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  1. #1
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    Non-american perception of American beer

    The general perception of beer drinkers from other countries seems to be that beer from the US is flavorless piss. Is this because our main beer export is Budweiser?

    Could the inverse situation be the reason that I am rarely happy with European beer?

    An Aussie friend of mine hates the "Foster's: Australian for beer" commercials for this reason, it's a crappy export and does not represent Australian beer.

    I recently chose a barstool next to a Belgian and he raved about some local Oregon beer that I personally thought was so-so.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I have a few European friends who i have talked to about this subject; and as always I think it depends on the individual.

    For example my close Italian friend said that in the clubs over there if you have a Budweiser you are a high roller, but if you are drinking heineken, then your drinking the piss. Just like in the states, if you are drinking a Stella, or heineken you are the "cool" person, if your drinking bud than you are a yank.

    I think when you start talking to beer nerds such as your Belgian guy, or people with an equal love of beer, they have the opinion that most american beer is piss. Maybe the average European foreigner still isn't fully aware of the craft boom in the U.S. as they have so many delicious options already. Not to mention most of our craft breweries; even the bigger ones like Sierra Nevada and New Belgium, still don't ship hardly anything overseas. So no wonder they think all we have is "piss" since thats all we ship them.

    IMO the majority of the beer drinking population just heads down to there local bar and drinks what they normally drink. Could be Guinness, could be Stella, could be Coors, its just what they have always had and will continue to have.

  3. #3
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    When in Mexico, the locals laugh at Americans who drink what they consider bilge water and human waste strained through sour jock straps, (Corona, Dos Equis, etc.)....those in the know only drink Sol. Mexicans also view American beer as mierda suelto.
    Last edited by TraumaARNP; 08-02-2011 at 08:04 AM.

  4. #4
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    I lived in Ireland for a while, and at the Bar you fell into two categories:
    1) You drank the local beer. (Guinness near Dublin, Kilkenny near..duh Kilkenny, and so on)
    2) You drank Budweiser at like 4 euros a pint, or god forbid a Budweiser Shandy (Bud with lemon soda and lemonade)

    Group 1 thought Group 2 where a bunch of precocious gobshites.
    Group 2 was two busy looking at each other in the bar mirror making sure their collars where popped just so.

    Both groups readily agreed that all American Beer was piss. Which I felt odd about since some of them where drinking a Bud.

    Either way the Euro perception of American beer is way hosed up.

  5. #5
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    Honestly, nationalistic beer rants are ignorant

    There is good and bad beer in nearly every country. The mass produced stuff is crappy to decent everywhere, the stuff made in smaller batches by people that care about beer is usually good to outstanding.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by thrasher_s View Post
    The general perception of beer drinkers from other countries seems to be that beer from the US is flavorless piss. Is this because our main beer export is Budweiser?
    No - it's because they are old. The US hasn't had a lot of widely available beer that is any good for very long, and Europeans tend to have a longer time horizon with which they view the world.
    If they aren't old and think US beer is flavorless piss, it's because they're not really into beer.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badmoterfinger View Post
    I lived in Ireland for a while, and at the Bar you fell into two categories:
    1) You drank the local beer. (Guinness near Dublin, Kilkenny near..duh Kilkenny, and so on)
    2) You drank Budweiser at like 4 euros a pint, or god forbid a Budweiser Shandy (Bud with lemon soda and lemonade)

    Group 1 thought Group 2 where a bunch of precocious gobshites.
    Group 2 was two busy looking at each other in the bar mirror making sure their collars where popped just so.

    Both groups readily agreed that all American Beer was piss. Which I felt odd about since some of them where drinking a Bud.

    Either way the Euro perception of American beer is way hosed up.
    When I was in Ireland last year, I was a tad surprised that Budweiser was marketed as a "premium" beer. It actually cost more than the Guinness, and many places have this elaborate frosted tap it pours from. I guess because it is considered an "import" even though they brew it locally in Kilkenny.

    The Kilkenny Red is a damn fine brew though! One of my favorites. Murphys being another.
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    As above Its an ignorant opinion based on budweiser, bud lite, etc. and the belief that American beer is lower in alcohol. Luckily it's a belief held by the ignorant and uneducated, who oddly drink bud.

