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a surprising realization

So i would like to begin by saying that i believe a have a fairly good beer palate. I've made vacations out of visiting brewpubs and brewerys. And i understand the difference between the various styes of lagers and ales.

my father-in-law is a regular drinking companion and we have enjoyed many trips out together with a game of rock paper scissors after the first round to determine who drives home.

anyhow, as a joke he filled the beer drawer in my fridge with Schlitz recently. so i drank it. and it being summer and hot and my spending my fretime working on and around the house outside, i have found it to be really good, for what it is. it's light, refreshing. it has some flavor and a low alcohol content (which makes it good for starting at 3 and going until 11).

I was surprised.

anyone else have this experience or one similar?

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  1. It appears as if Pabst (the current owner of the Schlitz brand- Miller brews the beer for them, so it is again "brewed in Milwaukee [and other cities]") is about to do a marketing push for their old rival's brand. I suppose they're trying to duplicate the success they've had (accidentally) with the Blue Ribbon brand, tho' that company is better know for NOT spending on advertising. They've got a new website up http://www.schlitzgusto.com/home.asp with some pages "Under Construction" still (looks like they had to add "gusto" to the title because the obvious URL is an "adult" site), etc.

    Don't know if they've recently tampered with the recipe at all (Schlitz, of course, is in ways the classic example of a brewery that once DID "tweak" the recipe, with disasterous results- going from #2 brewery to being bought by a smaller, regional rival in less than a decade) but I do find that when I try an "industrial light lager" after decades of avoiding the "style", I can find something interesting in it, at times. (The fact that when I do drink them they're usually free or I'm desparate for a beer no doubt helps <g>).

    1. It's quite common for someone who supposedly knows and appreciates beer to suffer confusion in blind tastings, to the point of misidentifying style.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jim Dorsch

        Well, yeah, isn't the fun of "blind man's bluff" bumping into a wall?

        I have to admit that when I read folks on beer forums say beers like Corona, Bud, Miller High Life "have their place" or wax nostalgic about them, I say, "Nah, no way." since I've tasted them all within recent years. But, I have read these sorts of comments about Schlitz lately, to the point of wondering "Can it be true?" or is it just Pabst's "guerilla marketing" having some success?

        I can say I DO remember the last Schlitz I had. A friend and I were camping throughout New England and stopped one night at a well-lit hoppin' little bar in a sleepy village in central Mass. and everyone was drinking Schlitz longnecks, which, even then, I thought odd (I assorted the brand with the mid-West and the South, even tho' they once had a brewery in Brooklyn and, at that time, one in upstate NY [now an A-B facility, IIRC]). I can even remember the band (which had some slight taste of fame)- The Deadly Nightshade. Circa 1975. Can't remember at all what the Schlitz tasted like...

      2. Honestly none of the macro lagers to me actually taste unpleasant. And again what light fizzy ice cold beverage isn't going to hit the spot on a hot day. So to me bringing attention to this is sorta like pointing out the tallest midget in the circus.

        PS: And I wouldn't expect anyone including myself to be particularly drawn toward a DIPA or Imperial Stout during the height of summer either.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Chinon00

          It makes perfect sense to me. I simply cannot drink big huge beers during the summer. In fact, I am simply mystified how someone can drink an Imperial Stout on a daily basis in the summer. So, the fact that a macro lager tasted refreshing doesn't surprise me. I have been drinking mostly lagers this summer and am enjoying it. To people that say it's impossible to enjoy a macro lager in the summer (be it schlitz, pabst or even Corona), I say you and I are different types of beer geeks.

          1. re: naven

            I can drink huge beers in air-conditioned comfort at the height of summer, and that would be my choice in many cases. But outside in the heat, no way.

          2. re: Chinon00

            I recall about 15 years ago having a light beer at a ballgame. It was a hot, muggy night, and it did not refresh. I prefer iced tea. I think a Czech- or German-style pilsner would have worked nicely, but that wasn't available.

