I know these are dangerous waters in which to tread, and that I will soon be pilloried as a coastal elitist beer snob, but I must be true to my own deeply held beliefs. Anheuser-Busch, the controller of half the U.S. beer market, symbolizes everything that is wrong with America. With special emphasis on the foul stain upon the brewer's tradition that goes by the name Bud Light. Great-tasting? Have we all gone mad?
For true beer-lovers across the world, Budweiser is a joke. It's embarrassing. Since when does America mean watered-down pablum, forced down the throats of an unthinking populace by sheer power of mass-marketing muscle? Since when does America stand for homogenized, lowest-common-denominator swill? Michelob? Busch? These are not the names of American patriots -- these are signposts of the triumph of a particular strain of capitalism in which true identity and taste are sacrificed in the service of gaining greater market share.
If we're looking for real American icons that represent the grandest traditions of our Founding Fathers, who threw off foreign rule so they could stand independent and seek their own destiny, we have to search elsewhere than in the realm of giant conglomerates with humongous Super Bowl advertising budgets. I'm talking home brewers, microbreweries, and those brave, privately owned breweries that have yet to sell out to the false dream of "going public" -- and all the betrayal of brewer freedom that such slavery to the market implies.