Dallas Breweries Are Wisely Embracing the Light-Bodied Beer
Let me start by saying this: I love IPAs. There are few beers I enjoy more than a hoppy, coppery IPA that has a nice ABV to it. When I first got into craft beer it was through beers that weren't necessarily heavy or hoppy; Shiner Bock, Real Ale Fireman's 4, and St. Arnold's Lawnmower, are just a few that acted as a tipping point for me. Those are beers that don't have heavy bodies, and can be found at most restaurants that don't cater to serious beer drinkers. Though, like any fan of craft beer, eventually I settled into a particular style or two that I am most fond of, and serves as my go-to order when I am at a bar.
If you spot beer snobs at a bar, you'll see a lot of them ordering ordering stouts, IPAs, maybe even a barleywine, or some beer whose category starts with "Imperial." These are beers with complex flavors, heavy bodies, and typically higher ABV percentages. Stick around and you'll see one of them put back three or four IPAs and call it a night. By drinking a couple craft beers, they'll have a nice buzz thanks to a beer with real flavor.
However, if you look a few bar stools over, you'll undoubtedly see someone drinking a Bud Light and not even considering the bar's draft list. He is not there to enjoy a pint of Barrel-Aged Legion. Hell, he might not even know it exists. And while people like that are scoffed at or looked down upon by beer snobs, these are the people who make up the majority of beer consumers in the US. Having first gained notoriety in the 1970s thanks to Miller Lite, light lagers are the most popular beer style, by far.
But beer shaming Bud Light drinkers isn't going to get them to start buying something better. Being pretentious about beer does not attract new fans. It's just a way for some snob to pat themselves on the back for ordering a milk stout. Is that really any different than those people who act like kale gives them superpowers? The people drinking Bud Light do so for the same reason people buy Folgers coffee: it's cheap and it gets the job done.
What breweries need to do is make beer that has a wider appeal to the Bud Light drinkers of the world. We are starting to see this trend in our beloved local breweries: Franconia Pils, Tupps Texas Shade, Bitter Sisters' Busy Body, Lakewood Hopochondria IPA. Breweries are making beer for people who don't want heavy-bodied and/or high-ABV beers. Instead, they are making beer with fruity tones, lighter bodies, and lower ABVs. And that's good because sitting by a pool in the August heat drinking a 11% ABV imperial stout sounds miserable. Also, even the snobbiest of beer drinkers has a favorite light beer. (I love you, Lone Star.)
Of course, there are people who will disagree with me, but craft beer does not make up the majority of beer sales -- not by a long shot. And when breweries start appealing to the untapped potential of those people ordering bad beer, they'll find more customers and fans of macrobrews won't be buying abominations.
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