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What is the deal with Stella?

I mean seriously - I am seeing this beer everywhere. The latest bummer was seeing it on a handle at the hotel bar where I'm staying. Last year they had Pilsner Urquell, and now Stella.

I can't understand why such a mediocre beer like this is achieving such market penetration.

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    1. re: rob133

      I guess what bugs me about it is the incredibly obvious inorganic nature of its popularity. It's a 100% manufactured phenomenon, where people only know about it because it's been stuck in front of their faces by large marketing dollars. It's not something like good microbrew, where popularity spreads based on things like merit and flavor.

      People are sheep, though, and will fall for any marketing campaign it seems, provided it's put together properly.

      Stella has a fancy name/glass, and is from Belgium, therefore it must be good!

      I remember the first time I had it, someone brought a sixer over to someone's house. I had heard of the beer, and that it was Belgian, so was curious to try it. First mouthful in I knew that I'd been had. Another bogus crap import beer for people to feel sophisticated ordering. Blech.

      1. re: Josh

        Stella has been brewing beer since 1366 and you think it's a fad?

        1. re: RachaelRaysConscience

          Assuming that's true, do you really suppose today's Stella Artois is the same thing SA's brewers were making all those hundreds of years ago?

          And, yes, boring, nondescript Stella has only become popular in the US in recent years.

          1. re: Kenji

            Well, I'm old but I wasn't around during the 14th century and therefore can't tell. However, Bavarian beer, since the adoption of the German Beer Purity Law of 1516, supposedly has remained remarkably consistent since then. Doesn't this argument boil down to personal preference, if you like dark, hoppy more complex beers Stella won't cut it but if you happen to like a crisp, clean lager (and yes I think Stella is crisp and clean and I love it) then Stella fits the bill.

            1. re: RachaelRaysConscience

              While the Artois brewing company (now InBev) is old, the "pils" style of beer was first developed in the mid-1800's and the brand/beer Stella Artois was first brewed in the 1920's as a Christmas beer, and was later turned into a full time offering.

              As for the "German Beer Purity Law of 1516", the Reinheitsgebot, here's a different view of it- http://www.xs4all.nl/~patto1ro/reinhe...

                1. re: RachaelRaysConscience

                  Ya mean the subtitle of "why it's a load of old bollocks" isn't enough?

                  Different than the opinion that most beer aficionados (*including* myself, at one time) have about the Reinheitsgebot, it's origins and it's current incarnation.

                  1. re: JessKidden

                    I didn't pass judgement on or offer an opinion of the Beer Law of 1516, I merely made an observation. It's an interesting read, that article you point to. I'm still digesting it but I'll offer one brief observation: with the wide variety of beer available from around the world I think if a particular culture chooses to approach it in the way the Germans do that's up to them and it just contributes to the variety and choices available. The similarities and analogies are obvious: parmigiano reggiano is made according to strict rules going back centuries, and balsamic vinegar from Modena is approved by the consortium according to very strict and very old rules. There are also excellent parmigian cheeses not from the Parma / Reggio region and great balsamic vinegar not from modena, but having the heritage and history of those products just makes the whole experience of tasting and learning the differences between all the available products even more enjoyable. What I like best about the Beer Law of 1516 (and I'm no expert on the subject) is the cultural aspect of it, its effect on the modern day German culture, especially Bavarian culture which I am more familiar with than up North. Munich is Beer City, the appreciation the people have for beer there is something to behold. Now, I don't know how much of that can be attributed to the 1516 law, but to drive around Munich and see a 70 year old man riding a bike with a case of empties towords the local brewery for new supplies just warms my heart. And I just love Bavarian lagers and wheat beer, I even like that mixture of wheat beer and lemonade (I know, I know) so, to my palate at least, they seem to be doing something right. I'm curious what you think of Bavarian beers, as you obviously know your stuff?

                    1. re: RachaelRaysConscience

                      "And I just love Bavarian lagers and wheat beer, I even like that mixture of wheat beer and lemonade (I know, I know) so, to my palate at least, they seem to be doing something right. I'm curious what you think of Bavarian beers, as you obvious know your stuff?"

                      Sorry but the wheat beers are outlawed by the Reinhotsgeibot(sp) of 1516. Only malt, water and hops. Yeast was added after it was understood. Wheat is not permitted in pure beer.

                      Germany grabbed the lager style and made it theirs, but it is not the only way to make good beer. Try a Fullers ESB for a good easy dinking beer with taste.

                      1. re: RachaelRaysConscience

                        The history of beer dates back literally THOUSANDS of years. By that standard, the Reinheitsgebot is a relatively recent development. Germany is far from the be-all, end-all of brewing.

                        Belgium has a brewing tradition dating back many centuries, and the appreciation of great beer in that country is everywhere, and they didn't need a special purity law to make that happen. In fact, their beers often violate that law by incorporating ingredients apart from the four it specifies.

                        In any event, you completely missed a key point in what I said. Pilsner Urquell is neither dark, nor especially hoppy, nor particularly complex. It is, however, definitely a more interesting and better beer than Stella. People who like good beer aren't just sitting around drinking dark beer, or hoppy beer.

                        1. re: Josh

                          If you like Pilsner Urquell, try a czechvar

                          1. re: chrisinroch

                            Having read Josh's posts on this board for a while, I sure he's familiar with Czechvar and wasn't really looking for a "replacement" for 'Urquell just mentioning the fact that it was gone and replaced by Stella at that hotel.

                            OTOH, the future of Czechvar aka correctly as "Budweiser" is somewhat cloudy these days, since it looks as if the Czech gov't is ready to sell with A-B the most likely buyer. (Gee, add one "minus" to the list of pluses and minuses re: the fall of Communism in Europe.)

                            Now, I sort of doubt that A-B would drop the brand/beer - altho' if they did, they'd actually SAVE money on legal costs, according to this article http://e-malt.com/IndexNews.asp?Email...
                            -I could see them selling it as ORIGINAL BUDWEISER or BUDWEISER EUROPEAN CLASSIC EDITION or something <g>. I doubt they'd even tamper with the recipe; "modernizing" the brewery?- maybe- as Pilsner Urquel did to some negative impact on the beer.

                            I keep saying I'm going to pick up some in 1/2 liter brown bottle next time I see it fresh from A-B's new Import division (sadly the previous importers' stuff sits around a long time from what I've seen) and now it seems even more important to get it from the Czech-owned brewery while it's still available.

                          2. re: Josh

                            But the beer you're insulting comes from this admittedly fabulous beer culture of Belgium, and the Brewery that makes it dates back to 1366, well before the 1516 German thingy. The fact that they thought this was a good beer to market to the American market - and were right about it - you could hold against them if you want, I guess. I do get your point that you prefer Pilsner Urquel and that they spend relatively little on advertising (and therefore earn their business) compared to Stella. However, to be honest, I find the two very similar. Close enough at least that even a more sophistictaed pallet than mine would like both if they like one. How do they differ, do you think?

                            1. re: RachaelRaysConscience

                              Stella is a euro pale lager while Pilsner Urquel is (as you might guess) a Pilsner and thus is more aggressively hopped (among other things). But before I go any further I know the YOU think that they taste similar and in today's world what the individual THINKS is all that seems to matter anymore.

                              1. re: RachaelRaysConscience

                                Stella doesn't come from the beer culture of Belgium. Stella may be made in Belgium, but it's no more Belgian than Budweiser made in the US is a Czech pils. Stella is a bland euro lager, indistinguishable from Heineken, St. Pauli Girl, or Beck's.

                                Urquell to me has a noticeable hop character absent from Stella. It's also got a bit more body and is not as light.

                                Really I just find it amazing to see the power of marketing at work.

                              2. re: Josh

                                "better beer"?
                                How do you quanitfy "better"?
                                You mean that you prefer it?

                        2. re: JessKidden

                          Huh. I never read the law before. Didn't realize it prohibits dry-hopping. Wonder what the reason for that is?

                          1. re: Bat Guano

                            I doubt dry-hopping had even occurred to anyone at the time of the Reinheitsgebot.

                            1. re: Kenji

                              the new schneider-brooklyner hopfen-weisse claims to be the first dry- hopped beer made in germany. the idea of dry-hopping still hasn't occured to most german brewers!

                              1. re: warrenr

                                Well, if nobody was doing it then why bother to outlaw it? Obviously it had occurred to somebody - namely whoever wrote the law! Maybe the frugal Germans were trying to conserve expensive hops?

                                1. re: Bat Guano

                                  Josh, have you been to Belgium? You'd be cursed right out of town if you told them that Stella is no more Belgian than Budwesier. They do love their Stella.

                                  1. re: naven

                                    It's my understanding that the Belgian breweries are doing so well these days because of the American demand for abbey-style beer. Not necessarily because of large-scale local affinity.

                                    1. re: peetoteeto

                                      It's on tap Everywhere. Every country loves their pale lagers. Just like Heineken is on tap everywhere in it's home city of Amsterdam. EVERYWHERE.

                                      1. re: naven

                                        naven speaks the truth. Very popular in Belgium. That and Jupiler are tasty and refreshing. No one will confuse it with a complex brew. It is a consistent beer.

                                      2. re: peetoteeto

                                        If you looked at the statistics I expect you'd find the lion's share of Belgian beer sales in the US consist of Hoegaarden and Stella Artois.

                                    2. re: Bat Guano

                                      The Reinheitsgebot does not say anything specific about dry-hopping; it's only by implication that the practice it prohibited.

                                      1. re: Kenji

                                        Well, according to the translation posted in a link somewhere above, it says hops can only be added before or during the "simmer" phase (I assume that means the boil) - which means no dry-hopping. So yeah, it doesn't say 'dry-hopping,' or whatever the German for it would be, but the way it's written pretty much defines (non) dry-hopping.

