Election 2012: Craft beer and the candidates

Since we’re knee-deep in the muck and mire of election season here in the US (and doubly lucky since Ohio is not only vital, but a swing state), I figured I should maybe take a look at a topic that’s been shockingly, utterly ignored by not only both campaigns, but the media too.  Namely, where does each ticket stand, respectively, on craft beer?

Paul Ryan – As both a Catholic and a resident of Wisconsin, you kind of expect Mr. Ryan to be a beer guy.  Oh, sure, he’s got to live up the squeaky clean image the Romney/Ryan campaign is trying to project and as an apparent P90X fitness nut, you don’t figure he goes for a couple of pints with the boys too terribly often.  Still, in a speech in Wisconsin shortly after nabbing the GOP Vice Presidential nod, he said, "My veins run with cheese, bratwurst, and a little Spotted Cow, Leiney’s, and some Miller."  Like him or not, you have to give the man props for putting New Glarus at the top of his list.

Mitt Romney – If you ask me, Mitt Romney doesn’t look much like a beer drinker.  I’d wager some 25 year-old scotch or a shaken-not-stirred Gibson is the more appropriate drink for the big cats he hobnobs with.  Wait, what?  Mormon, you say?  What do you mean?  You’re kidding!  At all?  Not AT ALL?  Ahem.  So, um, I guess Mr. Romney’s a teetotaler.  I’m suppose then that maybe homebrewing rights aren’t going to be a key tenet of his administration.  Sorry, Alabama.

Joe Biden – Now, just looking at Mr. Biden, you almost have to think of him as a party dude.  At least, I did.  I’m mean, he’s got a boisterous, all-smiles personality that’s largely reminiscent of a lifetime member of Animal House.  And not only that, but he’s Catholic too.  Everybody knows what we’re like, right?  In other words, can’t you see the Veep at a summer church festival with a tall souvenir mug, throwing money down on the Big 6 wheel and giving everyone that walks by a "thumbs up"?  Or is that just me?  Regardless, it’s way off the mark.  Our sitting Vice President also abstains from the evils spirits, and even enjoyed a "non-alcoholic" (less than 0.5% ABV) Buckler during the famous Beer Summit of 2009.  Something to keep in mind when he fires up his own, inevitable Presidential campaign in 2016.

Barack Obama – When it comes to our current Commander-In-Chief, one can see both pros and cons in his assumed beer preferences.  On the one hand, he seems positively jovial at the opportunity to engage in sharing a beer or two with his constituents.  Then again, given a choice of pretty much any beer in American to consume at the aforementioned 2009 "Beer Summit", Mr. President picked Bud Light.  All I can say for that is, well, at least at the time it was still an American company.  Either way, that’s not exactly the kind of response those of us who believe in better beer are looking from of the White House.  Then again, so what if he enjoys himself an American Light lager from time to time?  It’s not like a crime or anything.  Besides, what’s more important is that he’s turned the White House into a home brewery.  When you stop to think about White House Honey Ale and White House Honey Porter, it’s not hard to say that homebrewers, for sure, and craft beer drinkers, as well, probably haven’t enjoyed such a craft brew-friendly resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue since Thomas Jefferson or one of the post-Revolutionary Presidents.

So, is any of this really going to factor into your decision when your time comes in the voting booth this November?  Admittedly, probably not.  There are certainly bigger fish to fry in this election.  But, then again, when you consider that craft brewing has been a incredibly strong growth industry over the past for years, an bright spot in a sluggish economy that’s been providing solid jobs for Americans, perhaps the candidates should look at craft beer with a slightly more analytical eye.

Obviously, the US economy is the Big Issue in this year’s election, giving us contentious debates of tax policy and deficit spending.  But if you look past all that, I’m pretty sure that there’s a lesson to be learned from the humble, thriving, craft brewing industry.

Of course, I’m not a economist.  But I did drink a craft beer drink last night.


A-B Tries Yet Another Version of Bud Light

From Friday, November 11, 2011 edition of USA Today:

A-B to release new taste for Bud Light

Anheuser-Busch is coming out with a new version of Bud Light. Bud Light Platinum will have a slightly sweeter taste, 6% alcohol by volume and come in a cobalt-blue bottle. The brewer said the new product will hit shelves in late January. The company said the new brew is more a more upscale option for drinkers of light beer.

Is it me or does this sound like the sweet tea version of Bud Light?

Budweiser’s Select 55: Kinda sorta almost like beer.

I will let it be known at the outset of this review that I am not a fan of low calorie beer and never have been. In fact, had certain events not unfolded this past Sunday, I would have continued to happily skip along through life and perhaps never have even tried Select 55.

I attended the Swiss Wine Festival in Vevay, Indiana and was pleasantly surprised to find a “Beer Garden” on the map of the festival. My mind wandered and I was soon craving some sort of new beer that perhaps was only brewed in this small river area of Indiana. It was not to be. I was disappointed to find myself staring down a small collection of mega brewed fizzy yellow beer. Still craving a beer and undeterred I decided to try the only new thing I saw: SELECT 55

If Perrier and Bud Light had a baby, you would have SELECT 55. This new Super Ultra Light American Style Lager has not only taken calories to a new low aroma, appearance, and taste have also suffered the same fate.  What you end up with is barely yellow, highly carbonated, lightly malty, white bread scented beer with a finish that elicits memories of those times when the soda fountain runs out of syrup.  “Excuse me, sir. . . I think your beer tap is out of syrup. All I’m getting is carbonated beer flavored water”.

It was unremarkable in a very well rounded kind of way. The normal rating system I use to review beer would fail this beer before I even made it to the overall impression category, however I’m not going to fail it.  I’m going to give it a D- and recognize that there is a niche of people who want a beer but don’t want calories, taste, or perhaps just want to drink a nice ultra light fizzy beer after they finish a 5K.

Overall: D-

-Jared Whalen