Has American Craft Beer exceeded European Beer.

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by BreakingBad, Nov 19, 2012.


Has American Craft beer surpassed European beer?

  1. Yes

  2. No

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  1. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,412) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    I am sure you will find some way to throw shit on this too,maybe this doesn't count because it isn't extreme enough, but this low ABV Peach Berliner Weisse is a perfect example of the types of beer we are privileged to enjoy in USA. Perhaps you need to get out more?
  2. Giovannilucano

    Giovannilucano Devotee (452) Feb 24, 2011 New Jersey

    I believe I am on the losing side of this "battle" between the two. While I see the passion that goes into the American craft, I also see those who do enjoy the European ass well. Belgians are very world renowned, and I hope someday, just maybe, Italian craft could be too.

    But a major point to all this is, people can not or will not be changed of their convictions. I try to fully understand and respect both sides as best to my ability. Do I enjoy American craft? Hell Yes! Do I love European craft? Hell yes! Would I die for Italian craft? FUCK YES! But for me, no side is better, and I will say I am grounded in believing so, ever respectful and honorable to both!
  3. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,412) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Yes, and yes.

    Had a few Birra Del Borgo, including the Enkir, delicious, some other brands whose names I cannot remember, but whose high price keeps me from enjoying more, and I drank European imports almost exclusively through the late 70's, early 80's, before American Brewers started on the road to today.

    We are blessed here in USA today, and from what I read and taste, in Italy as well.

    I also have read that many of the Lambic styles were in decline in a Belgium that was more a Euro lager loving country than a fine beer loving country. Apparently, even today, the style is revered and (unsuccessfully) imitated more here in USA than in Europe. I also hope I don't seem indelicate to say this says quite a bit about things, don't you agree?
    Giovannilucano likes this.
  4. Giovannilucano

    Giovannilucano Devotee (452) Feb 24, 2011 New Jersey

    Yes it does for sure! :grinning:
  5. yamar68

    yamar68 Initiate (0) Apr 1, 2011 Minnesota

    I'm confident that nothing at all will be established in this thread.
    acevenom, steveh, dennis3951 and 2 others like this.
  6. Giovannilucano

    Giovannilucano Devotee (452) Feb 24, 2011 New Jersey

    Says the Hulkster! heheh
  7. MasterSki

    MasterSki Site Editor (6,625) Dec 25, 2006 Ontario (Canada)
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Agree 100%. I was told by a very wise brewer that if I quickly needed to discern whether it was worth bothering with a brewery/brewpub I should try their basic pale ale. While APAs (and even American Blonde Ales) are verging into IPA territory in terms of hopping, I'd say the list of places that excels at APAs is a pretty good summary of the best American breweries - 3 Floyds, Alpine, Hill Farmstead, Russian River, Deschutes, New Glarus, etc.
    pixieskid likes this.
  8. Bitter_Echo

    Bitter_Echo Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2012 Michigan

    Don't know, haven't traveled much. My equations: good beer=good beer; bad beer=bad beer; and subjective arguments are not equal to objective ones; and the corollaries: 1) why doesn't everyone like the beers I like?, and 2) why do people fuss about beers I don't like? So I don't really care what the answer is, as long as I can fulfill equation #1. Which I can, thanks!

    Fun to consider this one, but in the end, could it really even matter? By a similar line of inquiry, it is the US, isn't it, and the capitalist machine, that gave us adjunct (I know, a borrowed too) beers in all their feeble similarity, that killed off nearly every other kind of beer in the late 20th century...before creativity crawled out of the mire of sameness and created (using the same machine) the present craft beer scene. Was the near death of beer craft our doing somehow? So, maybe it's a tie.

