We should respect the brewers and their craft of brewing light beer.
There I said it. Blasphemy you say? Then again I didn’t say anything about the beer itself. Everyone has had the conversation that debates the quality and craftsmanship that goes into light beer. We have all told the joke: “Light beer is like having sex in a canoe.” I’ll let you finish the rest, this is a family website. (I mean not really but a guy can try right?) And craft beer drinkers consistently jump to the conclusion that since that beer tastes like water that the beer is easy to brew as it is to drink. But talk to a homebrewer who has tried to brew a classic Pilsner and instantly they will tell you that it was the most difficult beer they have ever tried to brew.
There was an article in The Atlantic recently that highlighted the efforts that go into brewing Budweiser and Bud Light at 137 breweries worldwide. In the article, the author spoke about the attention to detail and craftsmanship that goes into every batch of the ubiquitous lagers. But to someone knowledgeable about brewing, nothing inherently jumped out of the article or the brewing process outside of the 137 breweries. (Wow, did not know they had that many!) It is impressive that across the globe, this company manages to produce literally the exact same product with an absence of taste at all of its facilities. The brewers that are over quality control at these brew plants are at the top of their field in regards to skill. Maybe they are not able to express their creativity in the workplace as their counterpart at a smaller brewery, a la Russian River; but that doesn’t mean they are not talented.
Brewing lagers is a different animal than brewing ales. Yeast flavor makes ales ales. The brewer is asking the yeast to impart a flavor on the beer. Lagers are different in this sense. The benefit of lagering (ageing) a beer is that the yeast cleans up after itself and most yeast flavor drops out of the finished beer. The brewer is left with a purified version of their original product, ideally focused on malt and hop flavors. Coming from someone who has tried to brew these beers before, it is a tightrope walk to produce a beer that doesn’t need to hide behind the fruity flavors of yeast. And to do this across the globe is impressive all the while with no variance in flavor at all.
So I will say it again, we should respect the brewers and their craft of brewing light lagers. It is just a shame that they are brewing light lagers.