Beer UP typically examines a craft beer from a small brewer somewhere in the United States. Among many others, I’ve written about the Left Hand Milk Stout, the Founders Red Rye, and the Troegs Troegenator, but before I continue forward on this quest to drink every brewer in the country, I decided that I should confess something: Budweiser is my favorite beer. I would apologize to you, but I am not sorry.
Here’s the thing. I could present an argument that Budweiser basically defines the light American-lager style. And because it sets the standard, that’s all the street cred it needs. In a way, Budweiser is kind of like Nirvana. You may not like grunge, but there’s no denying its influence — and because they pioneered it, you’re forced to give credit where it’s due. I could also explain to you how the clean, light hoppy blend of sweetness and malt can be quite refreshing. There’s not really a beer that tastes better than Budweiser in the sweltering summer heat. Plus, can you name an alcoholic beverage more suited for inappropriate behavior? See an old dude sitting outside of his house in a lawn chair, wearing a tight white tank top and way-too-short shorts while slamming a Budweiser, you won’t think much of it. That same old dude throwing back a microbrew from Maine? Kinda weird.
Ultimately though, I’m not stupid. I can’t convince you that Budweiser is the greatest-tasting beer in the history of mankind because, well, it’s just not. In fact, my above comparison to Nirvana probably made your skin crawl, because a favorite band metaphor made among snobs is it’s the “Nickelback” beer. Anheuser-Busch is also part of InBev, one of the largest corporations in the world, pretty much acting like the Walmart of breweries, and (rightfully) despised by most small brewers for being the epitome of “the man.”
The truth is that my love of Bud, like all things in the year 2012, comes from a place of nostalgia. The second beer I ever had was a Budweiser. (The first was a Busch Light. Heard of that? It’s a Midwest thing — or maybe a Western Iowa thing. You can find it at any major family function, like graduations or tailgates or Christmases with your 60-plus relatives. It’s great because you can chug about 19 of them and not get that drunk.)
Anyway, my first Budweiser experience is not a particularly interesting story. It was in college. I went to a party. They had Budweiser. I drank it. I probably got drunk. Then I went to sleep. But that was an important moment because from then on out, I just started buying it whenever I’d go “party.” During my first college summer, I drank gallons of Budweiser — or as we called it, “Bud Heavy” — so I have many fond memories of being stupid in the blazing hot Iowa summers with a big red can in my hand.
Before writing this column, I realized that the only craft brew I had in the fridge was something I’d written about previously. Combine that with how the bodega feels really, really far away, plus the comical amount of money in my checking account, and it’s hard to justify walking down the block for a $14 six-pack from a brewing company in Oregon or something. But you know what I do have sitting in my fridge, being ever-reliable? Three 16-ounce cans of the self-proclaimed “King of Beers.” Once again, it’s the crutch that’s there for me, no matter what, in any situation. Did your significant other dump you? Budweiser. Are you at a concert? Budweiser. Did you just get laid? Budweiser. No matter how many heavily malted chocolate- and berry-infused craft brews I have, that big ol’ wide-mouthed red-and-white can is an old friend who will always have a place in my life.