03 Aug 2010 @ 8:37 AM 
 

Crappy industrial lager by any other name still tastes like ass.

 

Let me introduce you to one of my largest pet peeves: The feeling that just because I’m eating a food from a certain culture or country that I somehow need to be served the crappy industrial lager of that country.

Chinese food? Tsingtao. Japanese food? Sapporo. Mexican food? Corona. Italian food? Birra Moretti. Indian food? Kingfisher.

Not to mention Lion Lager, Castle Lager, Aguila, Tiger, Singha, Kirin, Sol, Dos Equis, Tusker, Orion, Red Stripe, Jinlan, Peroni, Carib, Tecate, Modelo, Pacifico, Taj Mahal, San Miguel, Presidente, Brahma, Saigon, Chang, Saku, Bali Hai, and on and on and on.

That’s just a few – a very, very, very few – of the hundreds of brands of light industrial lager made ’round the world, branded specifically for the country that they’re being sold in, and then served to me in a restaurant under the auspices that this will somehow go well with the food because the name sounds right.

Can we stop this, please? It’s sad and embarrassing. Pair by flavor, not by name. It suggests that the beer is a decoration rather than a beverage.

Let me tell you why my favorite sushi restaurant is my favorite:

Is it the best sushi around? It’s good, but not the best.

Is it the always-on buy-one-get-one-free special? Eh, nice, but an excuse to overcharge.

Is it the fact that have the most authentic decor? Not even remotely.

Is it the swarthy staff of Latinos assuming that most Americans won’t be able to tell the difference between South American and South Asian? Well. That is pretty amusing.

Is it because of the flavorful range of sakes? Close, but no cigar.

It is because I can get craft beer there that actually goes well with the sushi. I can get good sushi with good beer. Not great sushi with shitty beer. Not shitty sushi with great beer. But good sushi with good beer. Is that too much to ask?

Would it be so hard for a Mexican restaurant carry an IPA? The food is practically made for it.

I don’t want to suggest that there are no well-made international lagers. There are, and they have their place in cuisine and fine drinking. But the majority – the vast majority – of “international” beers out there are nothing more than the same old crap you get everywhere else: watered down, DMS-y, over-carbonated, light lager. What’s worse? They’re all made by the same 3 companies and just marketed differently. I would be shocked to find out that there are anything but superficial differences in the recipes.

So, come on restaurants, let’s cut the crap. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and guess that you’re in business because you think the food you serve tastes good. So why would you serve something less than excellent as a beverage to go with your cuisine? You can put the crappy international lager on the menu if it makes you feel more authentic, but support your local brewery and save a spot in your cooler for some actual good, flavorful beer that compliments your food. Your diners will thank you.

Tags Tags: ,
Categories: beer-food pairing, industry, marketing
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 03 Aug 2010 @ 08 37 AM

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Responses to this post » (20 Total)

 
  1. notaro says:

    mmm, industrial lager

  2. As a tip, Cinco de Mayo on Franklin and Estes has a great craft beer selection. Well, great for a Mexican restaurant. Say 20 taps or so. http://www.chapelhillncmexicanrestaurant.com/

    • Kiki says:

      . HOWEVER, Woman B claimed she had never said antihyng to A about my wife spreading the rumors and that she was simply concerned about her. She was sorry, apologized, but understood if my wife didn’t trust her as a friend. My wife was hurt, but choose to forgive woman B and move on and attempt to repair things with woman A.The next morning, woman B went to A and told her what my wife had done to her. Woman A was concerned about the accuracy of the information she was getting from B. Woman A asked her again if she was sure that what she had said at the party was true, including the party about my wife telling many different people and maliciously attempting to start the rumors. B said this was all true again, and that my wife was really upset with A and wanted to bring her down with what she said.A week later, my wife tried to talk to woman A to apologize for what was said. Woman A would not even look at my wife. She said she was done with her as a friend. She explained that woman B had come back to her to tell her she had been talking about her AGAIN, and she reiterated about the fact she had been spreading the rumors maliciously and my wife wanted to hurt woman A. None of this was true. Woman A called my wife a slew of fowl language in front of me, in front of dozens of her close friends and in front of many of my wife’s friends. She stated that she was lying because woman B had said these things to her twice, and that she wouldn’t lie.My wife is woman A’s boss. Woman A is letting this effect her work. Woman A has cut off all communication with my wife outside of work. Woman B is now completely avoiding my wife entirely as well as woman B’s husband, who is a close friend of mine.My wife forgave them both for what happened. Several weeks has passed. I have a hard time forgiving these people and wanted them to ever be back at our home. They were both very good friends of my wife’s and now she feels alone and isolated because her two best friends destroyed their friendship. I even lost a close friend. The collateral damage goes very deep, since these were mutual friends of almost everyone we know.My wife wants me to move on, but I have such a hard time with that. My wife was trying to do the biblically accurate thing to hold a fellow sister in christ accountable and her other sister in christ; who was not a new christian, but a strong one, threw it in her face. She broke her trust not once, but twice.I just think she doesn’t need to be friends with these people if this is how they treat their relationships. I don’t feel comfortable having them around my home if this is what they choose to do.What do you think?