  9. #9
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    Ok, so excuse this uninformed question but if the overseas perception of American beer is Bud and we are all happy to argue that our Sierra Nevadas or Sam Adamses or the craft breweries are a better representation of the state of American beers, does the same apply to our perception of European or other world beers? That is to say; is there a culture of microbrewing or craft brewing existing under our American perception of world beers?

    I've been to Australia and no one drinks Fosters but I didn't come across many small breweries. Coopers makes some really nice beers but apart from that I didn't see much other than VB or XXXX (though I wasn't able to really do much searching on the matter). So how much is hidden from overseas eyes? Or is somehow the USA the only one with such a culture of craft brewing?
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  10. #10
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    Interesting topic, my wife is a Euro, so visit family in Ireland & UK yearly . Regarding Ireland in particular: Almost all beer (american & euro) is typically brewed under license in Ireland itself, save some canned & bottled brews in supermarkets Almost across the board, beer is 4% not the 5% we are accustomed to here in US. . Lower stength % trend has alot to due with gov't regs, pub owners wanting to stay in business, super strict DWI laws. Stout's always been low 3% range, hence less money per pint

    Bud started to become popular in mid nineties, first with the younger crowd.... plus Bud's advert budget & sports sponsorship is big time, sound familiar? Coors light is popular as well.

    Most locals comment that the US beer taste isn't as bold/flavorful as the mainstream euro lager brands names: Carlsberg, Stella, Heineken, Becks.

    Personnally, if & when you find a really good pint of Guinness in Ireland, nothing beats it.. otherwise Carlsberg is in my pint glass. Stella pint cans ( 5.2%) back at the farmhouse.

  11. #11
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    A lot of Europeans don't know who our Cigar City, Russian River, or Three Floyds are for the same reasons that most Americans have no idea who Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen, Cantillon, or Girardin are.

    And there are probally alot here who have never heard of those American breweries either, it goes both ways.

    People who aren't really into learning about something will never know, people who have an intrest to learn, will know.
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  12. #12
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    When i moved from England to America 11 years ago, my mates were all joking that I would not be able to find a decent beer in America. They could not see me drinking Coors, Bud etc considering what I drank in England (mostly Bitter,ESB or English IPAs). They could not have been more wrong!

    I have drank a lot of microbrewed beer these last 11 years, most of it has been as good or better than the English beers I used to drink. There are still some English beers that I miss, but there are a few that you can get as imports. The only one I have found over here that tastes almost the same in bottles here as it did on draught in England is "Old Speckled Hen". If I see it in a beer shop, I will always buy a 6-pack along with my selection of American microbrews.

    So, what do yanks think of when they consider English beer? Warm, flat brown coloured dishwater?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BritOnTour View Post

    So, what do yanks think of when they consider English beer? Warm, flat brown coloured dishwater?
    Before I knew much about Craft beer, yes I thought that way because of typical stereotypes set in tv or the movies.

    Once I got into Craft brew I came to realize that good and bad beer can be made and had anywhere.

    Nearly 4 years ago my wife and I took a trip to Scotland. I drank guiness or smithwicks when the pubs only had big brand beers on tap, and I drank the local Craft beer at every pub that carried it and loved every min of it. I enjoyed the beer tastings and variety at the pubs as much as I enjoyed the whiskey tastings and variety.

    I could not tell you what beers I had while in Scotland, but I know they were small craft breweries, some of them local to the pubs we visited. For example we went to a small pub under a hotel near Fort William called the Clakeg (spelling??). The first night I tried 2 different beers that were both on Cask, we went back 2 days later and they already had 3 different beers on tap, the ones I had tried before were gone. That was a great experience for me. Also while on the Isle of Mull we stopped in a pub that had 3 different craft beers on tap that were from the same brewery that carried a ship captain theme.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BritOnTour View Post
    The only one I have found over here that tastes almost the same in bottles here as it did on draught in England is "Old Speckled Hen". If I see it in a beer shop, I will always buy a 6-pack along with my selection of American microbrews.