                                        1. re: Bat Guano

                                          Are you referring to this (edited for brevity)-

                                          "#5- Hop powder, hops in other milled forms and hop extracts may be used in brewing, so long as these products comply with the following requirements:... Hop extracts must.... only be added to the wort before or during the simmering phase."

                                          http://www.xs4all.nl/~patto1ro/reinhe... under "German Beer Law" a little over half way down.

                                          So, it seems to me that true dry-hopping with whole flower hops is allowed, only "hop extract dry hopping" is banned.

                                          1. re: JessKidden

                                            Yes, that's what I was referring to. I sort of glossed over the first part of the rule, and misinterpreted it as a total ban. Thanks for straightening me out. Sorry for getting so far off-topic, too. Stella really sucks!

                                            1. re: Bat Guano

                                              from a practical manner, can anybody think of a german beer that uses dry-hopping? None of the ones that i drink have the beautiful "in your face" hoppy nose that I typically see with dry-hopped beers.

                                              1. re: chrisinroch

                                                The Schneider Brooklyner Hopfen Weisse is the one that leaps to mind
                                                (tho' some might consider it not only "untraditional" but only "half German" as well?).

                                                For "in your face" hoppiness from a German pils (can't recall if it's dry hopped, tho'), I suggest a fresh bottle of Jever but, as has been discussed in this forum before, you must only buy it out of a closed case (preferably with a least 6 months to go on the "Best By" date), otherwise what'll be "in your face" is the scent of many beer drinker's least favorite white-striped animal (the one critter that no brewer has yet to name a beer after AFAIK...).

                                                1. re: JessKidden

                                                  I had a Jever on tap on my recent trip to Europe, i will have to admit when I am wrong. It was really good. i might but a case now here in the US

                                                  1. re: MVNYC

                                                    You could just bypass that whole Jever minefield and get some cans of Sly Fox Pikeland Pils (very similar stylistically), if you can find it in NYC. Damn fine beer, and it just won Gold at the GABF.

                                                    1. re: TongoRad

                                                      My Pilsener spot is usually occupied by Victory, but I will give this a shot too if i see it. Thanks for the tip

                                                      1. re: MVNYC

                                                        Sly Fox's Pikeland Pils has pretty much replaced Prima Pils as my number one choice for pils (altho' it's not as easy to find, and when found, is often not as fresh- tho' the cans obviously help in that regard). And it's darn cheap, as far as craft beer goes- I pay around $25 a case in NJ.

                                                        Altho' both Pilsner Urquell (really like the 1/2 liter cans) and Jever are still on the list, as well. For Jever, also pay attention to the "best by" date (both on the label and the end side of the cardboard case)- they give it 1 year apparently- I'm not so generous and look for it with at least 6 months to "go".

                            2. re: RachaelRaysConscience

                              I agree - not sure about the US but it's been at large and very popular in Canada for years. Love the Stella challis too :)

                          2. re: RachaelRaysConscience

                            The beer Stella is selling today isn't anything close to what was brewed in 1366. In fact nobody was able to brew a clear beer successfully until the mid 1800 when Pilsner Urquell basically invented the style. 1366 is pure marketing.

                      2. It rides the wave of Belgian beer being good I think. In new York and london it is very popular. I think because the name sounds different and it really is just Belgian macro lager people seem to gravitate towards it. It is non threatening yet sounds exotic. Marketing and name recongnition plays a large roll in what people drink.

                        As an aside, my British friends call Stella the wife beater beer because to them it is so high in alcohol. This cracks me up becuase it is only about 5.2% but compared with the typical british bitters and lager I guess it is high. To me a 7% beer is sessionable.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: MVNYC

                          Inbev has done a good job of selling Stella Artois as an upscale beer, reportedly requiring draught accounts to serve the beer in its own glassware, which is elegant IMO.

                          1. re: Jim Dorsch

                            i agree with you, it is a nice glass. Good marketing.

                            1. re: Jim Dorsch

                              You mean the official Stella "challis" - love it too. Love getting a free one with purchase at the liquor store even more!

                            2. re: MVNYC

                              I must chime in off topic just a bit; 7% beer is "sessionable". I envy your liver.

                              1. re: Chinon00

                                Yeah a six pack of a nice IPA is not too difficult. I am not saying I do this all the time, but it isn't too hard. The bigger problem is the 1500 or so calories that it packs.

                                1. re: MVNYC

                                  'Hooligan Juice' or 'loopy juice'...yep thats the stuff. Never understood the logic, but I have seen many people have a'crazy' night after drinking this stuff...Walking into the local after everyone has had a day on the stella can be an experience!

                                2. "I can't understand why such a mediocre beer like this is achieving such market penetration."

                                  Money? In this case, both InBev's and A-B's.

                                  With the brewing industry increasingly international in scope, I suppose it's inevitable that InBev (which is the world's largest brewer, based on barrelage- A-B and SABMiller reportedly are larger based on revenue) has set it's sights on the US market. In 2006, InBev had only 2% of the US market (and that was probably down somewhat from previous years since they sold the Rolling Rock brand which was in the Top Ten of US breweries). Still, the Big 3 in the US is so dominant (over 3/4 of the market), InBev's 2% still puts it at #7 in the US, even tho' their best selling brand in the US is Tecate at this point (InBev's Labatt and Becks are also in the Top 10 of US imports).

                                  Certainly, A-B's recent deal to become the US importer of many of the InBev brands is, in some areas, one of the reason so many tap handles are changing to Stella, but I'm guessing that's a region by region event, based on the ability of A-B to switch the brand to it's own distributors (some states have laws that protect a distributors' contract to carry a brand, even if the brewer or importer changes) and is probably also affected by what other "premium import" brands the local A-B distributor already carries.

                                  F'r'instance, in my area the local A-B distributor has long been the supplier for Heineken (a direct competitor for Stella) and I doubt that they are bothering to try to switch Heineken taps for Stella, since there's no gain for them. I've only seen one recent switch to Stella in my area (and can't really remember what was on that tap before) but I have seen a LOT of new Hoegaarden taps, as well other A-B imported/distributed beers like Widmer.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: JessKidden

                                    Some areas have seen lengthy periods of out-of-stocks on Inbev brands since AB took over importation. I believe that's improving now.

                                  2. I spent about three weeks in Belgium, ten years ago. My impression of Stella was that it was not a bad beer(they always taste better when one is close to the source). But it was everywhere! I decided that Stella was kind of the "Budweiser" of Belgium. And now that it seems to be readily available in the US, even on tap, perhaps they will compete with Bud!(yeah,sure)

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Sam at Novas

                                      Pretty much every country in the world has their version of generic mass produced lager. Some are better than others but they all serve one purpoose. They are non threatening(re:not even a shade darker than diluted urine) which suits the masses who generally do not like beer.

                                      1. Because it's from Belgium, at first I refused to believe how bad it is. But I still have a couple of their glasses, because my GF likes them (one was a giveaway, and one was, ahem, liberated ... guess it's true what they say about Stella inducing bad behavior).

                                        1. Yeah, the Stella popularity is obviously due to great marketing. It's a below-average beer that has been branded in the US as a premium import for people to buy at clubs and restaurants so they seem hip and in-the-know.

                                          Stella Artois is the new Heineken.

                                          1. Yeah, but a lot of liquor marketing is more about creating an image than pure taste. Hell people drink corona when they are not on a mexican vacation. Explain that one other than to chalk it up to pure emotion.

                                            13 Replies
                                            1. re: chrisinroch

                                              Yeah, I've argued before that the current Stella Artois fad is analogous to the Corona fad which started in the 80s. They're both wretched excuses for beer. Corona seemed to catch on first among surfers in Southern California -- who were quickly followed in their bad beer habits with yuppies, et cetera. I wouldn't cite "emotion," per se, as the cause of these odd fads. I'd say it's a herd mentality coupled with undiscerning palates. Stella and Corona are BAD.

                                              1. re: Kenji

                                                "BAD" - As in the author Paul Fussell?

                                                1. re: Kenji

                                                  It's hard to call Corona a fad if it's been growing steadily for two decades, and at premium prices. I would say that both Stella and Corona have been marketed quite well.

                                                  1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                    IMBMTAUBTWIRI *, the first era of Corona's popularity (late 70's-early 80's) *wasn't* due to marketing in the beginning, at all, but was sort of spread by "word of mouth" among what's nowadays called "slackers"- especially in Calif. (surfers, beach bums) and Texas (urban cowboys, cosmic cowboys). (In many ways similar to the Pabst Blue Ribbon popularity of more recent vintage.) I first became aware of the brand in a bar in Ensenada (circa 1976), where the US long-haired crowd was drinking ONLY Corona (tons of empties littering every table in the joint).

                                                    IIRC, that's why Corona for many years had 2 importers, who eventually divided up the country under Modelo's influence to rationalize the brand and start profitting from this accidental success. (The Chicago company, Barton, wound up with most of the US *west* of the Miss- sans Texas.) At least one of the importers started by sort of "bootlegged" the beer out of it's normal distribution area. I seem to recall that they were the actual Mexican oft-used refillable deposit bottles with a paper additional label for US label requirements.

                                                    Modelo was somewhat surprised by it, since they had long exported their "premium" beers (Modelo, Negra Modelo, Pacifico) but Corona has been their "economy/working man's beer". (It would be as if SABMiller exported Meister Brau and Hamms, instead of Pilsner Urquell and Miller High Life).

                                                    Only after the "urine in the beer" rumor era when the first Corona boom ended did the marketers and image makers get involved heavily (and A-B bought a minority share in the brewery, since increased to 50% or so).

                                                    Most of the histories on the 'net seem to be based on "sanitized" versions of Corona's US history, via the two importers, Gambrinus (which recently lost their deal) and Barton, and Modelo.


