Friday, April 1, 2011

The Session: How do they make me buy the beer?

This month's session is hosted by A Good Beer Blog which poses the very zen-like question "how do they make me buy the beer?"

My first thought is that I'm not really sure. How do they make me breathe the air? I suspect there is a similar mechanism at work. For all the talk about branding and commercialism etc. beer really does an excellent job of selling itself. By many accounts, beer and the birth of civilization are linked, and in beer drinking cultures, I think it's very much considered a staple, so I don't really think anyone needs to make me buy beer.

That's really more of an answer to the [unasked] question "why do we drink beer?" but this topic is about selecting a specific beer, and the reasons for doing so. If I were going to make this simple I would just say "putting beer in a cask". Any beer that's on cask at a bar, I will order, almost without exception. Bottled beer I don't buy all that often because frankly, I don't really have the budget for it. I don't buy beer on price alone, but in the world of craft beer and $10 bombers, I'm frequently out of my depth. The majority of the beer I drink at home is beer I've made. When I do spring for some treats, I tend much more toward beers that I know by reputation from traditional breweries that I may not be able to get easily. A bottle of Hook Norton and one of Uerige Alt I found at the local bottle shop were much more exciting to me than the latest double IPA or sour beer. Frequently, my drinking persuasion is much more an exercise in beer flavor anthropology and curiosity for my own brewing than the palate version of an eating contest that extreme beers tend to provide. There is, of course, a time and place for those beers, but it's rarely something that moves me to buy their beer.

So there it is, clear as mud.

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