    So, what do yanks think of when they consider English beer? Warm, flat brown coloured dishwater?
    I always grab Old Speckled Hen if I see it, as well. When I think of English beer I think of beer with more traditional and bitter hops as opposed to the more fragrant ones that are so popular in many of the current US offerings. I also think of cask conditioned ales at the pub - there are a very few of those around here and I almost always enjoy them.

  15. #15
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    My good bud from New Zealand came over for a month. He's a worldly traveler.

    I told him half sarcastically and to get a rise out of him, that the US has the best beer in the world (I don't necessarily believe this, but we do make awesome beer and have perhaps the best selection of beers globally).

    He was absolutely furious about my statement, and we argued for a good portion of the night. I held my ground just to piss him off.

    By the end of his month long stay he agreed with me...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stupendous Man View Post

    The Kilkenny Red is a damn fine brew though! One of my favorites. Murphys being another.
    Yeah...I drank a lot of Kilkenny...in Kilkenny. It was Greeeaaaattttt!. I didn't get North that often where the Murphy's was real prevalent. I'll tell you what though, I had one of the best pints of Guinness in my life at the Paddy O'Shea's bar in Ventry (Dingle Peninsula) I still have a hard time with the USA version of Guinness now that I know what it should taste like.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    Ok, so excuse this uninformed question but if the overseas perception of American beer is Bud and we are all happy to argue that our Sierra Nevadas or Sam Adamses or the craft breweries are a better representation of the state of American beers, does the same apply to our perception of European or other world beers? That is to say; is there a culture of microbrewing or craft brewing existing under our American perception of world beers?

    I've been to Australia and no one drinks Fosters but I didn't come across many small breweries. Coopers makes some really nice beers but apart from that I didn't see much other than VB or XXXX (though I wasn't able to really do much searching on the matter). So how much is hidden from overseas eyes? Or is somehow the USA the only one with such a culture of craft brewing?
    I can only speak for Canada, but HUGE culture of Craft brewing growing at a pace that is causing major Canadian Brewers to try the buy or fake craft approach "a la" Shock top.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by thrasher_s View Post
    The general perception of beer drinkers from other countries seems to be that beer from the US is flavorless piss. Is this because our main beer export is Budweiser?

    Could the inverse situation be the reason that I am rarely happy with European beer?
    I think the perception differs in many parts of the world by country. For instance, many Germans think we have $hitty beer with too many ingredients. But the younger European crowd who travel to USA have had good american beer and like it. Belgians and French seem to like our style, but still prefer the sweeter Belgian style.

    Curious what European beers have you had and didn't like?

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    Lager is the most popular style in the US. To me and many other people - it has low taste and seems watered down RELATIVE to other styles. The other styles are more popular outside the US so to try a lager after another style, it's going to have little taste. I still drink lagers when I golf, but I drink mostly Belgians and stouts otherwise. And I don't swill often at all - mostly because a 750ml of a strong belgian ale will get me far enough without going over the top. Whereas I feel like I have to pound lagers to get anywhere.

    My friends think I'm a beer snob since I switched over from lagers though. I bring my own glass to accompany my brew often. That really gets em going.

  20. #20
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    Lager is not a style, it the type of yeast. You're referring to "American Adjunct Lager", to which Bud, PBR, Foster's, Corona and other such "smooth drunkability" offerings are examples. There are plenty of lager beers that are decidedly not low taste or watered down.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boognish View Post
    Lager is not a style, it the type of yeast. You're referring to "American Adjunct Lager", to which Bud, PBR, Foster's, Corona and other such "smooth drunkability" offerings are examples. There are plenty of lager beers that are decidedly not low taste or watered down.
    Cmon, you know what I'm referring to. Even BeerAdvocate lists beers under the lager style. And within every style of course there are outliers. The majority of lagers (especially american) have a similar light, clean taste. If you drink Belgian Quads all the time, they will taste like water.

