A Case of Jaundice
By 1975, we all knew that American beer was in trouble because it was getting thinner and more yellow. By 1977 I was belaboring these breweries about their miserable, tasteless beers, at a time when the world produced so many wonderful brews. That was the year Michael Jackson’s World Guide came out, for which I was grateful. (I couldn’t afford travel to Europe and all of those other places, just to try their beers. Anyway, I was having too much fun making them at home.)
A local delicatessen asked me to write a column about beer for a customer newsletter to be published monthly. There wasn’t much to write about the good taste of beer at that time. The lead-off paragraph of my first piece said it all.
“Do you find yourself drinking more beer these days, and enjoying it less? An increasing number of Americans are finding themselves in this dilemma. American beer has become lighter and lighter, until finally one is forced to concede that it is indeed ‘water.’”
I concluded that, for the most part, there was no diversity of choice in American beers, even though there were labels aplenty. My conclusion: “If you taste one American beer, you’ve pretty much tasted them all.” At that time I had tasting notes for some 120 beers from the U.S. and other countries; I actually knew what I was talking about!