    I guess that's why I like BA: it's great seeing other people's enthusiasms about good beer (see math above). Good beer makes winners everywhere. Which is to say, I don't really care: I've got more great crafts to drink, than I have the liver for.
    Giovannilucano and herrburgess like this.
  9. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,702) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    American beer sure has come a long way since the 60s and 70s. Full marks to the brewers that made it so. That being said, our cousins across the pond make some spectacular brews as well. More of them, I'd like to try. If you're going traditional, I'd put my bucks on the stuff from Europe/UK; for interesting interpretations of traditional brews/US intense brews...yeah....extreme and beyond traditional and, sort of, innovative brewing(I actually hate the word "innovative"), the US is where you can find them. Locally, by trade, or buying online. We ALL live in what I'd like to call, the Golden Age of beer.
    cavedave and Giovannilucano like this.
  10. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Crusader (703) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I respect both your opinion and Rryanc's, because I partially agree with you. You can definitely find the best of the best in a wide variety of styles if you search hard enough in the US. But there's still some styles over in Europe that I can swing a dead cat and find in abundance.

    Lambic/gueuze in the form of Cantillon in Belgium. One of the most drinkable styles for my palate, a Munich Helles can be found in Germany as easily as an IPA in the US. In the US I can buy Stoudt's Gold........and really that's about it for a high quality Helles, and even that doesn't stand up to a Weihenstephan Original for me. And good luck finding very much that's <4% abv if you want to have multiple pints and still keep a clear head like they do across the pond.

    As Rryanc mentioned, I'm cherry-picking some of the best spots in Europe for beer. But head to a local bar in Laconia, NH and try to find something other than Guinness, Sam Adams, and Bud/Miller/Coors on tap. Sure there's plenty of kick-ass lagers coming out of Philly, but that's certainly not the norm. There's PLENTY of spots in the US that serve the trio I mentioned above and that's it. And head to a better bar with a craft beer list, and it's most certainly dominated by IPAs.

    I know one thing, when I headed to Munich and Brussels last year, I couldn't find a Bud Light, Coors Light, or Miller Lite anywhere. But when I went to a local bar in Munich and asked for "beer" I was served a beautiful, crisp, clean, and extremely drinkable Munich Helles almost anywhere I went. There may not have been a litany of IPAs either, but the experience was far different than that in the US. Has the US surpassed this? In my opinion no. But I sure as hell love drinking in both places because each country dominates different styles. And this is all that matters.
    cavedave likes this.
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,451) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    You have a valid point that it depends where you live in the US.

    Ironically I sent a beermail today concerning Helles beers:

    There aren’t too many ‘good’ US craft brewery packaged Helles beers. I mostly get my Helles fix via draft. Below is something I posted previously:


    My favorite Helles beer from the SEPA breweries is Sly Fox Helles Golden Lager. You mentioned this is one of your previous posts. Unfortunately is a draft only product but it is a very tasty Helles beer. The Stoudt’s and Victory Helles beers are good as well.

    If you every go to the Manayunk Brewpub they brew a tasty Helles beer as well. It is somewhat ‘mislabeled’ since it is called Bohemian Blonde but it is a genuine Helles style beer; lightly hopped with a very pleasant bready malt taste.

    cavedave likes this.
  12. rrryanc

    rrryanc Disciple (311) May 19, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    I'm not debating the quality of European beer in the slightest (with the caveat that every country in this argument makes crappy, average and excellent beers - well except for Portugal, at least that I could find) my main problem is that when you swing that cat around in Europe, you're only hitting a few flavor profiles. I think you're much more likely to find variety in the US (and again, not necessarily the best done beers in those styles, unless you know what you're looking for - but that goes for pretty much everywhere).

    I'd argue that getting Sam Adams on tap in even the most random of crappy pubs is a good thing - it's not a terrible beer. Certainly not my first choice, but I'd definitely take it over Peroni, Sagres, or Carlsberg.
  13. fickenmeimirish

    fickenmeimirish Initiate (177) Feb 18, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I feel yes, american craft has, with maybe the exception of sours, which I cannot speak on because I have yet to try cantillon.
  14. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (211) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    You could get alot of different answers to this question since your premise is rather open for interpretation yet contains a few points. Experimentation, big beers and old recipes are the words I take away from it. If we keep the discussion broad without delving down into examples, of which there are a myriad and which can only lead to a quantifiable comparison, the value of which is questionable, I will attempt to give my answer.

