Not sure why i’m writing this post now; this has been bugging me for a while. I guess i feel like i need to set the record straight before any more news stories appear about FTH.
First, i would like to thank everyone who has done a story on FTH thus far. Every single piece of publicity has been fair and sufficiently accurate on the key points. So far, no one has been hostile or attempted to misrepresent our cause in the media, which is a relief.
Nevertheless, there is one widely-held misconception out there (even among some who appreciate quality beer) which i think is significant enough to merit attention on freethehops.org. It has surfaced in more than one news story thus far, and i fear it may continue to persist if i don’t quash it now. I’m referring to the misconception that all really “good” beer is imported from overseas, and thus FTH is battling to get more “imports” into Alabama. In my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth.
Don’t get me wrong. Europe produces some amazing beers. There is a reason that countries like Germany, Belgium, and England are famous for their beer. There is a reason that Belgian Trappist Ales are legendary among those who appreciate fine beer. But truthfully, the best beer in the world is brewed right here in the United States. While i will be very happy to see the day when Chimay is found on the shelves of beer stores in Alabama, i will be even happier the day Dogfish Head beers are found on the shelves of stores in this state. And Stone. And Avery. And Great Divide. And the list just goes on.
Sadly, the bland, watery nature of American macro lagers has led to a long-standing categorization of beer in the minds of most Americans: Domestic vs. Import. You’ve all seen it countless times in restaurants that don’t boast a huge beer selection. They have (maybe) 7 or 8 beers, nicely divided into domestics and imports. Domestics are $3.50. Imports are $4.00. Of course what the average Joe doesn’t realize is that every single beer on that list, whether domestic or import, is nearly exactly the same style, a super pale, light-bodied lager.
Think about that for just a moment. There are over 100 different styles of beer in the world. Yet a majority of American restaurants only carry one style (and not a particularly good one, either). No wonder beer is so widely misunderstood in this country.
I recently made a “wish list” of breweries i hope will one day have distribution in Alabama. Some of these are very, very unlikely to end up on shelves here because they only have regional distribution far out West or way up North. But some of these have much larger distribution areas and some are even found in Tennessee and/or Georgia and/or Florida. So many will definitely make appearances here after these laws are changed. Take a moment to glance at the websites of just a short list of some of the larger craft breweries in America, which produce the best beer on earth:
Stone Brewing – http://www.stonebrew.com/tasting/overview.html
Great Divide Brewing – http://www.greatdivide.com/thebeers/
Avery Brewing – http://www.averybrewing.com/avery/Home
Brooklyn Brewery – http://www.brooklynbrewery.com/OurBeers/OurBeers.asp
Brewery Ommegang – http://www.ommegang.com/index.php?mcat=1&scat=0
North Coast Brewing – http://www.northcoastbrewing.com/brews.htm
Harpoon Brewery – http://www.harpoonbrewery.com/beers/index.htm
Bear Republic – http://www.bearrepublic.com/frameset.html
Allagash – http://www.allagash.com/beers.html
Victory Brewing – http://www.victorybeer.com/Beers/Beers.htm
Three Floyds – http://www.threefloyds.com/
Troutbrook Brewing – http://www.troutbrookbeer.com/
Heavyweight Brewing – http://heavyweight-brewing.com/beers.html
Kalamazoo Brewing – http://www.bellsbeer.com/brands.asp
Goose Island – http://www.gooseisland.com/beers/beers.html
Great Lakes Brewing – http://www.greatlakesbrewing.com/beerOurBeersRG.php
Smuttynose Brewing – http://www.smuttynose.com/pages/beers.html
Anderson Valley Brewing – http://www.avbc.com/beers/beers.html
AleSmith Brewing – http://alesmith.com/home/index.html
Founders Brewing – http://www.foundersbrewing.com/beer_styles.php
Deschutes Brewery – http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/Brews/default.aspx
Folks, those are the beers i’m fighting for. Not imports. The most creative, most innovative, most flavorful, highest quality beer on the planet is made right here in the good ol’ US of A. So please, if you would, don’t say we’re trying to get more “imports” in Alabama.