bud Light, yes, they're watery, lifeless lagers, but I simply enjoyed them for what they are.  Anyone reading this blog regularly is already into beer snobbery, and I know we all share a collective smirk with a condescending chuckle whenever we see Bud.  But there's also value in taking that stick out of your ass every once in a while to just drink whatever is in arm's reach and have a good time with your friends.

Straight forward beer.  Straight forward hardcore punk.  A match made in heaven.
Capitalist Casualties are old comrades of mine from Northern California who I've known since the '80s. I remember they used to exist solely on cheap cases of Schaefer beer.  They've always stayed true to their punishing, blazing fast, hardcore roots.  They deliver the goods fast and mean, and somehow manage to keep their machine gun delivery catchy and memorable as well.  Plenty of hooks and sing-alongs, and tons of pissed-off riffing that makes you grit your teeth, bang your head, and pound another brew.

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