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Dec 31, 2006 04:11 PM

Can Americans make good beer?

[We've split this from this discussion on the General Topics board, specifically Gary Soup's comment at:


It's not because the industry is large that it produces good products. Please don't attempt to state that American beer trumps the fine breweries of Europe. I can guarantee that a village pilsner in Czechoslovakia is much better than Dave's Honky Tonk Missouri Brew..

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  1. I'm in California, not Missouri (home of Budweiser). We have beers with a little more cachet than Dave's. And some of us believe that Pils is just code for Piss, regardless of where it comes from.

    1. It would help if you read Gary's comment before setting up a straw man in the form of Bud Light. He said "we probably have as big a variety of high-quality small brewery products as any country in the world..."

      American Budweiser is not a small brewery product.

      If you've never taken a tour through the wonderful world of American craft beers, I invite you to the Beer board here at Chowhound, where you will definitely learn plenty.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        Actually, if you read my post properly, you would note that I never mentionned Budweiser... I made up the name Dave's...

        1. re: swissfoodie

          So you're comparing a village beer in the Czech Republic to a fictional beer in America?

          What am I missing here?

      2. Having recently tried Victory Prima Pils, i would say it compares very favourably to the best Pilseners in the Czech Republic. I lived in Prague for a year and have to say drinking Pilseners all the etime got to be quite boring, thank god for U Flecku and side trips to Bavaria. Having lived in California now for about two years i would say the Russian River Brewery and their vast assortment of beers are much better than anything I had in the Czech republic. The west coast as a whole produces so many wonderful styles of beer that you could spend years trying and being pleasantly surprised by the product they can crank out.

        To call American craft brews "Dave's Honky Tonk missouri Brew" really shows your ignorance of the brewing scene here in the US. Also when comparing Czech Pilseners to American beer you have to remember that the Pilsener style is perfectly suited to the level of mineral content in the Central European water. So it would be unfair to compare their Pilseners to American pilseners(though Prima gets it right). Different styles of beer work better in different parts of the world. Oh and not to get too snarky but Czechoslovakia hasn't existed since the Velvet Divorce of over a decade ago.

        7 Replies
        1. re: MVNYC

          Here's a link to my tasting note on Russian River Brewing company's "Erudition", a Belgian-style farmhouse saison ale (and pizza) -

          1. re: MVNYC

            Victory Prima Pils is actually a German style pilsener.

            1. re: Chinon00

              The differences between Czech and German pilseners are really quite arbitrary.

              1. re: MVNYC

                In my experience they vary quite a bit.

                1. re: MVNYC

                  We can agree to disagree but from my experience (and I love Pils) there is a tendency for German Pils to be leaner or less malty than Czech Pils. Having said that it isn't an axiomatic statement.

                  1. re: Chinon00

                    Also, Germans typically use different hops, with noticeable difference in flavor.

                    1. re: Chinon00

                      Actually i would agree for the most part, I was basically pointing out that they tend to blur into one another due to the fact that the two countries boarder one another. Voctory to me tasted more like beers i had in the Czech republic, but beer advocate classifies it as a German style. Pilseners in the Czech republic vary so much it is hard for me to differentiate between the Czech and German styles as i personally find enough variation across both styles for them to intemingle as it may.

              2. Nice flame bait.

                "Please don't attempt to state that American beer trumps the fine breweries of Europe."

                Such generalized statements are worthless. Some people actually think Stella Artois is good European beer, so unless you're more clear about which "fine breweries" you're talking about your comment is meaningless.

                To answer the question posited in your subject line, can Americans make good beer, the answer is a resounding yes.

                In fact, American breweries have defeated several European brewers in international competitions over the years. My favorite example is Brooklyn Brewery's "Blanche de Brooklyn" beating out Hoegaarden in its category.

                American craft brewers have been making fantastic beers for the past decade, and are improving all the time.

                If you're really in Switzerland, then I am not sure if you get any good American beers out there, but if you come to Southern California I am sure you will be quite impressed at the quality of the beer made here.

                1. some pretty darn nice beer from Missouri:
                  Why should we look to Europe as the standard?
                  Because it's always been so?