    In keeping with the broad, generalized theme I would point to the historic differences between the US, the new world, and Europe, the old world, of experimentation vs tradition. Of individuality vs collective. These cultural, societal differences should not be ignored or discounted I think, even in such comparatively trivial matters as beer culture. The US has been and continues to be a country of greater experimentation and individuality than Europe with consumerism making up a considerable part of that experimenting and individuality nowadays. The consumer culture is comparatively less individual in European countries though it trails the US in this area just as it does in so many other areas. These cultural differences lay the foundation for the beer revival in the US in my opinion and they are also responsible for the contrasts inbetween America and and aggregated "Europe".

    Thus I don't find it particularly surprising, or controversial, that the US should be home to more experimentation in beer making, or that this experimenting should lead American craft brewers in the direction of high abv beers, high IBU beers etc. America is not known as the country of subtlety or modesty, for better or worse, accurately or not. With increased individuality and consumer based culture there will be a myriad of desires and wants in terms of products that can be created and sold within an economy that in many aspects is more free and allowing than its European counterparts. The sheer size of the US population means that such "individual" desires and wants can be aggregated into large enough sizes to where the individual starts to make up a demographic or target consumer. Even the most obscure beer needs a consumer base greater than one individual with a unique and individual taste.

    The European beer scene is in my opinion, on the whole, more laden with traditions and familiarity. Another reason for this, apart from the more abstract musings above can be found in the different paths which mainstream beer has taken on each side of the pond. In the US the mainstream beer became less and less flavorful to where the basic beer was a 4.2% adjunct light lager with xx% adjuncts in the grainbill to make it lighter tasting, with a fermentation regiment which lightened the taste even further via increased attenuation, and with less and less hop taste and bitterness. To this one can add an increased need for force carbonation to where this light beer appears more similar to a soda in its type and level of carbonation than a regular beer.

    In Europe the mainstream beers did not follow the exact same trajectory, in part due to aspects such as tradition (either our own or those of neighboring countries such as Germany and its purity law which influenced brewing traditions of other countries) and a more homogenous, stable culture if we look at the first half and then some of the 1900s. In Europe today the mainstream beer is not a 4.2% light lager but a 5% lager which isn't attenuated the way a light lager is, with an IBU of somewhere around 20ish (my best guestimate from having tried a broad assortment of European lagers). The taste of the average European lager, even if it appears dull and unimaginative in the eyes of a craft beer enthusiast, still has taste. A beer such as Heineken, Carlsberg, Grolsch, Krounenburg, Becks etc. is not the same as a Miller lite or a Coors light. I think this has created less of an impetus, less of an urgency among European beer drinkers to want something else, something different. It has provided a greater sense of contentment with what is, the status quo, than in the US where the increasing lightening of regular beer and then the introduction of light beer put people off and made for a starker choice inbetween beer with "little or no flavor" and the promise of bold flavors provided by craft beer.

    I write this from the perspective of a Swedish beer drinker. I'm tuned in to parts of the craft beer scene online here and I can't help but feel as though the macro-micro discussion here is anologous to the American discussion of socialism. We are discussing the same thing with rather different starting points and frames of reference. People here who talk about the big evil macros producing carbonated water that they sell as beer whilst Americans talk about certain policies promoted by certain politicians as the equivalent of socialist Europe (or socialist Sweden). In both cases the arguments are valid up to a point, but the circumstances and conditions are not the same in my opinion.

    Make of this what you will, it's my take on the matter at least.
  15. siddhartha

    siddhartha Initiate (0) Feb 3, 2012 Colorado

    I think it mostly depends on the style of beer that is most intriguing to your own personal palate.
  16. Giovannilucano

    Giovannilucano Devotee (452) Feb 24, 2011 New Jersey

    This is what I would have said, or even better, I agree with this wholeheartedly! I believe a lot of American craft drinkers need to hear more of our thoughts from our European standpoints. Even from my Italian standpoint I do understand it from your Swedish view.

