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stella artois

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  • MarkG Dec 1, 2012 02:16 AM

is it hype or is it a true premium beer??

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  1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/429727

    1. If you like fizzy yellow tastes like nothing beer it's fantastic.

      5 Replies
      1. re: chuckl

        It used to be nicknamed the Bud of Belgium .. (ironic now of course... ). I would say its great marketing to take a run of the mill product send it overseas and charge double what you can charge at home for the same beer.

        1. re: cwdonald

          Ironically, the company that makes Stella now makes the Bud of the US.

          1. re: cwdonald

            Exactly. Stella is what Budweiser ought to be--a decent-tasting light pilsener.

          2. re: chuckl

            If you cannot taste Stella (or any other beer) you should probably see a doctor as something must be wrong with your taste and olfactory sensors.

            1. re: FrankJBN

              I used to frequent this Belgian pub in Philly in the 90s. Ok basically I lived there. I discovered St Freulian, DeKonnick, Orval, Unibrou, La Chouffe, and of course Chimay and others. It was a great time in my life looking back on it. Anyway this pub had regulars who enjoyed the look and atmosphere but preferred to drink Bud Light. The owner (a Belgian) would offer them tastes of the Belgian but they'd wince and go back to Bud Light. Then the owner introduced Stella and those Bud Light folks loved it.
              So is Stella utterly tasteless ok no. But is it preferred by people who like light beer? For sure.

          3. Light beers such as lagers and pilsners do not travel well, and they should be consumed as fresh as possible. Stella poured from a clean tap in Leuven will taste a LOT better then Stella in the green bottle you'll find in the US. I also would not be surprised one bit if AB InBev added preservatives in the Stella made for export; it certainly tastes like they do. So in my opinion a fresh Stella in Belgium is a decent example of the euro pale lager style, while Stella you get overseas is just not worth drinking.

            Having said that, one could say that a "simple" beer style like a pale lager can never be truly considered a premium beer anyway.

            3 Replies
            1. re: od_sf

              I doubt very much that preservatives are added to Stella destined for export. I also doubt that all pale lagers are destined to be non-premium.

              I generally try to consume beer made close to where I am at the moment.

              1. re: od_sf

                I was under the impression that at least some Stella was now brewed Stateside. (?) I recall seeing it at the "Bud factory" in JAX. Thought I saw it on the assembly line for bottling. I know they had it on tap at the taste room.

                1. re: crewsweeper

                  I believe all Stella sold in the US still comes from Belgium. On the other hand, Spaten is destined soon to be brewed in the US.

              2. Its a trick question insofar as there is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a "premium" beer.

                3 Replies
                1. re: chuckl

                  Good point. It's sort of amusing that in the US, 'premium' refers to Budweiser and its brethren.

                  1. re: Jim Dorsch

                    "It's sort of amusing that in the US, 'premium' refers to Budweiser and its brethren"

                    So true, I always thought of them as headaches in a can.

                    1. re: chilibeanpaste

                      Then you have super premium: Michelob, etc. Of course, there was a time when those were accurate descriptions. But that was 30 years ago.

                2. It's a fantastic logo disguised as a beer.

                  23 Replies
                  1. re: Josh

                    That's the name of the game for many brands these days. Corona has had great success with its images of lazy days at the beach, Stella has staked out a position as a sophisticated beer. Image has amazing power.

                    Craft had a distinct disadvantage in this area, and still does to a great extent. Perhaps this has been a blessing in disguise, as consumers have had to focus on the beer instead of image or packaging.

                    1. re: Jim Dorsch

                      The lack of marketing of craft beer has been a blessing in disguise because consumers are drinking beer based on what tastes good rather than whats hyped the most. This is why the major brands can't compete with craft beer. No matter how much money they throw at marketing, their beer still tastes like nothing.

                      1. re: chuckl

                        Hype most definitely exists in the craft beer scene. Just look at Pliny the Younger or Westvleteren 12 craze. Not saying that those beers are not great... but they are definitely way over-hyped. Russian River's marketing ploy has been pure genius.

                        1. re: od_sf

                          What was RR's marketing ploy?

                          1. re: Chinon00

                            What's their marketing ploy? They like to call it "slow growth". Lowering the production of your most in-demand products in order to create a massive shortage sure creates a lot of hype.

                            1. re: od_sf

                              I hear you but Pliney's success isn't based on image or anything superficial like Stella's is. People who pursue Pliney know what they're drinking.

                              1. re: od_sf

                                I don't know why you have such a problem with Russian River. IMO Vinnie is a guy who's done everything right. He's grown at a self-sustaining pace, mastering the production of some very tricky beer styles, producing consistently great beers while gradually increasing production. If that's "hype" then the craft beer industry could do with a lot more of it.

                                I don't know if you've been to Russian River's brew pub, but I suggest paying them a visit sometime. I've yet to have a bad beer from them, which is certainly nothing I can say about the vast majority of other craft beer makers. Very few brewers are able to put out such consistently high-quality product.