  3. erik says:

    They do! I went there on your recommendation. 🙂

    Funny story: The last time I went there we had a waiter who really didn’t speak much English, and I ordered an Arrogant Bastard and he kinda looked surprised, and mumbled something quickly and scurried off.

    A few minutes later, a girl came over to the table and said, “Uhh.. can you tell me what you ordered? I don’t think he understood what you said.”

    Poor guy. I just wanted a beer.

  4. Sean W says:

    Well said! I agree 100% and hope some restaurants take note of this request.

  5. Big Tex says:

    And this typically why I refrain from ordering a beer when I go eat ethnic food: the beer sucks. Once in a while, Mexican food will find me with a Negra Modelo.

  6. ingrate says:

    Seconded, Big Tex. When I order from south of the border it is either Negra Modelo or Xingu (Brazilian Black Lager).

    • Jessica says:

      that we should foirgve and forget’. Even if this were actually possible, we are certainly not required to even attempt anything like it if they are unrepentent and likely to offend again on the same serious way. We are entitled to say within ourselves something like: whilst I have handed calling you to account over to God, and whilst I pray that you will see the light, understand what you have done and repent, and apologise so that we can safely be reconciled, I now know you and what you are like, and I choose to guard my heart and the hearts of those under my protection, and (for the time being anyway) to love you in absence.By doing this, as well as protecting ourselves (we are not called to continually cast our pearls in front of swine’) and giving ourselves time and space for our own healing, we give those who have done us wrong the chance to experience that we no longer seek their company, but at the same do not carry any resentment towards them. If it is God’s will that we should be reconciled to them and resume an active friendship, then this course of action can have a powerfully positive challenging effect. If it does not, then it is better that we let them go and enable God to give us something/someone else instead.We hope you find this reply of help.God bless and guide you.

    • This piece was cogent, well-written, and pithy.

  7. AND…there in is the problem…unfortunately.

    Many restaurants will keep on selling crap beer (though I have to admit I don’t exactly mind a Sapporo from time to time) simply because it sells, is advertised very well, and in most people’s mind…seems to fit “perfectly” just the same way a Bud Light fits into the club/football/everything else scene.

    I hate it too, because despite the fact that I can find a Sapporo refreshing, it doesn’t match Sushi at all. Corona’s don’t match Mexican food…what the hell is a Corona anyway?!?!?! And so on…

    The problem isn’t the lack of great beer options, it’s the lack of people knowing about them OR far worse yet in my opinion, caring about it.

    And let’s be honest…putting a Rouge or Oskar Blue’s beer on the beer list at most places and especially chains just isn’t going to sell to well unless it’s pushed just right.

    Either way, great post and VERY much agreed 🙂

    Ilya

  8. Steven says:

    I think a lot of restaurants (Well…at least in the DC area) are starting to catch the grasp of craft beer and food. Of course no craft beer will beat out a crappy light lager, but more and more people are realizing that there is choice out there, and within time, I think they will benefit from a diverse beer selection, just like they do with wine.

    • Steven,

      I seriously agree with your statement there!

      We can see that happening all over the craft beer culture and all over the country with beer drinkers everywhere. You can only sell crap for so long until people start catching on. Every time I visit a speciality shop, Whole Foods etc, I can see it more and more….

      …People hanging around the beer aisle which is virtually all craft beer, choosing and trying different craft beers from all over.

      It’s not catching on nearly the same here in Dallas as in DC, BUT down in Austin for example, it’s ramping up more and more.

