In a group the other day I was asked “You brew our own beer?…so, are you an alcoholic?” by a knuckle-dragger drinking a Bud Light. I laughed inside thinking I should be asking him that question and not the other way around. I didn’t go into the irony of his question but I did explain that I was a bit of a beer snob and that I like being able to make a beer taste the way I want and I can brew hard to find and expensive beers fresher and cheaper and left it at that. I did add a jab at the bottle of water he had in his hand saying that to me, his beer had no flavor.
BMC beer (that’s short for Budweiser Miller Coors but basically means the fizzy yellow mass produced beers) exists for what purpose? Mass consumption. It is brewed to be as neutral as possible so you can drink it in quantity. Homebrew is made (and craft beer and microbrew) for flavors. Yes, there are brewers out there who make fizzy yellow homebrews but the numbers doing that is considerably small. Most of us are shooting for flavors. In that pursuit of flavor we often find ourselves in the realm of higher alcohol levels than BMC beer. Usually those higher ABV beers are so full of flavor and complexity that they don’t lend themselves well to downing a half rack. Most homebrewers savor their beers, much like wine snobs do. That’s not to say we don’t occasionally want to drink a light beer in quantity or as refreshment. But there are plenty of great non-BMC beers out there that are light but still have plenty of flavor. It is often said that there is a beer out there for everyone-even non-beer drinkers. Try a Kolsch. Try a true Pilsner or Vienna Lager. A clean and light American Pale Ale or Australian Sparkling Ale can be a great replacement for BMC. There are so many more styles out there.
What’s the difference? Think of it like coffee. Homebrew/craft beer/microbrew are your Dunkin’ Donuts. BMC is Dunkin’ Donuts watered down with flavorless caffeine added back in. Why would you be drinking that? It would have to be for the caffeine and not the flavor much like BMC is about the alcohol and not the flavor. See, they actually make a strong beer and water it down to make BMC. They further rob their beer of flavor by replacing some of the grain with corn or rice (corn and rice add alcohol with little to no flavor addition until you get to higher levels). So why are you drinking BMC? It has to be for the alcohol and not the flavor.
Who is the alcoholic again?