Obviously the most enticing thing about craft beer is the interesting flavors. However, the equally unique and interesting bottles are a close second. A large chunk of my perusing time at liquor stores with an extensive craft beer selection is spent admiring the many different looks: tall, short, fat, skinny, sealed like a champagne bottle with a wire hood. (Take for instance the Samuel Adam’s Infinium, which could easily be mistaken for a bottle of champagne.)
But now, according to the New York Times, it’s these same bottles that could be causing some trouble in the beer-loving world. Some customers miss the traditional 12-ounce bottle and are upset that the only way to sample some new flavors is to dive right in and get a large bottle.
“Internet message boards dedicated to craft beer are replete with complaints that large bottles are too expensive and, thanks to their typically higher alcohol content, a challenge to finish in one sitting. Unlike wine, a beer is nearly impossible to recork,” reports Clay Risen of the Times.
This “wine-ification” of beer, as it is being referred to for the common 750-mililiter bottle, is part of the evolution of the craft-beer boom. As the ingredients become more varied, and even more expensive, brewers are experimenting with different styles, aging-barrels and price ranges. Personally, I welcome this new level of craftbeerdom.
I find it interesting that some beer drinkers are “uncomfortable with the notion of drinking beer like wine.” I don’t understand the stigma around that. The setting is the same; the taste is just different. If a specialty beer is so delicious that it can be paired with an equally specialty meal, then why not?
I also don’t really see the slight decline of the 12-ouncer as an inconvenience. I see it as an invitation to share a great beer (or not!) with friends — and also as a possibly cost-efficient way to sample more of the really out-there flavors. (This time, take for instance the Rogue Bacon Maple Ale, which comes in a 750-mililiter bottle. While the neon pink color of the bottle and simply the word “bacon” in a beer title are sure to grab the audience’s attention, this beer does not sound like something I would enjoy, or even something I would want to drink 12 ounces of for that matter. Does that mean I don’t want to try it? Of course not! Bring on the 750 and a group of my closest bacon-loving friends to split the $13 cost.)
However, I will admit that I can see the annoyance if you’re with Budweiser loyals. It might also be an issue if no one was around to share a new beer that was only available in a large size. My best advice would be to pick the bottle up anyway and save it for a rainy day with the beer-snobbiest of friends.
“Ultimately, traditionalists say that what irks them the most about the big bottles is that they send the signal that beer is trying to be something that it’s not: that it needs to be more like wine or scotch to win over elite consumers,” the article reads. To that, I say we’ll always have something that the finest of wines and scotches don’t: bubbles.
Previously from Marissa Prieto:
♦ Magic Hat No. 9: A Beginner’s Gateway to Craft Beer