                                1. re: Josh

                                  I don't have a problem with Russian River at all. They are my favorite American brewery and I buy their beers all the time. I have visited the brew pub. In my opinion, they are well deserving of their success. But at the same time, making one of their most popular brews almost unobtainable has created a HUGE buzz for them. Don't tell me you don't agree. If you can produce the Elder year round, there is no reason to keep the Younger's production so incredibly limited when there's obviously a huge demand for it, other than to add to the hype.

                                  1. re: od_sf

                                    I don't really get the hype around PTY. It's probably my least favorite RR beer. Compunction, Beatification, and Sanctification are the ones that should be coveted, IMO.

                                    1. re: Josh

                                      What's your favorite concentrated Imperial IPA?

                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                        I don't love the style, but I'd say the best one I had was Alpine's Exponential Hoppiness.

                                      2. re: Josh

                                        I agree, and would add Consecration and Supplication to that list. He really excels at wild ales.

                              2. re: od_sf

                                Damn those Monks for creating all of those fake users on Beer Advocate!

                                1. re: JAB

                                  My point was that hype most definitely exists in craft beer. Most people can't tell the difference between Westvleteren 12 and St. Bernardus Abt 12 but there is massive hype for one and not for the other.

                                  1. re: od_sf

                                    The difference is that hype for craft beers is usually generated by someone else, not by the brewery.

                                    1. re: od_sf

                                      St. Bernardus 12 you can buy at almost any good beer shop. Westy 12 is impossible to get. People wanting to try a beer that they've heard great things about doesn't make it hype.

                                  2. re: od_sf

                                    I agree that there is some hype in the craft beer scene, but Russian River is not one of the breweries I'd accuse of perpetuating it. They have pretty much zero marketing or advertising budget, and all of the hype around their beer is from word-of-mouth by fans.

                                    I do agree with you that the fans of Pliny the Younger do over-hype the beer. I've had it and I think it's just OK (as opposed to Pliny the Elder which is an incredible beer). Another example of stupid craft beer hype is the mania around Dark Lord.

                                    Your comments about Westy 12, though, make no sense to me. That's a beer that's been made for a very long time without any presence outside of its home country apart from bottles smuggled out, and it's an amazing beer (and noticeably different from St. Bernardus 12).

                                2. re: Jim Dorsch

                                  I thought you guys might enjoy this article, if you haven't already seen it.

                                  1. re: chuckl

                                    Ah, my college days...

                                    1. re: Josh

                                      how times have changed, and quickly, too

                                    2. re: chuckl

                                      Interesting. I hadn't realized that Michelob had dropped like a rock. Years ago, beers like Michelob were the upscale offerings.

                                      1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                        A lot of your Michelob drinkers were the type of people who now drink craft beer.

                                        1. re: RB Hound

                                          Yes, and a few years ago, before Inbev bought them, AB created a stable of Michelob craft beers, which never seemed to catch fire, which doesn't surprise me.

                                3. I would argue that some of the popularity of craft beers is exactly due to imaging. Craft beers initially reeled in consumers with their "down home" quirky titles and packaging. Fish..dogs.etc...just peruse all the interesting labels and names in the craft beer aisle. Definately begging for those looking to be/appear hip. Like being at one of those hot sauce specialty shops
                                  Not saying they aren't quality beers..just saying they have an image as well.. .

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: rochfood

                                    Eh, I think imports held that sway (in terms of which beers you drank to appear hip) for a while. In the early 80s (before the craft revolution) imports (i.e. Amstel, St Pauli Girl, Becks etc) were seen as "in crowd" beers. Moving into the 90s and the introduction of Belgian beers to the US I do recall Chimay having a bit of a following for it's label and cachet.
                                    But as for American craft I'm really not aware of much if any crossover appeal to the hip crowd like there is for say PBR.

                                    1. re: rochfood

                                      The craft beer label message is, we are the irreverent outsiders, and very different from mass market industrial beer. And theyre right.

                                    2. Stella is kinda an english piss-beer...opps... better run.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: hetook

                                        The first time I'd ever heard of Stella was several years ago when a UK-based journalist wrote that he would "bet a four-pack of Stella." Not only had I never heard of Stella, I'd never heard of a four-pack. At the time I figured it was a hip new beer. When I finally got a chance to taste it, I was disappointed.

                                        Now you see four-packs of stuff all over. I think it is a pretty recent packaging concept (versus six-pack).

                                        1. re: GraydonCarter

                                          It's not for tasting. It's for drinking.

                                          1. re: GraydonCarter

                                            As a young design student, back in the 80's, I was exited to try this hip four pack I had never seen before @home. In London,at that time, you could drink alcohol on the buses and tubes. I took a Stella four pack, upstairs to a cushy, front window-seat, on an old Routemaster double decker, after college. I was so dissapointed. Being from Canada, our beer was not supposed to be better.

                                        2. Frequent travels to Antwerpen and Bruges to visit Belgian colleagues most often included tastes of the country's famous and not so famous brews. I have never liked Stella and these visits and the comments of my hosts have confirmed my opinion on this issue. So many beers so little time and no time for Stella.