    Most people would dismiss our European cultures as a turning point into how we do things, and in this case, beer or craft beer. When you put stereotypes aside, you can see the heart of the countries culture.

    Thank you so much for your respective and your thoughts. I truly enjoy the interaction of fellow Europeans!

    Drick vara friska!
  17. kbuzz

    kbuzz Champion (850) Jan 22, 2011 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I was talking to a fellow homebrewer a couple weeks ago who happens to be only 3 years removed from living in Europe...born and raised somewhere in England...can't remember exactly where. He had traveled a good bit while living out there...visited a lot of breweries, tried a ton of beers...beers that made me extremely jealous to hear about.

    He said that hands down, the US has taken craft beer and beer in general to a completely different level. He doesn't even think anyone is in a close second to the styes and techniques that are developing here. He stopped just short of saying the beer here was "better", but I came away from the conversation thinking that he fet that way...

    Of course, that's just one man's opinion...
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  18. BreakingBad

    BreakingBad Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2012

    Thanks everyone for all your input! this has been a very interesting discussion!
  19. Bluecane

    Bluecane Initiate (0) Dec 30, 2011 New York

    COP OUT! :stuck_out_tongue:
  20. MagicBeerElf

    MagicBeerElf Initiate (0) Jan 3, 2011 California

    It seems ridiculous to me to say that US beer has exceeded European beer. I moved to the Bay Area a year ago and spent 6 months working at The Trappist in Oakland. I have been subjected to some of the best beers from around the globe and to be honest most of the best ones were either British, Belgian or Scandanavian. Though USA is known for perfecting IPAs, I still believe Mikkeller creates the best overall. Don't get me wrong I love US beers and love the craft beer scene here but in the UK "beer keeping" is much better than here. If you do go to the wrong pub in the UK sure most of the beers will taste naff but if you go to a city like York where beer keeping standards are high you will be amazed at their freshness and perfection. Many times in the USA beer is served at the wrong temperature, even in craft beer venues! I have sometimes been angry of how beer is served to me here. Stouts are too cold or generally there is lack of head retention.

    I love Kernel and Magic Rock and it seems every time i go back to the UK my friend introduces me to more new amazing beers. I have also educated him on some really good US ones too.

    Overall I agree with you, there is great beer on both sides and beyond and people should educate themselves more. I think British beer gets a bad rap here because of import issues. That beer needs to be fresh!
    Zimbo likes this.
  21. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,433) Mar 18, 2010 California

    No. Different continents do different beers different ways. I celebrate that diversity.
  22. cpinto6

    cpinto6 Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2010 Georgia

    I'd say you're comparing apples to oranges. Lambics and Trappists among other European beers haven't been succesfully made here. Sure there are tasty sours but with very few exceptions they don't age well. I'd hate to try a 30 year old American Sour. I also haven't tried one American trappist interpretation that I can stomach a full bottle of. They also can't get the hoppy stuff right...I've never tried a hoppy European beer that even comes close to what I consider good hoppy beers.
  23. Zimbo

    Zimbo Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2010 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    A ridiculous thread which appeals to the worst sort of nationalism you can imagine. Kudos though to the likes of Ruds who tried to correct a number of misconceptions. American beer is outstanding but you guys better stop with the chest pounding because things are changing. A visit last night to the opening of another superb craft beer bar in Edinburgh puts the Scottish capital in the top flight of beer destinations and if you don't know it already Italy is Europe's best kept beer secret.

