By Dianne Boate and Robert Meyer
We have talked off and on about writing
about beer. But when it comes down to doing it, the size and
scope of the subject is formidable. It has been around a
long, long time and almost every country in the world makes
it. Line up ten people about their favorite beer and you
will get ten answers, all of them right! Listening to beer
commercials can make you dizzy. So this month we posed a
question to our Informal Panel of Friends, mostly rabid wine
drinkers, to see what they have to say.
Here is the question
Would you give your opinion about beer’s place in the world
Here are some answers
Beer is a very important component of the beverage spectrum.
It is refreshing and flavorful and accompanies many foods.
In many instances, beer is the first experience one has with
alcoholic beverages. Beer is produced worldwide and is
affordable for the general populace.
Ed Delmon: San Francisco
Coincidentally, I was slurping up one of O’Doul’s
Non-alcoholic Ambers when your note arrived. That one’s
readily available at my usual supermarket, along with
several hundred other varieties of alcoholic brands. How can
I not like beer when I had grandfathers on both sides of the
house (Stadtmiller and Coleman) who were brewers? (The Ways
were teetotalers, but we converted them—to beer and then
Jim Way, Hendersonville, North Carolina
”In the world of beverages, beer ranks right after mother’s
Paul A. Danielak, Jr., Pasadena
Beer place is higher when it is opened, poured into a glass,
and tasted in the country it is supposed to be produced in.
San Miquel-Philippines, Bohemia-Mexico, etc.
Ed Fogelman , Mill Valley
Beer’s place in the world of beverages is probably higher
and more well-established than wine. Except for a few areas,
such as South Africa, France, and a few areas in California,
Chile, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, the rest of
the world drinks mostly beer. And beer has been around a lot
longer than wine, too. I, of course, like wine better most
of the time, but beer is my beverage of choice with certain
foods and at certain times.
I am appalled at what has happened to beer in the last 20 or
30 years or so. Beer, by it’s very nature, does not travel
well. It is much better when consumed close to the brewery a
relatively short time from being brewed. In order to make
and sell beer in huge quantities, brewers have made beer
waterier and waterier with less and less flavor. That way,
it holds its “flavor” better (when there isn’t any, it can’t
lose it). Then they have advertised this awful beer by
sponsoring sporting events all over the world, including
England, Ireland, Holland, and Germany (probably the best
brewers in the world), until even in these countries
these common products are more popular than the local great
Ron Hildebrand, San Francisco
When you need a refreshing cold drink that offers a bit more
bite than a soft drink or fruit juice, beer fits the bill.
And it helps balance a meal from Mexico, Japan, China,
Thailand and Germany.
Gary Meyer, Oakland
I think beer is a fine beverage, but lacks the prestige and
overall image wine provides. Beer is great and sometimes
better to accompany certain ethnic foods. For young adults,
it’s great they can drink it at 18, in those states that
allow it. However, as a person becomes 21 and learns about
wine, beer becomes less of a regular beverage with meals and
is only drunk on hot days, with certain ethnic meals, and in
countries where wine is not as plentiful.
Syndi Seid, San Francisco
I’ve heard it said many times that it takes a really good
beer to make a good wine. Winemakers almost never drink wine
when they are making it. It’s too hot and hard work. There’s
nothing like a good beer at moments like that. Without
refreshed winemakers, who knows what might happen
Mike Denny, San Francisco
William Penn said in describing small drinks (beer vs
spirits), “the smaller the drink, the clearer the head and
the cooler the blood, which are great benefits in temper and
Don Partier, Sausalito
In Nottingham, there is the oldest pub of England, built in
1189. This a very old and charming place with a lot of
history. It starts with the Christian expeditions to
Jerusalem. The name of the pub is YE OLDE TRIP TO JERUSALEM.
Beers are excellent and the toilet modern!!! Jean Pierre
I do enjoy a brew, espcially when working in the yard or the
vineyard. I like the lighter lager style beer. A Bud is also
great for the heavy carbonation. Needless to say, beer is
here to stay, especially in the sports world. . . like
NASCAR (the $$$ spent this weekend and at the Superbowl?
God, it’s almost ambarrissing. Paul Rogers, Napa
BEER BUST 1985
This was a very illuminating experience about beer.
Because of our wine connections, we were introduced to a
professor at University of California who was planning a
reception for 4,000 visiting scientists from around the
world. He wanted high-quality wines and some good food.
Robert started on the wine part; Dianne organized the food
(sour dough bread, Marcel et Henri pate, Marin French
cheese,sausages from Sonoma.....our local delicacies!) and
the decor: enormous bouquets of bright sunflowers with
sprays of eucalyptus leaves. Somewhere along the line,
someone thought about serving beer. So Robert started in on
getting beer. This was 20 years ago, but even so, there was
a wide array of foreign and domestic beer available in San
Francisco and Robert outdid himself in quality and quantity.
On the night of the event, there was a happy hum in many
languages. Our plan was working! But the big surprise was
leftover wine. Beer was the beverage of choice, and there
was not a drop to be found at the end of the evening.
Dianne Boate is a San Francisco-based writer and
photographer. Her work can be seen at danielakart.com.
Robert Meyer is a consultant to the wine and spirits
industry. The most fun they ever had beer drinking together
was at the Amber Brewing Company in Alaska.