Mass market beers

When I was growing up, no one ever heard of microbrews or ‘craft beer’. As a teen, Heineken and Saint Pauli Girl were the ‘exotic beers’. When I was old enough to drink, the cool kids drank Fosters – or San Miguel Dark for us edgy types. The closest thing to a ‘craft beer’ that was available where I lived was Anchor Steam.

No, growing up we had Budweiser and Coors and Schlitz and Pabst Blue Ribbon and Hamm’s and Lucky. I remember a commercial when I was a kid for King Snedley Beer, but I never heard of it outside of San Diego.

Now here’s a question, and I’ll use Hamm’s as an example. Hamm’s was established in 1865 by Theodore Hamm. In 1968 Hamm’s was acquired by Heublein. Olympia Brewing Co. owned the Hamm’s brand when the linked commercial was made (1979). Pabst bought Hamm’s in 1983. Miller bought it in 1999, and South African Breweries bought Miller and changed the name to SABMiller. Then SABMiller entered a joint venture with MolsonCoors to become MillerCoors. SABMiller also brews Foster’s, Grolsch, and Pilsner Urquell, among others.

So does Hamm’s beer brewed today have any taste resemblance to Hamm’s beer when Olympia brewed it? Does Foster’s taste different from other SABMiller beers? The cynical side of me (which is a very large side of a very large me) says, ‘It’s all the same beer! Just different packaging! It’s all badge-engineered and they bear no resemblance to the original beers!’ But I’m pretty sure that’s just me being cynical. Nevertheless…

Bass Ale used to be one of my favorites. it’s now made in the U.S. by A-B and it tastes like it.

I can’t speak on Hamm’s, but we had Shiner Bock as an independent brewer here when I was young*.

After they were bought by Gambrinus, it wasn’t as good. I’d say they were still using the recipe, but due to their new volume, the quality control wasn’t as good. It sometimes tasted like soap, which didn’t happen before.
*And it was the best beer ever.

What are you, Johnny, some kind of freakin’ beer historian?

'Cause that’s like really cool, and stuff. :smiley:

I could be mistaken, but beers like Bass Ale brewed in the US have a different taste than that brewed in the UK. Same with Fosters.

Chinese and Japanese beers (Tsingtao, Sapporo, Kirin, etc) definitely have a different taste and are brewed in the US and/or Canada.

I wonder what’s going on with Shiner? I can go to the local pub and get a Shiner draft that taste great. But if I bring home a 12 pack (bottles) I sometimes get the funky after taste.

Can you even find Hamm’s today? To my knowledge the brand is defunct.

beer snobs can rot in hell.

I’ve seen it at bars in Chicago in cans within the last two years. According to Wikipedia, it’s brewed by MillerCoors.

Hamms is available in west-central Wisconsin. I’ve only seen it sold in 30 packs that cost around twelve dollars. It’s not terrible as these types of beers go. It’s nothing special either.

Oh yes, and it is an uber-cheap beer now. At Meijer last week(I’m in Michigan), a 300 pack like this sells for $10.80.

I’m pretty sure I can drive down to Smith’s and grab a 12er. What I can’t find is Schlitz or Schaefers.

Not sayin’ that I’m really lookin’…

And I think Schmidt is long gone (and I always preferred it to Schaefers FWIW)

300 for $10.80? Even if it’s swill, I’m in at that price. :smiley:

… somebody who’s wondering about Hamms is a beer snob? :dubious:

For me, the whole question is indicative of the problem I have with most mass-market beer: The things they have to do to make it taste exactly the same year after year after year make it that much less interesting. I’d rather have a craft beer and not be sure what it’s going to taste like, than have a cheaper beer and have it taste exactly like what I drank five years ago.

I forgot about Coors, Michelob and Busch. I couldn’t find any Busch beer commercials I remember, but I did find a four and a half minute Flintsontes Busch promo.

I generally don’t drink mass market beers. (Well, unless I’m at a party and that’s what’s there. But I don’t get invited to parties anymore. Or if I’m in New Orleans where the Cool Kids drink Pabst, Abita, and Dixie.) I like alcohol, but the truth is I rarely drink it. So when I have a beer, I want a good beer. It’s about being social and having a nice moment; not about getting drunk. So I’ll have a Mack & Jack’s African Amber, something from Boundary Bay Brewery, or of course, a Guinness. For something light and refreshing on a hot day (and if I can’t get a Mac & Jack’s or a Manny’s Pale Ale), I like Longboard Lager.

What I was wondering about mass market beers (not just Hamm’s) is whether it tastes the same as it used to. Mass market beers have been through so many owners that if nothing else, ‘recipe creep’ might occur. (i.e., They substitute ingredients and procedures to increase profits.) As for products that taste ‘exactly the same year after year’, I’d love it if an Orange Crush or any number of other things tasted the way I remember them from the '70s. If I want something ‘crafted’ and different, then that’s what I get (and almost always do). But if I want something ‘familiar’, I’d rather it doesn’t change.

Schlitz recently made a big deal of going back to the recipe they used in the 60s. I’ve had some, and it tastes just like I remember.

Yeah, it was about six years ago or so that they tried to make a big comeback into the hip cheap beer market (a la PBR) here in Chicago with their “back to the 60s” reformulation. I’ve had it a few times, and it is pretty good for the style, but sells somewhere in between macro beer and craft beer prices.

Certainly until a few years ago Fosters was a different drink to Grolsch etc. It’s a long time since I’ve tasted these beers though.

I sure hope that’s the same with Budweiser. It’s an absolutely atrocious beer in the UK. I hope that it hasn’t got such a large market share in the US by selling the same utter garbage as they do in the UK.

Yeah, I remember Fosters tasting better before I became a home-brewer. Not sure which changed, my taste or theirs.

And Bud is not worth drinking, in my opinion.