The Twilight of the Good Ol' Pabst Blue Ribbon Era
Arts & Culture Editor
Expérience Bière / https://boutique.experience-biere.com/fr/
DISCLAIMER: This article does not encourage alcohol consumption and serves strictly educational purposes.
If we were to rewind my storyline back to November 2021, I most likely would have laughed in the face of anyone who claimed that a year later, I would be writing an article on beer. Back then, I deemed beer as an unlikable, last resort type of alcohol, and I don’t think the term “enjoyable” could have ever been employed to render my bitter (quite literally) experiences with beer as a genre. Manifestly, I was a foolish individual. But thanks to a series of fortunate events, the hateful caterpillar I was hatched into a tender-hearted, beer-loving butterfly, eager to lead you into the fascinating craft beer rabbit hole.
I am not the only one who suffered from an early conflictual relationship with beer: among friends and acquaintances, many people’s first experience was unimpressive. As innocent, underage teenagers, me and my friends were (sadly) grateful for any manufactured good that would keep us from sobriety. Nevertheless, the fact that so many are kept from entering the beer multiverse because of the prevailing brands that demean the entire beer family infuriates me. These labels distort the collective perception of what beer is, and I can only be sorry for my younger self who believed that what all beers would ever taste like was good ol’ Pabst.
Getting into decent beers is not an easy task for all, especially when considering the following question: Are craft beers an omen to a bourgeois stratum of our society? Upon reflection, it is not the case. People I’ve interviewed blatantly told me the prices were reasonable (usually anywhere between 3 and 8 dollars for a 473ml can), which echoes the consensus reached within the craft beer community. Indeed, for the price of any generic six-pack, you can opt for three top-tier brews instead. Nevertheless, the microbrewery spectrum is broad, and affordability fluctuates according to the beer’s attributes, the ingredients’ quality, as well as the given microbrewery’s prominence.
Especially today, cultivating a fondness for the genre has never been easier. Microbreweries’ beers are starting to populate grocery store shelves exponentially and specialized, beer-oriented boutiques are flourishing (where the workers are always eager to give brilliant suggestions and demystify the process of selecting the best suited beer to your taste). Furthermore, 46 of the top 100 beers in Canada are brewed in Quebec, according to BeerAdvocate. Still, why are these canned delicacies such a hit amongst the Quebec demographic?
For starters, craft beers offer a wonderful amalgam of flavours that will please any conceivable preference. Through the type of beer (lager, pilsner, brown or pale ale, India pale ale - widely known as ‘IPA’, stout, Belgian-style, sour, etc.), the style, the chosen grain(s), the aromas (from chocolate or honey to sour cherry and even coconut), the IBU (international bitterness unit) and ABV (alcohol by volume), as well as an array of other parameters, microbrewers are granted the power to become the alchemists of exquisitely unique, peculiar drinks. Whether to satisfy their growing clientele or personal fantasies, the sky is pretty much the limit when it comes to concocting craft beers.
It is additionally no surprise that microbreweries’ appeal contributes to their fulgurant popularity ascension. When I asked my pal Ariane what is so bewitching about craft beers, she responded that “the originality and the light-heartedness of it all make craft beers [her] go-to.” She also expressed how the locality of such products is an obvious added value, especially when considering the ecological and ethical qualities of our effervescent microbreweries. And I couldn’t agree more; the sustainability factor should definitely be taken into account when deciding on a drink.
Through discussions with beer comrades, I realized that craft beers brought a new dimension to one’s alcohol consumption. Not only do beers distilled in microbreweries incorporate an epicurean, discovery-seeking side to the experience, but they also refine the social components behind indulging in alcohol consumption. According to a fellow craft beer enthusiast, Hugh, his consumption habits took a turn when he developed an appreciation for microbreweries: “My past experiences drinking beer were not always great, to the point I felt like I needed to try something completely different.” He adds that discovering craft beers was an “eye-opener”. Others also brought up how, through craft beers, their intention shifted from “trying to get wasted” to genuinely enjoying what they were sipping.
I seriously wish I could write ten more pages in order to accurately convey how fond of craft beers I became (and flood The Plant’s November issue with even more microbrewery discourse). For me, craft beers are the liquid proof that alcohol’s value does not reside in its mind-altering properties, but rather in its ability to lead our papillae on a unique journey. For the sake of your tastebuds, give craft beers a chance. And remember, there is nothing as heart-warming as cracking open a cold one with the loved ones.
*Personal favourites among Quebec microbreweries*
- La Chasse-Pinte
- La Forge du Malt
- À la Fût
- Brasseurs du Monde
- Le BockAle
- La Souche
- Isle de Garde