"I hear beery types say a lot that they don’t care who makes the beer, they only care about the quality of what’s in the glass. Bullshit, I say. We all have values and they affect how much we enjoy something. (...) I can enjoy a beer more if I know where it came from, if I know its story, if I know who made it, and yes — even if it came from a small place instead of a big one. Naturally, it helps if it doesn't taste like piss."I confess to being one of those beery types that says that bullshit. I don't say it as pose, but as a belief. However, believing is not the same as knowing and when presented with a reasonable argument I don't have a problem with my beliefs being challenged, and Joe's is a reasonable argument.
On more than one occasion I've seen "beery types" say the don't like lager/pils. Nothing wrong with that, but when asked, they will tell you that they've never been to Central Europe, the birthplace of these beers. They know lager/pils from, at best, quality beers from Germany and the Czech Republic that make it to their shores or something that is locally produced. But most of the times, that is not quite enough to understand a beer.
Not long ago I said that in order to understand a beer, ideally, you should drink it as close to its source as possible, immersed in the beer's own culture. It's something like the difference between seeing a lion in a zoo and seeing it frolicking in the African Savannah. The former can be fun and interesting, but it can't compare to the experience of seeing that animal in its natural environment, and for lager/pils the natural environment is the hospoda or the bierstübe, all the rest is not much more than a beer zoo.
This goes beyond the issue of freshness or the better care these beers will sure have in those places, it goes even beyond the places' authentic atmosphere. It's about the culture in which the beers were born and evolved, and the culture is part of the beer's story, as are the where, how, why and by whom they are brewed.
In other words, knowing the story of a beer (the true story, not a marketing fantasy) will help you understand the beer and understanding a beer can help you enjoy it better. In conclusion, Joe is quite right.
And now that I think of it, this is another reason why brewers should be more open and honest about their beers. What we have in the glass is still the only thing that really matters, but there are many factors that can affect our relationship with it.
3 stars Hotels in Prague with 75% discount.