                                                    * IMBMTAUBTWIRI = "I May Be Making This All Up But the Way I remember It"

                                                    Oh, and as coincidence would have it, around the same era, Stella Artois hit these shores but the importer didn't do well with it at all and it quickly disappeared. Some outfit in Colorado had the contract to bring it in. They did a bit better a few years later when they bought the US rights to brew a former Irish beer, long gone from Ireland but still brewed in Europe, called Killians....

                                                    1. re: JessKidden

                                                      Killian's Irish - "brewed and brewed and brewed since 1765"
                                                      By Coors of Colorado.
                                                      Under license from Pelforth Brasserie in France.
                                                      And they get away with that kind of advertising crap.

                                                      1. re: Loren3

                                                        Well, Pelforth did get their license from the heirs of the Irish brewery (closed in the mid-50's IIRC, so there aren't many oldtimers left who remember the original beer, I'd guess), so there is some "truth" to it.

                                                        Altho', Coors eventually lightened their version, lower the ABV and switched from an ale to a lager yeast ("lager" is there in small letter on the label now I read) but apparently that doesn't bother the current George Killian Lett, who does promo appearances for Coors in the US (between trips to the bank), from what I've read.

                                                        1. re: JessKidden

                                                          25 years ago I enjoyed seeing Killian's at a restaurant because there weren't many choices, especially in the East. Of course, that's changed considerably!

                                                      2. re: JessKidden

                                                        That's my understanding of the Corona "movement" as well. It originally had nothing to do with marketing.

                                                      3. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                        What really kills me is the people who think they HAVE to have a lime wedge with a Corona! What in hell kinda rule is that? You can have one if you want, with ANY beer!

                                                        1. re: Wiley

                                                          no mystery to me....the lime covers up the flavor

                                                          1. re: Wiley

                                                            I know, how crude - its much better with a lemon. ;-)

                                                        2. re: Kenji

                                                          well, i agree but i think the analogy is not quite accurate: the stella artois is a bland lager, ok, but corona is a bland lager that tastes really BAD. By the way, Corona was a Puerto Rican beer in th 1950's and there was a huge legal issue around the name, because there were 2 beers -one mexican one puertorican- with the same name.So the legal issue lasted from 1957until the late 70's, when the people from Modelo bought the name "Corona" and changed its formula. Oh it is sooo baad. No wonder why the dominicans mix the corona with Clamato (tomato & clam juice), that's the only way they can drink it.

                                                          1. re: gurmanda

                                                            Thanks for the information. I was told a while back that my grandfather, who had a stint in Mexico in the early 1950s, drank Corona there. I thought, "How sad." But if Corona's formula changed in the 70s, maybe there's a glimmer of hope that my relative drank halfway decent beer -- or at least beer better than today's Corona.

                                                            I haven't had Stella Artois in a few years, but I clearly remember it as not merely bland but bad. Budweiseresque.

                                                      4. great marketing and if you happen to be in Belgium - a drinkable beer - otherwise drink local and leave the hype for the frat crowd.

                                                        26 Replies
                                                        1. re: jbyoga

                                                          I once traveled Belgium with an importer of some very fine Belgian beers. He defended Belgian pils as something a person might consume with a simple meal, for example, or when one didn't want to drink a bigger or more complex beer. While I think it's a shame that so many Belgians ignore their birthright of great beer in favor of these pilsner beers, they have their place. I think your comment addresses Stella specifically, and I agree with it.

                                                          1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                            Most of the above posts hit the nail on the head. I lived in Belgium for a while around 1969-70 and Stella was the local beer at the time-even there as that was their standard at the time. They, of course, have re-discovered their great brewing traditions and there are some fabulous beers out there now. I've certainly had better Pilsner type beers there, other than Stella. Just another great example of good marketing over some people's perception of quality.

                                                            1. re: markabauman

                                                              As I stated in another post it is the combination of apparent profundity (fancy name, fancy glass, long history, etc) while tasting remarkbly like the same old light lager that has given rise to Stella's popularity here in the States. So I believe that in an ego driven sense some people wish to demonstrate to others, by choosing Stella, that they've "graduated" to real beer (when really only the label has changed). When it all tastes the same what other reason could there be?

                                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                                I can't ascribe specific motivations, but certainly image drives decisions, at least decisions of people who aren't particularly knowledgeable about a specific type of product. I don't think drinkers necessarily are buying the same thing some of us are, namely sensory qualities. Corona = relaxing on the beach; Stella = elegance, or whatever.

                                                                I wonder if some chowhounds buy the equivalent of Stella or Corona in another type of product.

                                                                1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                  Could you elaborate on your last comment?

                                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                                    I'm just saying that people buy products for many reasons, and flavor may not be the driver for all of us. I remember reading a column by Stephen Beaumont one time, in which he recalled enjoying a really ordinary wine immensely because he was in a foreign city, and in that context the wine was sublime. (Perhaps not sublime, but you catch my drift.)

                                                                    Similarly, by drinking, say Corona, a person might somehow be mentally transported to a hammock on a tropical island for a half-hour, even though for me it would be more like the depths of hades.

                                                                    1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                      I dunno, I find that hard to imagine. I view the common element of 'hounds as that we are driven by flavor. I've had cheap products that taste good, but I can't think of anything I consume on purpose that actually sucks but has cool marketing.

                                                                      1. re: Josh

                                                                        I meant something else, like maybe pants, or those goofy rubber clogs everyone is wearing this year, or music, or whatever.

                                                                        But I don't want to take this thread off in that direction, so I'll save the rest for another day.

                                                                        1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                          Amen, brother. Although I'm not a big fan of Stella, I still think the snobbery in this thread is a little bit ridiculous. Is it so hard to acknowledge that some people have different tastes than you do? And that they might disagree with your choices? Sheesh.

                                                                          1. re: nerdgoggles

                                                                            If calling Stella a crap beer makes me a snob, so be it. Stella is basically Budweiser that is marketed as a "Quality import". This is the equivilant of selling some Euro processed cheese version of Kraft slices as a quality import.

                                                                            1. re: nerdgoggles

                                                                              I think everyone acknowledges that peoples' tastes vary. But it doesn't follow that every taste is determined by equal knowledge, experience, and discerningness. I mean, there's such a thing as bad taste.

                                                                              When people on this board bash McDonald's, do you accuse *them* of snobbery and an unwillingness to acknowledge that McDonald's fans have different tastes?

                                                                              1. re: Kenji

                                                                                "But it doesn't follow that every taste is determined by equal knowledge, experience, and discerningness. I mean, there's such a thing as bad taste"
                                                                                So your knowledge, experience, and discerningness is better than other, or just different.
                                                                                Also, if I have 15-20 minutes for lunch McDonald's is great and if I have an hour not so much!

                                                                                1. re: niquejim

                                                                                  If you knew a person who had studied beer, sampled a great diversity of beerstyles, learned about its history, its current trends, and perhaps even homebrewed; and a second person who had had nothing but Bud and Stella his entire life, would you seriously maintain that neither individual had better knowledge and experience of beer than the other?

                                                                                  1. re: Kenji

                                                                                    Great point. In today's world people think that everything is subjective and that there is no one opinion is better than another. Come on, there are people who know more than others on a wide variety of subjects beer included.

                                                                                    1. re: Kenji

                                                                                      I have studied beer, have sampled more styles that I can count, learned the history and I homebrew, so I understand your point. But the OP was asking why is Stella so popular and I'll stick by my thought that people(not me) like it. If this style was not popular companies would not push it on us the way they do.
                                                                                      I don't push craft brews on my friends just like they know not to ask me a beer question unless they have time to listen to a long answer (They also know not to hand me a beer like Stella).

                                                                                      1. re: niquejim

                                                                                        The logical next question becomes WHY do people like it. I have friends who do enjoy craft beers who also drink Stella. I don't comment on it, because I don't want to be "that guy". I save that for online. ;-)

                                                                                        1. re: niquejim

                                                                                          And again the question arises, in a world full of very similar euro lagers HOW did this one nearly overnight (actually about 10 years) gain such popularity. We KNOW that people "like" it but what brought them over to it when it tastes SO remarkably similar to so many other euro lagers (that this crowd was presumably drinking before) I believe is the question.


                                                                                          1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                            Sadly it's probably the same herd mentality that bought several million "pet rocks" 30 years ago!!
                                                                                            I don't understand it, just have to accept it.

                                                                                            1. re: niquejim

                                                                                              I think that your "herd mentality" comment is spot on. Stella is the beer equivalent to the Spice Girls" who were heavily promoted being seen everywhere. This led to a lot of people (young women) wanting to be "down" with the popular thing and the rest is history. Stella I predict will fade like the Spice Girls only to be replaced though with the "new" hot thing.

                                                                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                Stella Artois differs markedly from a teen band. It has a long track record. Inbev has been slowly growing the brand from a very small base. It target audience is composed of adults, who make decisions differently (hopefully at least somewhat more maturely) than young girls.

                                                                                                In threads such as this one, someone always mentions the herd. But it's possible that the people who purchase Stella Artois are getting what they want for their money, that they're not buying it because everyone else does (and everyone else does not buy it, as Stella is still a rather small brand, albeit a fast-growing one), and that it will continue to satisfy them indefinitely.

                                                                                                If Inbev continues to market Stella as it has, why wouldn't it continue to grow? It's a beer with a history, in a nice package (or glass if you're drinking on-premise), in a wildly popular category (continental lager), with a solid marketing strategy.

                                                                                                1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                                                  I'm not sure if we're disagreeing or not honestly on the broader point. To me it's popularity must be primarily due to marketing and high visibility (because again the flavor profile that it offers is SO friggin common). To your comment: "It[sic] target audience is composed of adults, who make decisions differently (hopefully at least somewhat more maturely) than young girls", honestly all of these ADULT women that we've seen over the past decade guzzling down apple martinis and cosmos is NO coincidence. We are all too aware of the effect "Sex and the City" et al has had on the social scene.

