Bad beer trends.
Beer in the US has improved a lot, but the diversification of beer culture has resulted in some disturbing trends.
Bad trend #1: too many choices. Bars with fewer than, say, 20 stools should be limited to 3, maybe 4 kinds of draft, maximum. Bars routinely offer a plethora of selections, almost all of which pass their prime before they can be served. This is unfair to conscientious brewers, and turns decent beer into flat old swill.
Bad trend #2: IPA. This stuff is swill at conception, and became obsolete with the advent of modern refrigeration. Brits don't drink it. Indians never did. It smells bad. There's a reason pilsner became the world's favorite beer in the 19th century.
Bad trend #3: Guinness Stout. It's a watery, dark brown industrial product that dates back to the 50s. It shares the name of the traditional stout that preceded it (and which is now known as Extra Stout), but it has none of the flavor, very little alcohol, nitrogen instead of carbon dioxide, and a slippery, slurpy texture that can only be achieved in a huge factory. How did this catch on?
#1 can be a problem.
I would agree that there is a sort of IPA arms race, but I don't think it's a bad style of beer. It is a style that may not be ideal in some situations. I'm a devoted IPA drinker, but found on one hot day that Pilsner Urquell went down much easier.
If you want to limit yourself to beers that have not become "obsolete", then no Cantillon, for example. That makes no sense.
Draught Guinness may be a good introduction to more flavorful beer for those that usually confine themselves to light American lager. However, I don't think it does that, as people tend to drink it one day a year.
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point no. 1: it depends on the pub and the clientele. I agree that old beer is bad beer, and I might add that dirty lines are pretty bad also. But if the pub has consistent turnover and the beer doesn't sit there too long, old beer is not a problem. I know local pubs that have a lot more than 3-4 taps that flip them regularly.
point no. 2: IPA is a good style if done properly and balanced. Some, especially DIPAs can be unbalanced, but not all. Pliny the Elder is absolutely sublime and it's a double IPA. Blind Pig is a very good regular IPA. Racer 5, Green Flash, Drakes IPA, Stone IPA, and many many others are good beers. not for all occasions, but good beers nonetheless
point no. 3: there is no point to Guinness. It's just not a very good interpretation of the style and tends to be consumed by people who haven't ever tasted a good stout
The thread starter almost seems a bit fishy to me, as if it qualifies as stink bait to some degree. It would be interesting if the original poster came back to respond to the points people have made, but it strikes me that the post was hit and run.
At any rate, confusing two entirely different styles of stout, and using some sort of 19th century argument to deride IPA, puts things in perspective.
re: RB Hound
Not all the information the OP provided is nonsense in and of itself. Hops are a preservative and Guinness does have very little alcohol and does use nitrogen instead of carbon dioxide. But he/she misuses the information to make some silly points. As I stated below I think OP's at the VERY beginning of gaining some beer knowledge but unfortunately believes he/she is further along than what they actually are.
#1: draught beer is highly carbonated and pushed with CO2. I would imagine a keg would need to sit for months before going flat, and even then I do not believe it would go flat, though it certainly might taste stale.
#2: this is as uninformed as saying that pilsner is a boring style based on Coors or Budweiser. There are countless IPAs on the market, with very different flavor profiles. To dismiss the entirety of the fastest-growing segment of craft beer makes no sense.
#3: you're confusing dry Irish stout and foreign export stout - two completely different styles of beer.