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Integrated Wisdom

When is Good Enough Not Really Good Enough?

In search of the perfect brewski.

Last year in the United States we consumed 28.2 gallons of beer for every individual over the age of 21. That boils down to about 10 ounces per day and that equals about a six pack a week for all of us who drink and are over 21. Think about that. When you filter out the number of us who don’t drink, (at least not beer), that’s a heck of a lot of suds. But wait, there’s more — and we haven’t even gotten to the point yet…

The largest selling brand, which is no surprise to anyone is Budweiser, second is Molson Coors. The state that drinks the most beer? If you guessed North Dakota, you would be correct. (But you would be fibbing, because no one guesses North Dakota for anything). Second place goes to New Hampshire, thirty fifth to North Carolina, and last but not least Utah. Thank goodness for the Mormons!

When it comes to the modern day phenomenon, craft beers, the leader of the pack is D.G. Yuengling & Sons.  

Yuengling, the oldest brew in the U.S.

Now about craft beers…

There are over 8,764 craft breweries in the US (as of 2020). I live in a small town where there are 7 craft breweries, which comes down to one craft brewery for every 1,500 people, Including newborns, tee-totalers and those of us who don’t touch the stuff. Again that’s a lot of suds!

Growing up in NYC, the largest city in the United States, we had basically three major brands: Rheingold, Schaefer, and Ballantine, and that was good enough to get us all happy on a Friday-after-work visit to the local Bar & Grill. 

Just to give you a blast from the past, or maybe show you something you didn’t know, here are the old-time jingles for these three brands — Ballantine features Mel Allen and Schaefer none other than Louie Armstrong…

But they’re not good enough anymore. Recently I went to dinner with my wife and another couple who asked the waiter what beer was served. He couldn’t have remembered all the brands if he was Mark Van Doren. He handed the couple a list with over 84 craft beers, most on tap. Then they asked “which ones are hoppy”?  Which are lagers and which use organic yeast and local water? Really! It’s just beer! 

Typical craft beer menu in many pubs.

The woman had a lager with a grapefruit infusion. The gent had a coffee infused royal stout, both fawned in utter delight over their choices. Not to be a stick in the mud, I had the seltzer in a martini glass with a twist of organic lemon and a bottle of water that I got from the stream out behind my house. My wife just shook her head and went straight to the salad.

When is really good enough, not really good enough, when we get the bug some have called ‘commodity fetishism’, buying for the sake of buying. I get it, that those who are aficionados prefer to have only the finest, and that makes sense. I also understand that drinking a craft beer brewed in your distinct locale can be a wonderful way to salute your home town…But when was an ice cold Ballantine not good enough, and when did a few Schaefers not throw you for a loop…

I guess good enough like everything else these days, is simply when you say it is!!!

Don’t get me started on the nonalcoholic beers… and, I might add, why are you drinking beer in the first place?  But that’s for another day.

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