    Nobody here who really knows their beer looks down on the States. You''ve gotta be an f*ckwit to think that but at the same time there's such confidence here now that few brewers look to America with the sort of reverence they did just a few years ago.
  24. cpinto6

    cpinto6 Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2010 Georgia

    Close your eyes, you would never guess lager. I still haven't tried a good one that tastes like a lager and is brewed here in the US
  25. marquis

    marquis Crusader (758) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    In terms of variety then it's no contest.If that answers the OP which I don't think it does.Which manufacturer builds the best cars? Is it the one with a wide range , with the best performance, the most reliable models or the most luxurious? It's surely a matter of whast you want from a car.Some manufacturers are specialists some try to cover a wide range. It's an indeterminate question.
    The UK is said to only produce a few styles. Yet we have given the world Pale Ale (from which pale lagers were derived), IPA, DIPA,IRS, Black IPA, mild, bitter, stout/porter,oak aged beer, brown ale,old ale/barleywine and hop bombs among a horde of other minor styles.Not evidence of lack of experimentation or innovation.We are grateful to the US for reviving many of these moribund styles and all the above are once again brewed here.
    There are reasons why we don't brew quality lager ; first is our maritime climate which allows us to grow world class barley for ale and porter brewing but not ideal for lager.Second is our maritime climate which rendered lagering unnecessary.Third is that quality lager is brewed not far away on the continent.So we have concentrated on ales, stouts and porters, we have a steady demand , existing tastes (which do develop over time) and the infrastruture in place to meet these. If the demand for something new appears we have over 1000 breweries to deal with it.
    cavedave likes this.
  26. marquis

    marquis Crusader (758) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

  27. Etan

    Etan Initiate (0) Jul 11, 2011 Wisconsin

    The premise of this thread is stupid.

    1. It's not a competition.
    2. Even the idea of competition barely makes sense anymore - globalization in craft brewing is making national boundaries more and more irrelevant in terms of quality and experimentation. There are increasingly American breweries that are doing what traditional European breweries have been doing and European breweries that are doing what American breweries have been doing. Not sure why or even if we can compare them as competing cultures anymore.
  28. pixieskid

    pixieskid Initiate (0) Jun 4, 2009 Germany

    in the chimay glass...
  29. Zimbo

    Zimbo Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2010 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    And just to clarify a potential discrepancy , I wasn't referring to anyone on the thread, or BA in general, as a f*ckwit. I actually had those nationalistic pseudo beer 'experts' here who either still see American beer as either BMC or overrated as craft.

  30. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,431) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I voted no.

    When we talk about any kind of competition between American and European beer, I think we're basically talking about the best breweries on both sides of the Atlantic. And I think we can all agree for the most part which breweries are part of that conversation.

    And no matter where they are, the breweries that make up that top echelon are probably producing beer at the highest level of crafstmanship and quality (not to mention quantity) in the entire history of brewing. There are numerous reasons for this: new technologies, new techniques, new hop varieties, new yeast strains, faster and wider sharing of information, superior shipping methods. The end result is more breweries making more truly great beer than any other time, ever.

    Think of the best beers you've ever had, from America or Europe. Can you really imagine a beer that's significantly better than that? Perhaps my imagination is limited, but I can't.

    That's why I call it a draw. It's a golden age, and we should just enjoy and appreciate it. Cheers!
  31. DonDirkA

    DonDirkA Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2011 Arizona

    I'm saying yes. I know there is a LOT of amazing European beer. Especially from Belgium and the Trappist monks (and Cantillon) but I feel like recently the US has surpassed everyone. Europe seems to be stuck on "tradition". And when I went to England I had a lot of awesome beer, dozens of them, but they were all very similar. All bitters (I think) but they were good, just not unique. After 2 weeks I was craving some good old American craft beer. Of course we owe all of our deliciousness to Europe, but this is a case where the student has surpassed the teacher.

