The other day my copy of Zymurgy arrived. Zymurgy is the journal of the American Homebrewers Association and generally speaking a pretty good read, with interesting articles, recipes and other homebrew related odds and ends that ferment ideas in my already fevered mind.
The current issue's headline article is the annual review of the "Best Beers in America", or as the cynic in me refers to it, a list of strong hoppy pale ales, with the occasional Belgian and lager chucked in for some semblance of measure. Naturally such lists are taken with a pinch of salt, or in some cases, the entirety of Chott el Djerid in Tunisia. The issue includes a couple of clone recipes for beers in the list, which is always interesting. So far, so good.
However, there was a comment in the article which really pissed me off, according to a Zymurgy reader:
"One thing is constant: America has the best beer and brewers".
I find that kind of attitude really annoying, as in seriously pissing me off annoying. Sure it is just lame brained bravado, but it is so wide of the mark that it just isn't funny. I guess it is true if you define "best" as being the most heavy handed on the hops, and "beer" as pale warm fermented malt beverage, but if the definition of "beer" were pale, hoppy, cold fermented lager then the US would be a back water when compared to the Czechs.
There is no nation on earth that has the "best beer and brewers", simply because it is such a nebulous concept as to be utterly devoid of meaning. Yes American beer is good, but so is British, Irish, Czech, German, Norwegian and so on and so forth.