      Would I love to see more and more craft beers make the list at a lot of local restaurants? Hell yes! Is it going to happen? Perhaps…and we can only hope that it does…

      P.S. It would be great to see things such as beer & food pairing suggestions just as there are wine on the menu’s, walls, from waiters…etc…BUT only if it’s good beer 😉

      Ilya

  9. Robert says:

    I took a trip to Kinston NC this weekend with some college friends to check out Mother Earth’s taproom, and while we were there we were guided over to the Chef and the Farmer for dinner. This is a fantastic place serving up gourmet food and has an equally impressive beer list to go along with the meal (the wine list is probably even more impressive but I know so little about wine I dont dare to comment on it). There were plenty of GOOD bottles to choose anything from a good crisp kolsch to a big double IPA. It does suck that so many places have and will continue to serve crap, but at least one place is getting it right, and hopefully others will follow.

  10. detlefchef says:

    Ever since we opened Jujube, we didn’t serve Asian beers for all the reasons given above. Long before I got as into craft beers as I am now, I did know one thing, Tsing Tao sucks ass as a beer. Chinese Pilsners aren’t all that bad when you’re in China. Mostly because it’s hot and they’re cold. Well, that and that’s all we had to drink. But out here, I had a ton of great craft beers to choose from.

    Finally, after 5 years of people basically heckling me about how silly it was to have an Asian restaurant with no Asian beers, I found one that wasn’t half bad. Saigon. Mind you, I’ll drink pretty much anything else on the list instead. On the beer list, where I write something about each beer, I basically said, “There you go, here’s your Asian beer.” It sells OK, mostly it saves me the hassle of going through the song and dance.

    I’m proud that my Mexican place Dos Perros has about as interesting a craft beer selection as you’ll find around and doesn’t sell Corona. We do sell Pacifico, Bohemia, Carta Blanca, and Negro Modelo, but I actually like those beers.

  11. @Detlefchef

    Thanks for that post! It’s nice to see a response and a side from an actual restaurant owner…or another one I should say.

    I can’t say I like Pacifico or Saigon, but I have to have respect for that the fact that you just won’t serve crap beer if you really believe it’s crap despite everything else.

    Hats off to you!

    ilya

  12. detlefchef says:

    First off, in fairness, we’re a bit “higher end” than most Asian or Mexican places.

    Also, I think Pacifico has it’s place, you know, lawnmower beer. When you really need water but would prefer a beer. Working years in the kitchen, one always holds a place in one’s heart for a beer like this. There’s not an IPA made that tastes as good as a cheap lager when it’s your first beer after the shift. So it has sentimental value for me. Well, that and we sell the hell out of it. I’ve certainly learned the hard way that not everyone is looking to have their mind blown and sometimes it’s just easier to take someone’s money and give them what they want than try to educate them.

    Saigon, that’s another story. I have to admit that I’m annoyed by the fact that I’ve been bullied into selling it. Frankly, I basically tried all the Asian crap that people brought me until I found one I didn’t loathe. Unfortunate, really, considering that every other beverage on our list is held to a much higher standard. I mean, neither our craft beer or wine lists are long enough to include all the beers or wines I like, yet I waste a space on a beer I can merely tolerate (well, two actually because I have to have a light beer as well and carry HPL).

    Oh well, those who know go to the good stuff and those who don’t…

    • Claudio says:

      My wife and I have been very blessed in our lives. We have also lived thougrh very tight times ( I. E., blood donations.) We have always felt the love if others. Many times, we picked up the bill for another at a resturant. Other times we paid for another’s groceries. Another time we put together a baby shower for a lady we never met who left an abusive home. Instead of money, we gave a man in the rain a sleeping bag, a coat, and accessories along with a gift card for a meal at Denny’s. When my wife ad I ran into financial issues, we were blessed by people who remained anonymous with a $500 gift card twice. We always asked why. We had a very hard time accepting. Why us? LovePay it forward It will come back when needed

  13. Bubba says:

    Hey how much ass have you tasted???

  14. erik says:

    More than I’d care to admit.

    • Miki says:

      Anja – King Arlo , love it!What a beautiful day in the life of the Howell famliy captured. Just being.Impossible to name a fave but for I kinda love the one of Arlo reaching for Dad’s coffee mug. Dad playing peekaboo. And don’t even get me started on Tiffany. Love that another, impromptu shoot came from this.

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