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    I did know what you're referring to, I was just trying to clarify. One of my "go to" beers is a lager - Anchor Steam. I also love double bock beers (doppelbock) and black beer (schwarzbiers), which both use bottom fermenting yeast, so I get a bit too touchy when people say lagers are watery. I didn't mean to offend, just trying to spread the lager gospel.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boognish View Post
    Lager is not a style, it the type of yeast. You're referring to "American Adjunct Lager", to which Bud, PBR, Foster's, Corona and other such "smooth drunkability" offerings are examples. There are plenty of lager beers that are decidedly not low taste or watered down.
    You are correct, but if i may i will take it a step further to clarify.

    -Lager is a term to designate that a beer uses a strain of yeast that ferments on the bottom.
    -Ale is a term to designate that a beer uses a strain of yeast that ferments on the top.

    Both are hugely vague in describing the beer, as some beer with bottom fermenting yeast are absolutly massive behemoths of brews, like Eisbocks, while some Ales end up tasting much like Lagers, like Cream Ales,Extra Pales, etc.

    Essentially, both of these terms are the first step of division in a Flow Chart of beer styles, and it sub-divides even further from these two mother styles.
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    I spent my junior year of college studying in Munich, and I never drank at all until I lived there. So the first beer I tasted was a Munich beer (Augustiner at Oktoberfest -- which contrary to belief is not that reddish color they market over here as Oktoberfest beer).

    Anyway, I spent an entire year drinking nothing but German beers (and other European beers wherever I traveled). Keep in mind this was the only kind of beer I had ever tasted -- I knew nothing else. The first beer I tried here the second day I was home was Miller Lite.To me, it tasted like real beer, mixed with five gallons of water. It was awful. Abosulutely awful. I still believe Bud and Bud Light is the worst beer ever made.

    So I kind of had a European perspective, in that up to a certain point, I had never had an American beer in my life, and after tasting one for the first time, it was definitely watered down. I understand entirely where they get their perception. My guess is they come here on vacation, drink something like Bud that's widely available, and that's where they get their perception.

    I can tell you that when I lived there, no one drank a Budweiser in Germany -- it wasn't sold. In fact, given the Reinheitsgebot, it was probably illegal back then to sell it and call it beer (it has corn and rice product in it). That might have changed with the European union, but I was back for a bike tour of Bavaria last fall, and still, I didn't see any Budweiser. I can also tell you that none of the smaller craft brews are really being sold there, either. Pretty much every little town in Bavaria has its own brewery, and you usually drink the local beer, or one of the six big ones out of Munich. (This is Bavarian beer -- can't speak much to the Prussian beer experience).

    As many of you probably know, there are just a few basic flavors of Bavarian German beer -- light colored, dark colored, wheat, pilsner (more bitter and crisp that Helles), and that's about it. There are also special seasonal variations -- Maerzen, Adel, doppelbock, etc. I think a lot of Germans who drink all the fancy craft beers kind of think they're overblown and overproduced.

  25. #25
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    I have lived in Germany now for two years. We have traveled all over Europe and I am amazed at what I find. Germans drink German beer...period dot. The only exception might be Heineken which seems to be an alternative. In restaraunts you never see any American beer. The only beer you may find would be Belgian.

    Belgians drink Belgian beer, and for good reason. It is the best beer on the planet. They are a small nation and have huge national pride in anything they produce.

    Now to the UK. Lots of beer in the pubs there isn't even British. Some Guiness, Heineken, and every now and again Budwisser.

    Ireland. We went to lots of Pubs in Ireland. In fact we even went to Sean's Bar which is the oldest pub in the UK/Ireland. Everywhere we went we obviously saw Guiness, but also at every bar we saw in Ireland there was COORS LIGHT! It wasn't American tourists drinking it either, it was Irish young and old ordering it. I really got into the Bulmers Irish Cider there which is called Magner's in the states. I was really taken back by the amount of American beer the locals drink in Ireland.

    Netherlands is a melting pot of beer. I saw people drinking just about everything there. Belgian, German, Irish, and American. Happy folks.

    France isn't much about beer. 1664 Gold label is their premium, but most drink red wine. Sounds cliche, but it is pretty true. I have family outside of Paris and they act like a kid in a candy store when they come to visit in Germany.

    Italy...see France.

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