"industrial beers have adjuncts that shouldn't be used"
"'it's rubbish because it's brewed with adjuncts"
"it'd be good if it wasn't for the adjuncts"
"craft beers are good and natural because they don't have adjuncts"
"we are craft brewers, we don't use adjuncts"
Dear brewers (and craftophiles), I'd be very grateful if you, once and for all, cut it out with all that because it's nothing but a big pile of steaming, stinking bullshit (bullshit, that I must admit, I used to believe).
The funniest thing about this is that there is a huge number of great beers, the mention of which can give boners to many a beer geek, that are brewed with "adjuncts". But of course, if, say, DeMolen fancies using maize in their new (yet another) Imperial Stout brewed in (yet another) collaboration with an American craft brewer, they are doing it because of the profile the grain will give to the beer and not because they want to "cut down costs". But when an evil industrial brewer does something similar, it's only because they want to cheap down their beer, sacrificing quality. And yet, DeMolen must still be brewing that beer (at least a tiny bit) cheaper than if it was 100% malt.
Now imagine the craftophile shitstorm that would follow if a beer super-villain said that the reason they use maize or rice is not so much economical, but qualitative. We could accuse them of liars (and perhaps rightly so), but actually, they have history on their sides. It's well known that Anheuser-Busch started to use maize (which would be later replaced by rice) in their Budweiser almost from the beginning because the six row barley that grew in the US wasn't all that suitable for a Czech style lager. The adjuncts were the best solution to get the right profile (the one people wanted to drink). And go figure! Even Germans knew of the virtues of rice for brewing (I've also heard that rice is great for head retention).
So, what's the problem then? Aren't rice and maize actually more natural than malts? Isn't it natural for a company to find ways to reduce costs? And if costs are the issue, what is the difference between a brewer that decides to use some adjuncts and another that switches supplier for malts or ditches one hop variety for another one that is cheaper?
The thing is that crap beers aren't crap because they are brewed with or without this or that kind of ingredients, it's because of the processes. If I had to choose between Alahambra Reserva 1925, with its maize, and a Lidlbräu like Greffenwalder Pils, I'd gladly let the slugs in my garden enjoy the Reinheitsgebot approved swill while I slowly sip the adjunct ladden beauty.
But the best example of this is the review Logia Cervecera made of Quilmes 1890 the other day. I've got no way to prove this, but I'm almost certain that 1890 is Quilmes Cristal without HGB. The 5.4% ABV suggests a 14º Plato gravity, which I've heard is the density at which Cristal is brewed before watering it down. It should be added to this that 1890 is likely to be given more time to ferment and/or mature. The result, according to the review, is a pretty good beer (3 points out of 5). In other words, (probably) the same recipe, with the same adjuncts in the same proportions, but with a less cheap process that results in a significantly better beer.
In sum, the key difference here is that when they make a crap beer, macros know very well what they are doing, which is not something that can be said about not few micros.
So, dear brewers, leave that inferiority complex and the "sloganism" behind, act more like grownups and, if you dare, start talking more about the things that really make a difference.
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