                                                                                    2. re: Kenji

                                                                                      "When people on this board bash McDonald's, do you accuse *them* of snobbery and an unwillingness to acknowledge that McDonald's fans have different tastes?"

                                                                                      Actually, yes I would. There's a huge difference between being able to discern differences between various beers and knowing some sort of objective right or wrong answer as to "which is good" and "which is bad". What is good is what tastes good to that person, what is bad is what tastes bad to that person. If someone enjoys the taste of McDs food - more power to 'em.

                                                                                    3. re: nerdgoggles

                                                                                      Is it snobbery to say that the rise in popularity of stella is not commensurate with it's taste? To say that there are better beers in this style is just stating an opinion. If you like stella, great. I'll grab a heinekin 10 times out of 10 if I want the profound skunkiness (a flavor profile that I dont mind btw).

                                                                                  2. re: Josh

                                                                                    Tastes vary, while you think it sucks others do not. I myself like complex beers but have friends who like only light lagers.

                                                                                    Much the same with food, I love many different foods but I do not like sushi. Just my tastes!!

                                                                                    1. re: niquejim

                                                                                      "liking" and "judging" are two different things.

                                                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                        "I mean seriously - I am seeing this beer everywhere. The latest bummer was seeing it on a handle at the hotel bar where I'm staying. Last year they had Pilsner Urquell, and now Stella.

                                                                                        I can't understand why such a mediocre beer like this is achieving such market penetration."

                                                                                        This is the Original post and I stand by my statement that people like it. It may not be good but neither is the best selling beer in the world. If I was in the brewing business I would rather sell more than cater to a small market even though I'm in that small market

                                                                    2. Is it just me, or does anyone else notice it tastes different now? I first had it about 7 years ago in New York and loved it, it was very different from any beer I had previously tried. Bought some when it first came to Ohio and it was as I remembered. Just bought it again after many years, and it doesn't taste anywhere near the same; it seems to lost its je ne sais quois.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: gourmanda

                                                                        I've noticed that I lot of beers that I liked in the past can either taste better than I remember or no longer do it for me. I attribute it mostly to my personal growth as a beer lover. I had a Anchor Steam for the first time in several years and it was great! Didn't recall it tasting so interesting. I don't think that the recipe changed so it must be me.

                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                          I've been told -- take it for what it's worth -- that Anchor Steam *has* changed. Specifically, in spite of its name, it is supposedly no longer a steam beer (i.e., a beer made with a lager yeast but fermented at temperatures more associated with ale); Anchor "Steam," is supposedly now a straight ale.

                                                                          Anchor's newish "bock" is also, curiously, an ale.

                                                                        2. re: gourmanda

                                                                          I thought so too but my sample size was small enough thatI just chalked it up to bad memory. I first had Stella when I met up w/ some friends & some of their friends at a pub in England - had never heard of it before (being a college student at the time and just barely on the cusp of the real push in the beer explosion led to a dearth of options). When I came back I would have it on the rare occasions that I would see it basically because it was rare and "they like it in europe" (of course, the people i was with were *also* young college students, so ...).

                                                                          Well then the beer explosion really cranked up and there were all sorts of other options available and Stella quickly fell off my radar (maybe here or there on a whim). Then flash forward to contemporary times and a friend of mine drinks a lot of Stella ... because of her I'll end up having one now and then and I swear it doesn't taste the same as it used to. Who knows though.

                                                                        3. Hasn't this thread run it's course?

                                                                          Let's talk about good beer for a change!

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: brentk

                                                                            I happen to think Stella is pretty good for what it is: A Euro lager. I usually don't order it, but it's not bad, especially during the summer months. You can't drink Dark Lord or Speedway Stout everyday, and sometimes a nice refreshing lager hits the spot. Plus, for many, Stella is a good introduction into better beer.

                                                                            1. re: naven

                                                                              I agree a nice refreshing beer hits the spot in the summer but to me Stella is not a nice refreshing beer. Refreshing to me woudl be a Reissdorf Kolsch, Paulaner Hefeweizen, Brooklyn lager, or even a nice crisp IPA..

                                                                              Stella is just gussied up Budweiser. At least they both are better than Corona.

                                                                            2. re: brentk

                                                                              Fritz Maytag would fall down and pass out if he heard someone say that Anchor Steam has changed.

                                                                              1. re: naven

                                                                                i have heard that stella is very low in calories, perhaps that buzz is giving it some lift in popularity as well.

                                                                            3. Whatever, man. I like beer. I've lived in NY for 11 years but I'm from Indiana. Which means I've seen a lot of crap beer. And I drank a lot of crap beer over the years. I drank Pabst by the keg years before it could be found anywhere in NYC. At one point I drank lots of Black Label which is just now starting to take hold here (Levee.) Stella is an upscale looking crap beer. People like to be drinking "something newish" and so the market demands that old crap beer be replace by new crap beer. Truthfully the difference between the various boat loads of crap beer is negligible. But sometimes I just want a watery crap beer. Like I said I like beer. So really are you upset that Stella, the latest in crap beer, upsets you because it's doing well? or is it that what really upsets you are the losers who choose to drink whatever they perceive to be the acceptable beer of choice... made acceptable by upper east siders who don their brand alignments like guidos wear gold?

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Crackpipe

                                                                                Really, what bothers me is seeing it supplant better beers and occupy handles that might instead be something I want to drink. Every handle for Stella is a handle not pouring a better option. My complaint is purely selfish griping, because I'm always frustrated by poor beer selections.

                                                                                As I wrote in the OP, Stella replaced Pilsner Urquell at a local place. Pilsner Urquell is a fine Czech pilsner, and having it without the inescapable skunkiness found in the bottled version was a real treat.

                                                                                1. re: Crackpipe

                                                                                  "I drank Pabst by the keg years before it could be found anywhere in NYC."

                                                                                  Wow, and I thought I was old. Even discounting the pre-Prohibition era (when Pabst shipped their Milwaukee beer to their Pabst Hotel in Times Square, their restaurant and theater at Columbus Circle, the Pabst's Loop Pavilion at Coney Island and the largest restaurant in America, the Pabst Harlem, located near Eighth Avenue at 125th) in the 1940's, Pabst bought a brewery just across the river in Newark, NJ and brewed Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer there for several decades until the 1980's- I'm guessing some of that beer once crossed the Hudson...

                                                                                  1. re: JessKidden

                                                                                    Actually very little crossed the Hudson. I worked at the Newark Pabst plant the last 3 years it was in operation. Every shipping invoice crossed my desk. Virtually no Pabst was shipped to NY (or within NJ for that matter). What did cross the Hudson was trailerload after trailerload of Olde English 800. The Pabst all went to Pennsylvania.

                                                                                    1. re: Guy

                                                                                      Interesting. The Newark plant was on the chopping block in a few of the proposed mergers that didn't happen in the late 1970's and early 1980's, so it was surprising after the dust cleared when Heileman did that 3-way purchase/spin-off with Pabst and Olympia (the latter of which owned Hamms & Lone Star at the time) that the Newark facility was still standing.

                                                                                      Don't know what happened to Pabst in NJ after S&P bought them a few years later (I wasn't in state at the time) but before that, from the time they bought the Hoffman brewery in Newark in the 40's until the 1970's, there was a lot of Pabst Blue Ribbon sold in NJ and NYC. A good friend of mine drove a Pabst delivery truck for 30+ years (they self-distributed in north Jersey at the time)- and he retired a few years before Pabst bought Blitz-Weinhard so he never handled any Old English 800 <g>.

                                                                                      I also owned a small store in NYS, just south of the Canadian border in the late 1970's, and "Blue" (as the locals called PBR) from Newark was my best selling brand, it was they only beer I bought where I got the over-10 cs. discount, IIRC.

                                                                                      And I still stand by my assumption that the Pabst Harlem Casino beer garden (there were also Pabst-owned venues in Times Sq. and/or Columbus Circle IIRC) sold Pabst in the pre-Pro era, as well... <g>

                                                                                2. Wow, I think beer snobs are really more high gear than wine snobs. Hilarious thread.
                                                                                  The answer to your question is so obvious, yet no one has mentioned it. It's because of the name. People like ordering it: Give me a Stella. It just sounds sexy. Like you're Stanley in "Streetcar" screaming "Stella.....STELLA......STELLAAAAAAA......."

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: suse

                                                                                    We have to be high gear as we have a lot of catching up to do to get in line with the wine snobs..LOL

                                                                                    1. re: suse

                                                                                      "People like ordering it: Give me a Stella. It just sounds sexy. Like you're Stanley in "Streetcar" screaming "Stella.....STELLA......STELLAAAAAAA......."

                                                                                      <g> Yeah, there's that Brando aspect, but I gotta say, everytime I check this forum and read the title of this thread, I think it's about an upcoming "prequel" to:

                                                                                      1. re: suse

                                                                                        "Wow, I think beer snobs are really more high gear than wine snobs"

                                                                                        I've noticed it more and more in recent years, to the extent that it is *really* starting to annoy me. I don't know if its actually on the increase or if it is just a perception. I suspect it is the former, and I don't believe that individuals are themselves getting snobbier but rather you just have more snobby people getting into beer.

                                                                                        1. re: suse

                                                                                          Exactly! Ever seen that episode where George is wondering why salsa is now kept on the table in their favorite diner? Jerry's response: "Because people like to say 'salsa'!"

                                                                                        2. It's a cheap beer in Europe. Not sure how it's attained such an elite status in North America. Would probably be like Labatt's 70 becoming the drink of the trendoids in Europe.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Zengarden

                                                                                            Haha, is it? (Labatt 70 "trendy" in .eu)

                                                                                          2. Stella is plain old basic, fresh tasting, good beer. Every town and city should have a brewery pumping something like it out at minimal cost, for the daily pleasure of everyone in the area.

