If you pay any attention at all to craft beer news, you’ve been aware that DC has slowly and steadily been making a name for itself in the craft beer world. There’s a long and rich history of beer in this town. That history spans from George Washington’s personal beer recipe to the welcome addition of four new local breweries this year. With SAVOR quickly approaching, we have a chance to show the rest of the country our deep appreciation for craft beer.
An unfortunate side effect of the creativity involved in making great beers is the occasional cycle of one-upmanship and the inherent snobbery that goes along with that. Whose beer has the most IBU’s? Whose is the strongest? Have you ever heard of the type of hops used in this dubbelhefepaleweizenbock? Of course you haven’t. There was only one crop made. With seeds found in the remains of a ship off the coast of Spain that sank after it was struck by a meteor on the last blue moon of the century. We blew up the sub that recovered the seeds. And we turned all of our notes and nautical maps into mulch, with which we fertilized the plants. Once we harvested those hops, we burned the fields and salted the earth so that nothing would ever grow there again. Thanks to all of our extensive preparations, this is now the most exclusive beer on the face of the earth. The fact that it tastes like burnt cough syrup poured through an old bong is beside the point. It’s supposed to taste that way. It would be challenging for a light beer drinker (implied: like you) to keep from gagging let alone appreciate it.
Is the above an extreme exaggeration meant to help illustrate a point? Yes. Is it too terribly far from the truth? With the exception of the part about the meteor, in some cases not really. The idea that if something is accessible to the masses, and is therefore popular, and therefore successful, that it is disqualified from being “craft” is unfortunate. It places craft beer, and those who enjoy it, right in the realm of elitist snobbery.
The other side of this coin is the beer drinker who has their brand and refuses to branch out and try anything other their standard light beer. They defend the bland, tasteless, bubbly substance that they gulp down by the gallon as if it were a friend or a family member. I see it happen every weekend.
“Hey, can I get three Boozy Waters?”
“Sorry, we don’t have that.”
“Yeah, I’m sure. We’ve got Crappity Crap Ultra, though. That work for you?”
“Ugh. Fine. But I don’t like it.”
Some high-minded craft beer consumers refuse to drink anything that’s even near the edge of mainstream. Some light beer drinker refuse to expand their horizons by trying anything that has taste. Neither of these mindsets are acceptable.
We’re going to do an experiment at the Iron Horse Tap Room for the week leading up to SAVOR. Of the twenty beers we offer on our main draft lines, eighteen of them will be priced $5 ($4 during happy hour!) and two of them will be priced at $8 a pint. Those two will be Miller Light and Bud Light. The rest will be a mix of great American craft beer. It’s an opportunity for some to get off their high horse and for others to get out of their rut. If you really really really want your crappy light beer, you’re going to have to pay a craft premium for it. On the other side, your search for the next ultra-small batch Belgian tripel (at an obnoxiously high price point) will just have to wait a bit longer, Poindexter.
Everything goes back to normal on Sunday, June 4th. Cheap beers will be cheap, good beers will be moderately priced, and expensive beers will be expensive, but for a few days we’ll hopefully have created a safe place for people to try something new. No matter your beer preference, I hope you’ll stop by and enjoy a pint or two!
Iron Horse Tap Room