            1. re: Chinon00

              I have been ejoying Reissdorf Kolsch all summer. A very refreshing lighter style of beer that still has a good taste to it. Brooklyn's summer lager has been nice too as has the lager. However I hae to say a nice DIPA on a hot day doesnt bother me. I could not resist cracking open a bottle of yulesmith I recieved in a trade, went very well on a hot day.

              Dark stouts not so much, maybe a dry Irish stout but I really cant go for those Russian Imperials in the summer.

            2. I love beer in all its forms. Recently I found a place with Belgian Maredsous on tap and have loved it this summer. I also have a tender place for Kalamazoo's Bell's Amber. However, I want neither when I'm floating down the river in an innertube on a hot summer day. In that case, I'll swig a PBR or Schlitz without repent. Especially since we don't bring glass on the river.

              1. This has been my realization as well.

                Beer is a miraculous exception to the general rule that the more you pay the better it tastes and the sky is the limit. I have concluded that you need not pay more than a notch or two above rock bottom to enjoy absolutely perfect beer. How lucky can the human race get? This is most obvious if you visit certain parts of Europe. Here, I submit Yuengling and Narragansett as beverages that can not be improved upon. Apparently, millions say the same thing about Budweiser, Miller, Pabst, etc. Who am I to argue?

                A while back I was in a phase of methodically questing for my favorite microbrew, carefully tasting, weighing, considering. Happily, I learned that all I need to make me happy is a nice big glass of decent beer. Microbrews are, of course, good too.

                12 Replies
                1. re: atheorist

                  More attitudes like this from beer lovers would be a good thing. Keeping the snob factor low brings more to the fold. Nice post, atheorist.

                  1. re: atheorist

                    Substitute Dominos Pizza for Pabst and re-evaluate who you are to argue.

                    1. re: Josh

                      It seems like most beer drinkers have had a moment like Japhryder described, and it usually involves a hot day and a light beer. Mine was a few years back with Strohs. I bought a 15 pack cause it was on sale and it was for a few people who were 'anti-micro' (if you can believe that!) They ended up bringing and drinking bud; leaving me with my Brooklyn and Blue Point Beers and the Strohs. After cutting the grass, I lit up a cigar and opened a Strohs, and dam, that beer tasted good! Strohs became my '"I'm hot and thirsty" beer for the rest of the summer. Strohs lost it taste when the Octoberfest beers came out and I never bought it again! Now I stick with micro lagers and pilsners for the summer.
                      In that vein, I was in Pa recently and picked up a mixed case of Victory beers.
                      The Prima Pils, Golden Monkey, and Hop Devil were as good as always. However, I was very disappointed in the Lager as it had no taste. Any thoughts comments?

                      1. re: imhungryletseat

                        I have heard negative comments about the lager before.

                        1. re: imhungryletseat

                          I also think their lager is bo-ring. However, Golden Monkey is for me, possibly the best beer made. It even trumps many of the Belgian Trappists I had ..

                          Has anyone found a beer that tasts similiar to my beloved Golden Monkey? I'd love to find other beers in that vein.

                        2. re: Josh

                          I have tried more beers than I can count. Big,hoppy, Belgian...etc. I've discovered if I could only drink one beer for the rest of my life it would be Fuller's ESB. Not big and hoppy, not funky, just a good tasting beer. Makes me wish it was brewed here instead of the U.K.!!!

                          1. re: Josh

                            I don't get the Domino's v. Pabst comment.

                            Are you saying that because Dominos makes the worlds worst pizza yet millions eat it, Pabst must make bad beer because millions drink it?

                            1. re: FrankJBN

                              I'm saying that, like Domino's, Pabst makes a lowest-common-denominator product that is consumed by people who don't know any better. A product being popular isn't an indicator of its quality, as evidenced by countless examples in the food/drink/music/film/literature/art/theater industries.

                              1. re: Josh

                                the danger in that argument is to assume that because something is popular, it is by definition bad. some things become poular because they are good. but all too often they become poular because of their appeal to the broadest market.

                                i wouldn't serve dogfishhead beer to people i don't know are real beer drinkers, because it would be "too much" for them. despite the fact thatany of the dogfishhead brews could come to a desert island with me.