                                                                                            What is stupid is hauling this kind of product across oceans and making a big ooh this- is-it deal out of it.

                                                                                            1. I have a friend who is a manager at a liquor store and he said that stella is now owned by Budwiser. This could be a main reason for the increase in distribution points and the down turn in quality.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: 2peasinapod

                                                                                                Your friend is wrong (not uncommon, beer retailers are often a fount of mis-information) or you misunderstood him. Stella Atois is the flagship brand of the multinational brewing corporation, InBev. Anheuser-Busch (there is no company called "Budweiser") recently created a new division called "Import Brands Alliance" to import beer into the US and signed a deal with InBev to take over the importation of Stella, along with other InBev brands like Bass, Beck's, Hoegaarden, etc. (They also handle other brands like Grolsch, Czechvar, Tiger, Kirin, etc). As a result, many local Anheuser-Busch distributors now also distribute Stella Artois. The recent "push" for the brand, however, was happening well before that deal was signed and in no way does "Budweiser" *own* Stella Artois...


                                                                                              2. Tried it for the 1st time this week. It's not common on the taps in La Crosse, WI. Not impressed at all.

                                                                                                1. Stella Atois SUX !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                                                                                                  I have tried this gunk of a beer based on an old Slayer Album cover in which Jeff Hanneman had a can of it in his hand. I saw it in the grocery store and I bought it. I was NOT impressed. I think people are just hung up on the sound of the name. ANd the thought that Belgium makes great beer is a HUGE falsehood. No French-like country ever made good beer. This crap is a waste of money in any language.

                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: EX500rider

                                                                                                    Stella's sure giving Heineken a run for it's money- they must be particularly worried now that it's teamed up with A-B.

                                                                                                    1. re: EX500rider

                                                                                                      " ANd the thought that Belgium makes great beer is a HUGE falsehood. No French-like country ever made good beer."


                                                                                                      1. re: niquejim

                                                                                                        Can I just add an additional WHAT??????????????????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                          I always forget exclamation points.

                                                                                                          1. re: niquejim

                                                                                                            Holy smoke! We get some of our best (and strongest) beer recipes from Belgian monks of centuries past! Try a Belgian Trippel and you'll change your mind.

                                                                                                      2. re: EX500rider

                                                                                                        If you are judging Belgian beer on the basis of Stella you are underinformed. As a homebrewer, however, I would hope and suspect that you are more knowledgeable on the topic than one might deduce from your post.

                                                                                                        To dismiss, out of hand, the Trappist brewing tradition as well as creative brewers such as Fantome, De Dolle, De Proef and Brasserie Dupont just seems myopic to me. I do know some educated beer drinkers who may not particularly care for Belgian beers but all of them respect their great skills as brewers.

                                                                                                        Oh, and another thought. There is a whole section of the country (the Flemish part) who would take great exception to being called "French-like."

                                                                                                        1. re: EX500rider

                                                                                                          Belgian breweries make some of the best beer in the world. Nobody with any real beer knowledge would dispute this.

                                                                                                          1. re: EX500rider

                                                                                                            "If you are judging Belgian beer on the basis of Stella you are underinformed. As a homebrewer, however, I would hope and suspect that you are more knowledgeable on the topic than one might deduce from your post.

                                                                                                            To dismiss, out of hand, the Trappist brewing tradition as well as creative brewers such as Fantome, De Dolle, De Proef and Brasserie Dupont just seems myopic to me. I do know some educated beer drinkers who may not particularly care for Belgian beers but all of them respect their great skills as brewers.

                                                                                                            Oh, and another thought. There is a whole section of the country (the Flemish part) who would take great exception to being called "French-like." "

                                                                                                            I had Carpal Tunnel surgery on my left hand testerday and didn't want to type that much, but I agree 100%

                                                                                                          2. stella's an ok beer at best. i like the bar glasses. in-bev, on the other hand, is so highly leveraged following the bud deal that i'm thinking they will be in trouble if the recession grows deeper. besides, their stable of product, moving forward, is not that good.

                                                                                                            1. Did anybody mention that the six packs are only 11.2 ounce bottles? I find that much more offensive than the taste.

                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: DexterM

                                                                                                                agree about the skimpy bottles. youre really getting an 11 pack.
                                                                                                                that said , the women in my life seem to love the stuff.
                                                                                                                but my question is this, (about to uncover my ignorance of the behemoth that is the beer industry) is it brewed here or barreled and shipped?
                                                                                                                i ask because i got a 12 pack of narragansett ( 10 dollars!) off the truck the other day and once chilled found it to be a quite good summer beer. fresh from the factory made quite a difference. its brewed and bottled about 60 miles to the south.
                                                                                                                is it possible this stuff is just better in europe?
                                                                                                                whatever, so many beers so little time.

                                                                                                                1. re: hyde

                                                                                                                  I can't compare those two beers head to head, but certainly the time from bottling makes a difference. All else equal, I always look for fresh American beer. I generally drink American beer here, Belgian beer in Belgium, etc.

                                                                                                                  Many European beers come to the US with a 12-month freshness date. I think it should be more like 3-4 months.

                                                                                                                  To answer your question, Stella is brewed in Belgium for the US market. (And Jess will correct me quickly if I'm wrong!)

                                                                                                                  1. re: hyde

                                                                                                                    The current Narragansett beer is brewed in Rochester, NY under contract to the new owners of the label, tho' some of the other 'Gansett beers (Porter and Bock) are brewed at New England area craft breweries.

                                                                                                                    As Jim notes, "fresher the better" is the rule for light lagers/pilsners and the Euro pilsners have a long a shelf life to allow for longer shipping/distributing times. Compounding that is the "traditional" green bottle which means the beers are often exposed to light before purchasing a six pack. Have never had a bottle of Stella- supposedly *their* green bottle has some secret "film/coating" to protect the beer, so I can't say if it works or not. (I only buy green bottled beers in closed cases).

                                                                                                                    1. re: JessKidden

                                                                                                                      sorry, thought they were brewing it back where "you can see the sunlight shining over narragansett bay.", still 390 miles is still better than 3000. i stand corrected.

                                                                                                                      1. re: hyde

                                                                                                                        No need to apologize to me- I just would hate to have you or another CH lose some bar bet over it. <g> To give the folks at the new Narragansett credit, they've been quite open and informative about it (over the requirements on the label, which allows "dba" names). http://www.narragansettbeer.com/showp... (you may have to "click" their age check page first to get to it). Compare that to Pabst website where they don't mention the fact at all that they own no breweries.

                                                                                                                        Unfortunately, even tho' I prefer to "drink local", the sad fact of the matter is that distance isn't as accurate predictor of freshness as popularity is. I'm sure I could go to any retailer with a good selection of craft beers and find older beer and "out of date" beer from breweries within a 100 miles radius, yet some beers from Holland and Mexico would be much fresher.

                                                                                                                        With craft beer only 4% of the market, yet taking up half or more of the shelves at a good store, it's inevitable that a lot of beer just sits there. I notice that the "latest thing" will often fly off the shelves when it first hits the state, and then the craft drinkers move on to the next latest thing and last month's "hot" beer just goes stale. (The Founders beers that hit NJ back a few months ago seems to now be out of date from what I can figure, for instance, even tho' it was the talk of the beer forums when it first arrived.)

                                                                                                                        1. re: JessKidden

                                                                                                                          then i guess my only option is to drink more gansett and continue to stump for them. trying to support the growth of local (well, northeast) brewing cant be all bad as transportation costs rise in the near to not-too-distant future. i think they are trying, and it may not work out, but then i am a lapsed red sox fan, i know what a broken heart feels like.
                                                                                                                          grr, bucky f**king dent.

                                                                                                                  2. re: DexterM

                                                                                                                    Standard size bottle in many European countries, my friend.

                                                                                                                  3. Stella has been a European staple for decades, and one of my "go to" beers when I just want a technically good, tall cold one. Since Stella has been penetrating the US market recently, I guess it became "hot" and now the backlash from the anti-cool crowd. No matter, it's the same Stella people in the Low Countries have been quaffing for decades, it's frankly something I'd pick over 90% of the inedible self-masturbatory microswill made here in the States.

                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: tevis

                                                                                                                      Stella's penetration of the US market dovetailed quite nicely with them being purchased by InBev. The beer is brewed around the world, so I don't know if it still earns its "European staple" label.

                                                                                                                      I remember when Stella first was marketed here, and the marketing campaign depicted it as this amazing classic beer of Belgian origin. As someone who's first love in beer was Chimay, and who really likes Belgian ales, I was excited to try it, and was really disappointed when it turned out to be no different from Heineken, St. Pauli Girl, or Beck's - generic, bland Euro lager.

                                                                                                                      It's kind of insulting to presume that people dislike Stella just to be cool. It invalidates what might be opinions held for a perfectly good and defensible reason.

                                                                                                                      I've always viewed the enthusiastic Stella fans as being kind of gullible, and easily fooled by marketing campaigns. So yay, we can all be judgmental together!


                                                                                                                      1. re: Josh

                                                                                                                        <<So yay, we can all be judgmental together!>>

                                                                                                                        That one made me smile Josh.
                                                                                                                        Good one.
                                                                                                                        cheers :-)

                                                                                                                        1. re: Josh

                                                                                                                          "Stella's penetration of the US market dovetailed quite nicely with them being purchased by InBev."

                                                                                                                          Stella wasn't really "purchased" by InBev- it was the original brand of one of the two breweries that merged and formed "Interbrew" in the late 1980's- Artois and Piedboeuf. Interbrew and AmBev then merged (2004) to form InBev- which was during Stella's big push in the US, altho' it had previously been imported IIRC.