    There are some creative craft breweries in Europe too (such as BrewDog, Mikkeller and Evil Twin) but the number of great brews from the US, in my personal opinion at least, surpass the number in Europe. I'd never deny that someone made a delicious brew due their country of origin though. BrewDog's Tokio, Evil Twin's Imperial Biscotti Break and Mikkeller's Beer Geek Brunch Weasel (and its Cognac variant) are some of the greatest stouts I have had. But I still prefer many American brews.
  32. marquis

    marquis Crusader (758) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Our different beer, or rather drinking, cultures shape the sorts of beer we produce. Here, quality beer is largely confined to pubs which specialise in it so the emphasis is very strongly against the stronger brews. People tend to stay in pubs for reasonable periods during which they imbibe a fair quantity and this encourages the brewers to create very tasty low gravity beer. There is of course a number (which is increasing) of beer enthusiasts who buy top end stuff in bottles , many of them look for US or US style beer, or Belgian or..... but this is a very minor market and those whom I know see these bottles as an addition to their pub visits and not instead. I have a friend with a very well stocked cellar including many of the BA top 100 but given the choice between staying in or nipping out to the pub will have his coat on straight away.
  33. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,412) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    True fine beer culture is an aspect we sorely lack here. Our pub scene is in its infancy. Thus we join tasting groups where we share what we own, or make occasional long treks to those few places that have a good selection and proper atmosphere. Our tasting group enjoys beer in a homemade pub in a garage. I look forward to the day when a fine pub close enough to get to easily/cheaply is a reality for most of us here.

    USA beer culture is like a collection of the world's finest modern art masterpieces but displayed in storage units instead of museums.

    As far as session/sessionable beer goes we have a new, full scale production brewery dedicated to them nearby to here (and I hardly live in a progressive or well populated area), and another 50 miles north, and the idea of highly flavored low ABV beers is certain to catch on here, in fact it already is a growing segment.
  34. Ruds

    Ruds Initiate (0) Sep 15, 2008 United Kingdom (England)

    Not sure why you'd want to bother travelling - as you said in your original statement you don't need to travel to know you have it better!

    Here's one reason why that statement is steeped in a big dose of ignorance

    Take one of my local breweries


    Opened around June '12 - a dozen or more beers including: - Bock, Golden/Blonde, Wit, Saison, Stout (fermented with Norwegian Lager yeast), APA, Fruit beer, Californian Common, English Pale Ale, Amber, Red IPA.

    This is one of many hundreds of small breweries producing a diverse and interesting array of beers and styles in the UK

    You will never see these make it to the US - they are all small batch production focussed on local markets as most micro breweries in the UK are

    I agree - The US brewers carry more styles, stronger beers etc but as they say - travel broadens the mind

    Sit back and live in your own ignorance of what's actually going on/available outside your own country - I'm sure it's a state of bliss for you !
  35. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,412) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Glad to hear that you are following our lead this time, it can only mean good things for you. I hope to visit and enjoy UK beer properly but that day will have to wait until my limited income doesn't go to pay tuition.

    As far as knowing all by reading I never said nor meant that, but I can tell you the names of every 20,000'+ mtn. in the world and I have never climbed any.

    Most of what I believe, inaccurately apparently were you to be the final word on subject, has been from reading what European fine beer lovers have stated, as well as listening to the views of Americans who have gone on beer pilgramages to Europe. Of course, like all news it may be dated, and no longer true.

    But then there are the posts on this thread which convey the same messages, so one is left to wonder. I believe we were the worst beer country in the modern world for the first 30 years of my life. Today, either despite that, or because of that, we are flourishing in a way that most believe is different and better than the tried and true traditional ways of brewing "over there". I suppose it only matters to me, where it shouldn't matter at all, because of the laughing stock status we rightfully enjoyed for so long.

    You won't get this, nor will the younger members of site, but we used to be the guy on the beach getting sand kicked in face, now we are Charles Atlas.:slight_smile:
  36. Ruds

    Ruds Initiate (0) Sep 15, 2008 United Kingdom (England)

    I don't disagree with much of what you have to say and I respect the fact that travel isn't possible for all folks.

    My main point tho' is taking umbridge at your sweeping statement 'I don't need to travel to know we have it better' !

    Because you haven't had the chance to travel - you don't appreciate what is going on elsewhere.