                                1. re: japhyryder

                                  I don't think that popular things are bad by definition. And I wouldn't serve DFH beers to a lot of people, as well. But if I want something with broad appeal that's still good quality beer, then I know there are options available.

                                  1. re: Josh

                                    But if I want something with broad appeal that's still good quality beer, then I know there are options available.

                                    I was going to argue with you again, BUT, seeing that Schlitz is $7.99 a six pack and Fuller's London Pride is $8.99 I would have to go with Fuller's. If the Schiltz was $4.99 I may have a go as a lawnmower beer

                                    1. re: niquejim

                                      Yeah Schlitz is hard to support in that price comparison!

                        3. Gosh, I didn't even know Schlitz was still around. That was always my father's beer -- even though we lived in Narragansett territory -- and I still remember how wonderful I thought it tasted when he let me have a sip now and then when I was 12 or so (really, it was just a sip). As an adult I drink microbrews, British ales or European lagers, but every once in a while something will bring me back to that sip of Schlitz (my version, I guess, of Proust's madeleine), and I have to say it's wonderful -- especially on a hot afternoon after I've been working in the yard. Has it always been around or it something like Narragansett that got resurrected?

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: ccferg

                            Schlitz has always been "around" but probably hasn't enjoyed a wide distribution in past few years. It was one time the #1 brewery in the country (40's and 50'), and was the long time #2, but due to mis-management slipped in the 70's until it was bought by the much smaller Stroh, when the Detroit brewer attempted to go national (Schlitz had about 5-6 breweries around the country at the time).

                            The brand slowly faded to thepoint where the "economy" Schlitz label, Old Milwaukee, eventually out sold it (and even old sold Stroh). Stroh went out of business in '99 and sold most of it's many labels to Pabst and it appears Pabst is about to try to duplicate the accidental success it's had with the Blue Ribbon brand with the other famous Milwaukee brand. (All 3 now brewed in Miller plants). In fact, I just saw a can in NJ at a bar, first time in decades. ($2 a can).

                            And, for that matter, the "resurrected" Narragansett brand wasn't "dead" for all that long, was it? Seems to me Pabst killed it only a few years ago, and then agreed to sell it to the new owners.

                            But, I'm curious- if you didn't know Schlitz was still around, how is it that you've been drinking it after mowing the lawn? Has your wife been pouring it into empty Heineken bottles or something .

                            1. re: JessKidden

                              Well, first of all, I'm the wife. (My husband was the one who educated me in beer but he died 5 years ago -- and I never blamed the beer.) What I meant to say is that every once in a while I taste what I remembered in those illicit sips when I was 12 in a different lager. But I haven't had a real Schlitz in years. BTW, Narragansett really was dead for quite a while and the resurrected Narragansett isn't even made in RI. But I'm supporting the effort to bring it back.

                              1. re: ccferg

                                "Well, first of all, I'm the wife."

                                Opps- got stung on that one! And here I was just making fun of others' stereotyping over on another thread. Serves me right- I owe you a beer. (Hey, can I help it if a lot of women don't post?)

                                "BTW, Narragansett really was dead for quite a while and the resurrected Narragansett isn't even made in RI."

                                The info I saw when I went checking this morning was that Pabst only killed the brand in 2003. (See http://www.falstaffbrewing.com/intere... under 2003. That website is very accurate - much more so than Wikipedia).

                                Pabst is now owned by the same parent company that owned Falstaff, the owner of Narragansett since the 1960's. While the brewery in Cranston closed in the early 80's, the brand was still being brewed in other Falstaff, and then Pabst, and then contract breweries for a time, but I'm sure if one didn't look for it, it was hard to find.

                                1. re: JessKidden

                                  Narragansett wasn't in any of the liquor stores -- or bars -- I frequent for years. (And no one I know was drinking it.) The name got bought recently by some guys who are trying to bring it back, but they're brewing it somewhere else. It's getting some mixed reviews but I find it acceptable -- and highly nostalgic --on a hot day, especially if I'm listening to a Red Sox game. I wish they'd bring back the porter -- that was really good.