                                                                                                                          Coors imported it sometime in the 1970-80's era, at a time when a lot of the major US breweries brought in a Euro import or two to round out their portfolio for their wholesalers (to hopefully compete with Heineken)- A-B did Wurzburger and Carlsberg, Pabst brought in Furstenberg (sp?), Heileman - Hacker-Pschorr, etc. And, of course, Miller made a deal with a German outfit called Lowenbrau...

                                                                                                                        2. re: tevis

                                                                                                                          I could not agree more. With Tevis
                                                                                                                          "Stella has been a European staple for decades, and one of my "go to" beers when I just want a technically good, tall cold one. Since Stella has been penetrating the US market recently, I guess it became "hot" and now the backlash from the anti-cool crowd. No matter, it's the same Stella people in the Low Countries have been quaffing for decades, it's frankly something I'd pick over 90% of the inedible self-masturbatory microswill made here in the States."

                                                                                                                          1. re: dorianadams

                                                                                                                            "Stella has been a European staple for decades."
                                                                                                                            So has Heineken and other non-descript Euro Pale Lagers. What's the point?
                                                                                                                            Considering all of the truly great beers that Belgium produces Stella shouldn't be in the conversation. And for the record I'm no hop head and prefer English bitters, milds and German pils.

                                                                                                                        3. I guess it is all about branding and packaging...Each big brewery wants to push one or a couple of their products to become global successes. The beer needs to be "okay enough" and "easily drinkable" - good enough to appeal to the widest possible segment of the general public. This inevitably means certain blandness - for example with Pilsner Urquell (one of my favourites) I find it may be slightly too bitter ever to become a real household name, at least in Latin America where I live (where, incidentally, InBev seems to be pushing Brazilian Brahma instead of Stella).

                                                                                                                          In case of InBev, if taste was considered, they could have just as well chosen Jupiler (which I believe is still the No. 1 beer in Belgium). Or Staropramen (I wish they had). But the image (packaging, history, the profile of existing users - at least in Belgium the image of Jupiler is that of a "working man´s beer". ) was probably not as appealing as that of Stella (nice "regal" name, nice original packaging, long history of the brewery etc. - ideal to sell the brand to the thirsty "after work" office crowd around the world).

                                                                                                                          When Carlsberg bought the majority of Baltic Beverages Holding a couple of years ago, they now seem to be pushing the Russian Baltika quite a bit globally. I guess it is suitably exotic (and the quality has really improved since a couple of years ago). But when it comes to the taste they could have as easily chosen the Norwegian Ringnes or Finnish Sinebrychoff, which are both pretty decent but unremarkable lagers.

                                                                                                                          1. haha, this is a very popular thread. So I'm wondering, what comparable (in terms of price, style, etc.) beer would you drink instead?

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Josh

                                                                                                                                trumer is a good choice. Scrimshaw is decent from North Coast, Hacker-Pschorr, Victory Prima Pils, however, is my favorite, though it might have too much flavor for people who like Stella

                                                                                                                              2. re: enjenkolanek

                                                                                                                                I'd opt for Simpler Times lager ($3.99 a sixer at Trader Joe's) over Stella any time.

                                                                                                                              3. Marketing is Amazing is it not??

                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Cedra

                                                                                                                                  totally. marketing trumps quality all the time. When did "cold" become a flavor? When did the appearance of a container become more important than its contents? Why is being flavorless, or as the marketers tell us "smooth," become a valued characteristic of beer? How can an American company like Budweiser, which stole the pilsner style from it's Czech origins and then castrated it, become "the king of beers" and successfully sue the original maker of the style so that they couldn't sell the beer under their own name? Why are consumers such dupes?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: chuckl

                                                                                                                                    "How can an American company like Budweiser, which stole the pilsner style from it's Czech origins and then castrated it, become "the king of beers" and successfully sue the original maker of the style so that they couldn't sell the beer under their own name?"

                                                                                                                                    This is just as much myth as the big brewers' marketing.

                                                                                                                                    Anheuser Busch (there is no "American company" called "Budweiser") was formed by two German-born immigrants, who brought their trade with them to America (well, Busch did - Anheuser made soap- probably "stole" a European recipe for it, too). Like other German born brewers in the US, they brewed numerous European styles of beer just as their fellow German and other European brewers did back in Europe and eventually elsewhere around the world. Just as America's early ale brewers of British birth first made ("stole"?) British styles.

                                                                                                                                    The US German brewers eventually brought lager yeast to the US, and also adopted or at least attempted to brew the "Pilsner" style (sometimes then called "Bohemian" style) in the mid-1800's. In the US, the properties of different type of malting barley (6 row v. European 2 row) necessitated the use of another grain to get the beer as "light" as the European brewed pilsners, a style that was quickly gaining favor everywhere. (Some "marketing" involved, but pretty primative by today's standard. People just like the stuff.)

                                                                                                                                    Busch choose rice, after research done by European brewers. (Ironically, rice was used in Germany because it was cheaper and more readily available than corn). Lager beer, and, later, "Pilsner Style" beer quickly swept to popularity in the US, as well, all but destroying the older US ale brewers' market.

                                                                                                                                    Busch did name his "Budweiser" beer after a town in Bohemia where the style was brewed and popular but it was common practice at the time - and like many US German-born brewers marketed not just it's "Budweiser" style beer, but Dortmunders, Bohemians, Bavarians, Muencheners, etc. (Not unlike geographical based names of types of wine or whiskies.) At the time, the concept of a "brand name" was just evolving.

                                                                                                                                    Anheuser Busch has been in legal conflict with a brewery, Budějovický Budvar, that was founded two decades or so after the US firm started using and "protecting" the "Budweiser" brand. But that company was not the "original maker" of the "pilsner style" - that honor goes to the aptly named "Pilsner Urquell". And the term "pilsener/pilsner" is still used (and, some might say, "misused") by brewers around the world for their beers.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JessKidden

                                                                                                                                      Budweiser refers to something or someone from from České Budějovice . Remind me what part of Czechoslovakia St. Louis is in.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: chuckl

                                                                                                                                        Ever drive your Chevrolet Biscayne or Tahoe or Dodge Dakota to the restaurant down the road (across the street from Kentucky Fried Chicken) and buy a Hamburger (some places serve them on English muffins) or a Frankfurter and maybe a side of French Fries? Or a Philadelphia cheesesteak or even some St. Louis style ribs?

                                                                                                                                        All that thievery must drive ya crazy, huh?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: JessKidden

                                                                                                                                          not really, but if a name is branded to imply a style, I would imagine some connection between the style and the ultimate product. Budweiser implies a pilsner style. You're apparently well informed and an expert on the nuances of beer so please educate me. Which Czech style pilsner uses nearly 50% corn in their recipe? Implying a style with a brand name and then subverting it with an entirely different product is intentionally deceptive. But that should not be surprising to you. Anheuser Busch/inBev does it all the time. Whenever a beer beverage appears to become popular, AnBuschInBev will imitate the style blandly, use the name of the original product and sue the people who invented the style. Why would they do that? they have no intention really of producing the style, they just want to kill the category. So they'll undercut by half the price of the original, which tends to be expensive because they use real ingredients. Consumers will see similar products side by side on the cooler shelf, the BudInbev product usually with no apparent link to AnBuschInBev though half the price and say, this style tastes like crap. Bingo, category killed, another victory for AnBuschInbev. And don't even get me started on the 3-tier distribution system, where AnBusch crowds out all other competitors by stuffing cooler space with myriad products all of which taste virtually the same. Money is power, my friend, and AnBuschInBev has plenty of both. But even Americans are waking up to their deception. How are those sales numbers working out for American adjunct lagers lately? Craft beer is still a small percentage due largely to the big three American adjunct lagers stranglehold on the distribution process, but the trends are becoming more and more apparent. Consumers want choice and they want more flavor in their beer. The beer industry, meaning AnBuschinBev/Miller/Coors has one of the biggest, most well funded lobbies in the US of A to guarantee that god forbid no one would ever mess with the sacred 3-tier distribution system that controls how beer is distributed and mostly benefits AnBuschInbev/Miller/Coors. Thank goodness we have AnBuschInBev to protect us from all those neoprohibitionists standing outside your tavern door waiting with Carry Nation axes to bust up all those kegs of Bud. Why, if their product was so good, would AnBuschInBev need to resort to monopolistic tactics to maintain their market share? Are they feeling a little insecure about the quality of the fizzy water they make? But please, enjoy your Bud, and feel free to drink up mine too, I won't be needing it.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: chuckl

                                                                                                                                            "But please, enjoy your Bud"

                                                                                                                                            Ha, ha. I love it. You've mistaken my interest in accuracy in brewing history for a defense of A-BInBev and a preference for their products. Haven't bought any A-B or M-C products in about 35 years (save for a sample of some of their new "faux craft" releases- how I can I criticize what I have not tasted?)

                                                                                                                                            Here's a example of business cards I had printed up in the 1970's.

                                                                                                                                            While I would challenge some of the hyperbole and statements in your above rant (Budweiser quite famously has NO corn in it, for one thing), I don't disagree with its general gist. But that's about the current state of the US industry, NOT the history (or beer geek mythology) of how we got to this point.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: JessKidden

                                                                                                                                              nice card. I should have said rice, not corn in Budweiser. We're probably around the same age, and it's gratifying to see that so many choices have become available for discriminating beer drinkers. I remember chasing down Swiss Lowenbrau and EKU 28 at warehouses or Anchor Steam in bars. Some of my friends thought I was crazy when i drank Duvel. Well, maybe just a little strange. And some of them still do. Guys my generation cling to their American lagers like it's a sign of their manhood, which I never will understand. Then again, I was always more about taste than nostalgia when it came to fermented beverages.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: chuckl

                                                                                                                                                I have fond memories of Lownebrau Zurich. Haven't seen it in years, though. I'm guessing it's defunct?

