Barleywines and Retro Beer
The other day, I was introduced to a new Barleywine Style Ale, Beer Valley’s Highway to Ale Barleywine. I was not disappoined whatsoever, and expected to be pleased by it in some ways. I have not had an American Barleywine that has dissapointed me, outside of a skunked, vintage Bigfoot. The first barley wine I tried, was probably the most bold and brash; Stone Old Guardian.
Since then I look for sticky sweet malts, and enough hops to spice it up. Beer Valley met that criteria for sure. When listening to craft beer radio, I was educated on the fact that the English counter part is far less bold. I could not imagine a Barleywine not being bold, and carrying less than 7% abv. If you think English style barleywine is better, let us know why by adding your comment to this posting, and click here for some reviews on American Barleywines.
I was reading The Beer Chick’s blog yesterday, and in particular, I read the beer list she created for 8oz Burger Bar on Melrose in Hollywood. I would imagine it would be quite an honor to make a beer list for an eatery, and hope to do so myself one day. One thing that got me thinking, was the end of her list.
She made a section called ‘Kitschy Cans.’ This comprised of Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz, and Olympia. I asked her what she meant by “Kitschy”, as the word has a few similar definitions. She told me, “Something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste.” Fair enough, it didn’t seem like a knock on PBR, but after getting well aquainted with the term “Kitschy,” I got deeper into thought about the perception of the appeal towards Pabst.
In many media outlets, such as tv, radio, and magazines, it has been stated that Pabst Blue Ribbon has a large appeal with ‘hipsters.’ The claim is, it’s like wearing tshirt of a band no one has heard of to draw attention. Buying a beer that throughout history has been known as an old world swill that their grandpa drank is cool because no one else thought to do it. The Beer Chick infers that it is slightly a cultural choice to select Pabst off of an otherwise sophisticated beer list. If you were hankering for a nice glass or mug of beer, would you make your choice off a list based on what is the cool, counter-culture thing to do? I honestly don’t think so. Personally, I would have put Old-World Beer, or Classic Swill on the heading. It describes what the beer is, and doesn’t feed into the fact that its a hipster move to order a can of PBR.
My point in all of this is, drink Pabst because it is good and you like it, not because it is notoriously bad, and drinking notoriously bad beer is cool.