    As for US beer pilgramages to Europe - a lot of these (whilst great trips I'm sure - and large parts of which I've touched on myself many times) are usually to the well known brewers/destinations. Nothing wrong with that at all - but it's barely scratching the surface let alone digging deep and discovering new stuff!

    I started drinking in the early 90's and remember the US scene from those days - or lack of it, just the likes of SA, SN, Anchor and a few others doing the rounds. There are still quite a few older generation drinkers in the UK who think the US is all BMC. Why? Because they haven't travelled and think what they have in the UK is all they need and the best scene going !
    cavedave likes this.
  37. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,376) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Amigo, lets distinguish between better off than we were 30 years ago and "best." Truly we are better off. But in fact most of the BAs, US or otherwise, on this site snicker under their breath when we old farts try to explain what thngs used to be like, and not just about beer.... :-)

    But Ruds has a valid point about having been there is needed to make a comparative judgment. As for reports, they are one source of information, as are those pictures of mountains you can name. But if you are into visiting those mountains I think you'll also have to agree that reading about one, even when described by an experienced climber, doesn't quite compare to the reality of being there.

    But you are both wrong that having been there tells all. There encompases so many places and things. Is it fair to say that German beer is best, when my example and experience are based on sitting in a beirgarten on a spring day at age 20 chatting up a cute German girl and her friends. Is it fair to say US beer is best when my experience is based on the satisfaction felt after a hard day at work when I can sit quietly before the fire with a favorite book and a bottle of Weyerbacher's insanity.

    The fundamental problem with the whole discussion here is that nobody has taken the time to lay out a set of criteria and everyone is expressing their judgment based on a pretty personal and individual perspective.
  38. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,376) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    In general I agree with your attempts to bring some perspective into this thread. But it is also the case that one's ability to appreciate what is going on elsewhere can truly be informed by other sources of information than just travel. So I disagree with you there. And to say it is only travel is also an oversimplification. I know many who have traveled to the UK who think they have visited a pub by going to a tourist place in London.

    Where I do agree with you is that very few Americans I know have had the experience of walking into an a country pub with good friends and being the only American in the place and so getting to be accepted as part of the local scene that is so important. Almost none have had the experience of a good long Sunday afternoon chat amongst 3 friends (2 Brits and one Ami) over multiple pints at the neighborhood pub while solving the world's problems. That is not just travel. It is sooo much more.

    Edit: But the answer is not just travel. Its approaching things with a particular mind set, which I believe you have, that enables us to experience and see what is there without a lot of prejudgment or looking only at or for the familiar. I know many Europeans who think that food in the US consists of McDonalds or hotel food but when I've talked with them I find out the only places they've ever eaten the US were hotels, etc. As I suspect you know there is great diversity in regional foods in the US. But you may have to travel 500 miles to find a different regional food... :slight_smile:
  39. Jeffo

    Jeffo Poo-Bah (2,745) Sep 7, 2008 Netherlands

    Short answer would be "No."

    American brewers are definitely more extreme and like to experiment more than European brewers. I find this really fun and appreciate the creativity, even if it doesn't always work out well. Weird ingredient combinations, barrel aging and hopping the shit out of beer is more widespread and generally more sucessful in the USA. Delicious stuff.

    European brewers still do traditional styles better. Beglium has better abbey style beers and lambics, the UK does better ballanced, low ABV stuff, the Czech Republic does better pilsners and Germany wins when it comes to wheat beer. This stuff is all better in the land of origin. Delicious stuff.

    The question was whether American beer had "exceeded" European beer, and I'd say it hasn't. I appreciate both the USA and Europe for their strengths and try to drink the best of both worlds.

    keithmurray and Bitterbill like this.
  40. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,376) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    It’s a bit of a shame that you seem to think that an indicator of quality, or its lack thereof, is being able to recreate a reasonable facsimile of what someone else before you has already done. Any one who spends their time only doing isn't going to improve the state of the art.
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