                                                                                                                                2. I have a friend who swears Stella Lager on tap is much better than out of a bottle. Is there any validity to this?

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: oobydooby

                                                                                                                                    It probably is, in the same way that Heineken is. Stella's in a green (or clear) bottle, which means it will get lightstruck easily.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: oobydooby

                                                                                                                                      Yeah but no matter how you slice it, in the end Stella is just another inoffensive Euro lager. It's not like a fresh one is gonna taste like Hofbrau Original.

                                                                                                                                    2. Watch Beer Wars, http://beerwarsmovie.com/. Will give you a better idea of why some beers that are terrible keep on getting more of the market share. Great movie too.

                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: tacowalker

                                                                                                                                        second that, the 3 tier system and the beer lobby is really fu**ing us beer drinkers up.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: tacowalker

                                                                                                                                          I'm a huge fan of the artisan brewers but I have to say I'm not really a fan of this movie. It seemed to be too focused on pushing it's own agenda more than a balanced look at the industry....it's kind of like the 'Fox News' of beer documentaries; rather one sided and kind of ham-handed.
                                                                                                                                          There is some interesting material presented there, but as a real documentary it's not very effective IMNSHO.
                                                                                                                                          That's my take on it (and I know that plenty others who have seen it agree) ...of course, your mileage may vary.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                            I think it's a real documentary in the sense that documentaries generally put forward a point of view. It's not a news report in the sense that it's in any way balanced. It doesn't provide the point of view of the big brewers or the brewing industry lobby. Big beer has been telling their mostly fabricated story for decades. This is the first film I've seen that gives the opposing point of view. I didn't expect it to be balanced.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: chuckl

                                                                                                                                              Well, you're probably right.
                                                                                                                                              I guess this one is just represents propaganda from the other side.

                                                                                                                                              I support the artisan brewers (at least the ones that do actually make decent beer) but the docu still really didn't impress me that much.
                                                                                                                                              But if it gets people thinking and gathers more support for the small guys, that's a good thing.

                                                                                                                                              Really though, in the end good beer is good beer regardless of the size of the brewery. And truth is, there's both good and bad coming from both the big and small.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                I didn't see this movie, but I understand it asserts that craft brewers can't get access to market. There was some truth to this a few years ago, but the situation is much different today.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                                                                                                  Agreed. You might actually say we are at the point of having too many choices. Im amazed new breweries can get their product on shelves because of the million other varieties of beer not necessarily because of the big macros bullying away space.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                                                                                                    I think it's changing slowly. Refrigerators are still predominantly full of variations of Bud, Miller, Coors, etc., but I don't think it's a corporate plot necessarily or due to strong-arm tactics of distributors. Store owners are responding to the taste of their customers, and if more customers drink and request craft beer, they'll stock more of it. BTW, I'm not sure of laws elsewhere, but in California, a brewer can self distribute his beer without going through a distributor.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chuckl

                                                                                                                                                      Many states prohibit self-distribution. I know Stone has done well as a distributor in CA.

                                                                                                                                                      In addition to the taste of their customers, retailers are taking on more craft beer because it brings in more margin dollars than mainstream beer, and is just about the only segment that's growing. Here is some information on that topic: http://www.brewersassociation.org/pag...

                                                                                                                                          2. My favorite take on Stella was the legendary Marlon Brando line


                                                                                                                                            Truly memorable.

                                                                                                                                            1. I don't know what the debate is about. Personaly, I have been drinking Stella since the late 60's when I lived in Belgium. I just love the taste! A chac on son gout! I also like Uruquell because I prefer the pilsner taste. I don't like most of the microbrews because I find them too sweet for my palate. For the same reason, I don't like malts.

                                                                                                                                              14 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: igorm

                                                                                                                                                I agree that perhaps Stella is not a beer of real distinction, but it certainly isn't as heinous a brew as it's often made out to be. I think one of the things that has folks ranting about it is that like so many other older beer brands that have gone through ownership and methodology/recipe changes, Stella is brewed quite differently than it once was and has been dumbed down somewhat. There is apparently even a 'premium' version being introduced that's supposedly closer to the original brew (though I think that's doubtful).

                                                                                                                                                Many once great beers have gone through this...Bass Ale, Pilsner Urquell, and a myriad of German and American beers are a shadow of the formulas that originally made their reputations. The artisan brewing industry ("craft" if one insists on using that term) in some cases has attempted to pick up the slack, with varying degrees of success.
                                                                                                                                                As always, it all just a matter of personal taste.
                                                                                                                                                If one doesn't like a particular brew, there are certainly plenty of other choices these days. One should always just drink what one likes best, and the rest be damned.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: igorm

                                                                                                                                                  I made the point before that it's not that Stella tastes bad it just tastes unremarkable and very similar to other standard Euro lager (i.e. Heineken). Yet it took off here in the States over night. The reason being great marketing I believe. Nothing else explains it. Also God forgive you if the ONLY Belgian beer that you drank while living in Belgium was Stella no matter how good it might have been back then. There's just no excuse for that.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                    Maybe so, but then again, there are plenty of people...including hard core real beer lovers...who've tried the traditional Belgian beers and don't really like them. They may be great beers with a great tradition, but they may not be to everyone's taste.
                                                                                                                                                    Vive la difference...

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                      Belgian ales span a broad palate and I think most serious beer drinkers will find something in there to like. It's like saying "I don't like Chinese food"

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chuckl

                                                                                                                                                        Michael Jackson used to tell a story about a grocery-store beer tasting he had done. He offered a sample of a dark beer to a customer and she said she didn't like dark beer. He asked which dark beers she didn't like, and she said she didn't know, because she had never tried one.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                      I drank a lot of Belgian beers while in living in Belgium but to my palate Stella hit a chord and still does. The Professor said it right, "One should always just drink what one likes best, and the rest be damned."

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: igorm

                                                                                                                                                        Actually, Stella is miscast as a "Belgian" since it's a lager and more similar to Heineken than to Belgian ales

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chuckl

                                                                                                                                                          "Stella is miscast as a "Belgian" since it's a lager"

                                                                                                                                                          Huh? IIRC about 3/4 of the beer market in Belgium is made up of locally brewed beers of the Euro/pilsner style, like Stella Artois, Jupiler (#1 seller- another AB-Inbev brand that far outsells #2 SA) and the pils of Heineken-owned Alken-Maes, etc.

                                                                                                                                                          But since they don't fit the US beer geek's "definition" they're not "Belgian"?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JessKidden

                                                                                                                                                            I was about to bring this up, glad you mentioned it JK.
                                                                                                                                                            The figure I heard is 70% for mass-produced lager in Belgium.
                                                                                                                                                            Still, 30% for other types is quite impressive.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JessKidden

                                                                                                                                                              typically when people who drink craft beer refer to "Belgians" they are talking about the ales. Try going to a craft beer bar and saying, I'd like a Belgian, do you have any Stella? It's not about sales, it's about what craft beer drinkers are referring to when they call a beer a Belgian. Like Heineken, Stella is a eurolager. I'm not making a judgment on Stella, but it's not what craft beer drinkers consider a "Belgian" Also a "Belgian" doesn't have to even be from Belgium. Unibroue makes Belgian style ales, which I'd refer to as "Belgians" rather than "Canadians"

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chuckl

                                                                                                                                                                Maybe the increased distribution is the result of Inbev's acquisition of Anheusur busch.; and the distributors are being given more "incentive" to get Stella into the accounts.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chuckl

                                                                                                                                                                  "... it's about what craft beer drinkers are referring to when they call a beer a Belgian."

                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, that's kinda my point - 5% of the beer market in the US gets to define what "Belgian Beer" is? It's sounds like the reverse of the US bars that put "domestic" beer on sale, and then deny craft beer drinkers the discount, even tho' the craft beer comes from around the corner and the BMC "domestics" come from out of state. But, at least, in that case the term is used for the market dominant beer.

                                                                                                                                                                  I know of one "beer geek" who wrote a book called "Michael Jackson's Great Beers of Belgium" who included a chapter "Belgian Pils" (discussing Stella, Jupiler, the A-M pils, independents, etc), so he at least thought it was not "miscast" to call them "Belgian beer".

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JessKidden

                                                                                                                                                                    I think the point is being missed here. If an American brewery make a Bavarian-style hefeweizen, that beer is *not* considered an American-style brew. Conflating the manufacturing locale with the region where the style originated seems incorrect.

                                                                                                                                                                    The BJCP guidelines, which I know are controversial in some circles but at least give a baseline, offer relatively clear definitions of beer styles. Lagers fall into several different BJCP classifications, but they're not defined geographically.

                                                                                                                                                                    Stella is a Belgian beer in the same way that Ommegang Hennepin is an American beer, which is to say only by country of manufacture, but not by style.

                                                                                                                                                                    I think chuckl is making a valid point here, and you can easily see it if you draw an analogy to cuisine. A restaurant located in France wouldn't be considered French cuisine if they're serving fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits.

