Quality beer ignored by party-goers

By on November 4, 2011

By J. Wesley Wilson–

“Now, red solo cup is the best receptacle/ For barbecues, tailgates, fairs and festivals/ And you, sir, do not have a pair of testicles/ If you prefer drinkin’ from a glass.”

These are the opening lines from a recent single from Toby Keith’s fifteenth studio album, “Clancy’s Tavern”. While these words are just another entry in the prolific catalog of this button-pushing bard, as a beer enthusiast those lines hit close to home.

The most immediate insult in these few lines is the one declaring my lack of reproductive organs because I like to drink my beer out of a pint glass. This type of “you’re not a man because of x activity” argument never really phases me, because many of the activities I like to participate in—commuting by bicycle, cooking, and watching movies not directed by Michael Bay—are considered generally emasculating by the macho American beer pong party culture. After so many bros in big SUVs yell out their questions about your sexual preference while you cruise down the bike lane, you kind of learn to tune it out.

I would like to ask two questions to these people. Why do you need to get so drunk all the time, and why does that cheap corporate beer you get drunk off of— usually on the spectrum of Natural Ice to Budweiser —have to taste so disgustingly bland?

The former question is one that adults ask about their own college-age offspring frequently. The need to get impossibly drunk every weekend seems to be this necessary part of the college experience. Maybe it’s something that we’re socialized into, or maybe it’s all of the great advertising and cheap-as-dirt prices.

The advertising and the apparently cheap prices definitely play large role into why over two-thirds of the beer in America is bought from either MillerCoors or Anheuser Busch. A good example is that if you can buy it in a 30-pack, it’s probably brewed and shoved down your throats by those guys. It’s the same racket that the big banks and factory farms are pulling on the American population.

The scheme these companies pull on us is enforced by the general belief that these are the cheapest options, when that isn’t even the case. One of the handful or so of alternatives to Busch guzzling is home brewing,

Home brewing your beer is a rewarding experience, just like any other cooking skill, just with a much cooler reward—tasty beer. Someone could buy ingredients for a 5-gallon batch of beer (around fifty 12-ounce bottles) for around $40 or less. If you do the math, it’s just a fraction more expensive than buying two 30 packs of PBR. Sure, it takes a few hours to brew and you have to wait 3 weeks to drink it, but brewing beer can be a fun hobby to share with your close friends.

My guess, though, is that my dream of every frat house on U of L’s campus becoming tiny little home brewing stations where people try to drink responsibly will never come true.
Drinking artisan beer might just always be a niche. Maybe the answer to both of the questions posed previously in this column might just come down to one answer, and that is “It’s what my TV tells me to do.”

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Cartoon illustration by Michael Layman/The Louisville Cardinal

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