                                                                                                                                                                    Lagers didn't originate in Belgium, so identifying Stella as a Belgian beer is a little misleading, in the same way that labeling Hennepin an American beer would be misleading.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JessKidden

                                                                                                                                                                      If Toyota builds a car in a plant in Tennessee, is that car American or Japanese? What matters to the consumer is that the product represents the sum of its ingredients, not the place where it is "built." Therefore, if Ommegang makes a saison style beer, that beer is not an American beer, but a Belgian beer because it follows the Belgian recipe and uses the ingredients a Belgian brewer would use. Refrerring to Hennepin as an American beer makes no sense and just confuses the consumer. Properly stated, Ommegang's beer would be a Belgian-style ale, but it would never be referred to an American beer in a stylistic sense.
                                                                                                                                                                      Take another example. Trumer is based in Austria and makes a pilsner. Trumer also has a brewery in Berkeley that makes the same beer. Is the beer made in Austria an Austrian beer and the one made in Berkeley an American beer? No, they're both an Austrian pilsner, regardless of where they're made
                                                                                                                                                                      In fact, you could argue that none of the "American" macro lagers are American at all, since they're all owned by global companies based outside the USA. We're actually comparing definitions from different perspectives. Mine is from the stylistic point of view because that's what's going to matter to the consumer: what style the beer is is more important than where it's made. You're arguing from the point of origin, which matters if you're keeping score on how many units are sold but not so much if you're considering its components and style.

                                                                                                                                                        2. How about these banner ads for the World Draught Masters final?
                                                                                                                                                          If you click on the ad and then click on the Play The Game, look for the instructions in red "Review the 9-step pouring ritual before you play."

                                                                                                                                                          I think it is hillarious that the marketing guys have created a full-color pdf on how to pull a draught a beer, like it is some big procedure.

                                                                                                                                                          1. Stella is not held in high regard in England.

                                                                                                                                                            It's pseudonym here is 'Wife Beater'.

                                                                                                                                                            Empty cans of it can most often be seen under park benches.

                                                                                                                                                            1. Some comments have hit the nail on the head, and I'm paraphrasing here-

                                                                                                                                                              Stella is popular because it tastes like a US macro but looks and gives the impression of having "graduated" to a better beer. The sound of the name, the bottle design, the "challis".

                                                                                                                                                              Slayer drinks Stella. I too, should drink Stella. (this one is probably true)

                                                                                                                                                              It is not Belgian in the sense that beer geeks from the US would call it "A Belgian" but it is from Belgium and Belgians drink it. The definition of Belgian beer in the US is certainly skewed to refer to abbey style ales.

                                                                                                                                                              It is not distinguishable enough that it should be taking handle space that could be given to more complex Euro macro lagers (Urquell) or local brews. But, bars serve that which sells. Stella sells, fact.

                                                                                                                                                              Stella is the new Heineken (or was, when this thread started), consumption driven by an image, not taste. Though it might not taste bad (taste is personal), it is not remarkably different than any other macros Bud, St. Pauli, Becks, Czechvar, Peroni, etc. and therefore it's rise in popularity (in the US) is likely linked to the aggressive marketing campaign.

                                                                                                                                                              My own 2cents- I'd drink Stella as an occasional swap for Budweiser or Gansett. However, due to the fact that it must be imported from Belgium and that AB/Inbev must sell it at a price to cover that shipping along with a HUGE marketing campaign, I simply cannot justify spending the extra cash for the SA. For $12/ 6 pack I can find something much more interesting.

                                                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Beachowolfe

                                                                                                                                                                "$12/ 6 pack" Wha !

                                                                                                                                                                Realizing that beer prices vary from region to region, but never having bought a sixpack of Stella Artois, I checked a local retailer's on-line price list and Stella is listed at $6.99/6pk, a mere 50¢ more than Heineken (for most of the post-Repeal era, the #1 European import in the US) and InBev's own Beck's, and the same price as Pilsner Urquell.


                                                                                                                                                                What's amazed me is the near extinction of draught Heineken, at least in my market. It was once a pretty common, maybe the most common, European pils draught selection -I used to call the typical Bud-Michelob-Heineken tap handle line-up of many bars 30-40 years ago the "Chevy-Buick-Cadillac" of draft choices. I supposed that the status symbol of the "iconic Green Bottle" doesn't do much for the drinker of draught Heineken (altho' it does much for the oft-light-struck beer itself).

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Beachowolfe

                                                                                                                                                                  You consider Czechvar a macro on the same level with its nemesis Budweiser?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                                                                                                    Yes. You think they are distinctly different in the grand scheme of beers?

                                                                                                                                                                    Admittedly the Stella price is conjecture but I pay $9 for a six pack of Gansetts and $14 or 15 for Stone PA. I'll grab a picture of the price marker next time I'm in the store. Very possible that it's less but the point is still that it is significantly more than Budweiser, especially at a bar where it's "cool" to drink.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Beachowolfe

                                                                                                                                                                      Czechvar is far closer to an authentic Czech pils than Budweiser is. If you enjoy Czech pils you'd know that.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                        Nobody is insulting the sanctity of Czechvar, frog. You're free to argue about taste or authenticity to your little heart's content, but you've missed the point of my post. I was comparing Stella to a group of macro-produced beers, I included Czechvar in that group. Would you like to make a case for it's exclusion from my list of European and American macros?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Beachowolfe

                                                                                                                                                                          You stated above that Urquell is more complex than Stella. That's your right and I agree. You also stated that "[t]hough it might not taste bad (taste is personal), [Stella] is not remarkably different than any other macros Bud, St. Pauli, Becks, Czechvar, Peroni, etc. With that I disagree in regard to Czechvar but it's your right.
                                                                                                                                                                          What distinguishes Urquell and Czechvar from Stella and the other beers you listed is interesting malt structure. I was tempted to add "in my opinion" but in regard to this particular issue I don't think that I need to.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Beachowolfe

                                                                                                                                                                            "Macro" is one of those vague, undefined terms used by beer geeks for which everyone has their own definition. If it's all brewers above "microbrewery" status (15,000 bbl/yr) that's a lot. If it's the equivalent of "large" - the US Feds say that's over 2m bbl/yr, the US Brewers Association say 6m bbl.

                                                                                                                                                                            According to their own website http://budweiser-budvar.cz/en/o-nas/p... Budweiser Budvar brews around 1.28m hectolitres of beer a year- that's about 1,085,000 US bbl.- or about half the size of Boston Beer Co. in the US and not that much bigger than Sierra Nevada (around 800k).

                                                                                                                                                                            To me, yeah, that's a lot of beer, but that's hardly "macro" in the sense of A-B's US 100m bbl, or worldwide 300m bbl. of AB-InBev worldwide. A-B sells more "Bud Light Lime" (2m bbl/yr) than all the Budvar Budweis/Czechvar combined. Even in Europe, that's smaller than the Top 10 German breweries, and Budweiser Budvar is only the 4th largest Czech brewer.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JessKidden

                                                                                                                                                                              Good points about the term although I wasnt really thinking he was referring to them literally as such. I thought it was just his way of classifying them in the same mediocre taste category as true macros (like Bud). This I have to very much disagree with as I find Czechvar, like Chinon, a much better tasting beer than Budweiser. Granted, as a lager it can take a hit from shipping time and handling but even still its head and shoulders better. I can only imagine how it tastes at the source.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, there's that, too- using "macro" to suggest "light lager"- but, why? Aren't there enough terms for those beers- from the neutral "US adjunct light lager" and "pilsner-type" to "fizzy yellow beer" and other, often crude, insults?

                                                                                                                                                                                "Macro" to me (and in it's original non-brewing industry sense) means "large" - and so one of the biggest "European Macros" would be Guinness Stout.

                                                                                                                                                                                I agree that comparing Czechvar to A-B's Budweiser is unfair- tho' perhaps they once started in the same place, their evolution took them in opposite directions. Or, maybe, more properly, Budvar stayed in one spot, and A-B's beer just kept goin'.

                                                                                                                                                                                I think I might still prefer Pilsner Urquell (especially in the 500ml cans*) - altho' I've been waiting for A-B-Inbev to offer one of their "$10 Rebate on a Case" offers for their imports to pick up a case of Czechvar again. Hopefully they'll be very fresh stuff on the shelf.

                                                                                                                                                                                * I notice that Canada's getting 500ml cans of Czechvar these days- I'd like to see A-B-InBev bring them into the US, too.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Beachowolfe

                                                                                                                                                                      > 6 pack

                                                                                                                                                                      The first time I'd ever heard the word Stella was maybe eight years ago when someone gate-crashed Prince William's birthday bash, by bribing a security guard with a four-pack of Stella at the gates of Windsor Castle. I couldn't figue out what a "four-pack of Stella" was, and why it was so valueable.

                                                                                                                                                                    3. Stella is crap, its Europes Bud, Miller, Coors, etc. Just another mass produced mediocre beer. To me, its no diff than Grolsh, Heineken an Amstel. Its a Fad beer, just like Red Stripe after the movie cocktail. I dont waste my time with this stuff, I prefer craft ales, such as Allagash, Russian River etc.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Stella in Europe must be different because when I had it there it was awesome. This was several years ago before it came to the states. I remember being very stoked that it was now going to be available here, but then I had it an it was a quite a let down.

                                                                                                                                                                        I think it mostly suffered because 1) it ships in a green bottles and was probably light-struck, 2) it's probably a different recipe, as breweries often do for export.

                                                                                                                                                                        On the other had, I was at a concert not too long ago and Stella was the best beer they had on tap so I got it and at that moment in time, it was awesome. So, maybe it needs to be on tap, but it probably has something to do with your state of mind.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Forgive me for not reading every response if this has already been said, but the short answer is that when budweiser got sold to the company that makes stella, the budweiser folks in the US started marketing stella here. Advertising goes a long way.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. The keg prices are very cheap wholesale and it's sold for 5.00 a pint. Bars get good margins on it. Stella is an InBev product. The distributors are in bed with selling the consumer lower end beer with high end marketing and logos.

                                                                                                                                                                            That is Stella.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Belgian for Budweiser. Isn't even good. People who know nothing about what a good beer tastes like order stella

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Its owned by the largest brewer in the world, InBev. Its called marketing, and the ability for wholesalers to push the product.

                                                                                                                                                                                In Belgium it is a low end beer but it has been well branded and does well in the UK, the US and in Asia..no different than why budweiser or other mega lagers are popular...