Why does American Beer Suck?

I think Monty Python said it best when they said…“American Beer is like making love in a canoe…It’s fu*king close to water”. Sounds to me like they hit the nail right on the head with that one.

At least it’s cold.

Starting with prohibition, the overwhelming concern with alcoholic content of beverages became the primary measure of what is, or is not beer. Even after the repeal, the tax laws, and regulations promulgated by the states consider only one thing: alcoholic content.

No one really worked too hard on taste.

The very low levels of alcohol desired by authorities required that beer be diluted in almost every case. Eventually, methods were refined that added the water in before fermentation, so that brewers could deny that they watered their beer. The beer is still pretty close to water.

So, American beer is “lite.”


It’s only the mass market stuff that is ordinary. The beer awards in Australia each year feature lots of US winners in various categories. Tasting’s beer search lets you find beers by ratings and type from around the world. Check out some of the over 90 score beers from the US.

Why don’t I like green beans?

Where be ye from?

Actually it’s a matter of diverging tastes.

Kind of like kangaroos in Australia, we evolved somewhat isolated from other lands.

Then again, there ARE some fucking good beers here. Bud and Miller aren’t best sellers because they’re good, it’s because they’re cheap.

BS. Budweiser, in particular, has been brewed since 1876 with the same alcohol content and ingredients as now. It was designed to have the very light flavor of a beer from a monastery in the town of Ceske Budejovice, or in German, Budweis. The recipe was purchased from that monastery, because the brewers felt that it would appeal to the taste of Americans at the time, and that taste has not changed. Much the same story goes for other American beers. It’s supposed to taste that way because that’s the way people like it. I may not like it, and you may not like it, but you and I do not dictate to the marketplace. Most people do not want beer to sip it and enjoy the flavor; they want to drink it and quench their thirst. And, for the record, Budweiser (the most popular beer in America) is 4.6% alcohol by volume – more than Guinness (4.1%).

What’s funny is I had an argument recently with some canuck about this very subject.

It all boils down to what I like and what I want to drink. If I happens to be a majority then their is a market place. We obviously like it. You are not better than anyone else because you like the way beer is made in your country more than the beer made in mine.

Hats off to you and your beer I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy mine.

Moved to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

I’m pretty sure that Budweiser outsells Guinness in the UK too, which just reinforces what may be the real point about American beer: it’s cold, light, and refreshing. It actually quenches thirst. Think of it as a beer soda.


The OP is flawed. If you can’t find good beer in the US you haven’t been trying.

This subject has been done to death here.

american beers actually tend to have more alcohol content than the stoutr european beers.
Personally I think beer tastes like shit, so the closer to water higher alcohol content beers suit me better becasue I do not need to drink so much of the vile crap.

Better a good shot of rum.

Get out more. There are many excellent American beers. If you think that the stuff in cans bought from a supermarket is all there is to American beer, you need to learn a great deal more about American beer.

can you tell me this then?

If you go into an ordinary American bar; what sort of range of beers will there be? How many will be on draught? What do they cost?

(In the UK the answer would be something like - On draught: two lagers (one stronger than the other), at least two bitters (“British beer”), again one stronger and almost always Guiness, and sometimes a complete abortion called “smooth” beer - which is a gassy version of bitter and is truly foul. Most bars also carry a mass produced alcoholic cider.

There will also be a range of bottled beers usually made up of premium imports (budweiser is ubiquitous), as well as light ale, brown ale and occasionally mild, as well as bottled guiness and bottled ciders.

Cost wise (in London) a 20floz pint will between £1.90 and £3 depending on location and the bottles about £2.50 each.

The problem with bud is that it is made of rice. Rice for gods sake.

It really depends on where you go. Many bars offer over 50 beers on tap from all around the world. I’d say that most bars have at least 10 different beers on tap. And of course, all kinds of bottles. The variety you get here in the US, you probably don’t get anywhere else. At least anywhere else that I’ve been.

Also, I find it laughable that people say that American beers are shit (or shite). Think about it, if we wanted to make a beer like yours, we could easily do it. For the past 100 years, we basically invented everything in the world for chrissakes! But we make stuff that sells. You can’t drink Guinness all night. I once drank 4 pints and felt awful. But I could go through several pitchers of Coors Light without any problems. And it goes down so easily. If I was giving out beer awards, I’d put Coors Light way ahead of Guinness. Of course, Hacker-Pshorr Weisse is another story. That’s an incredible beer.

I’m not sure what the point of this is, but OK. The average American bar probably has around 6-7 beers on tap. In DC, just about every bar features Yeungling, Sammy, Miller Lite, and Budweiser. Most also offer some combo of Guinness, Harp, Sierra Nevada, Heineken, Pete’s, or a house brand.

Bottled beers are plentiful and varied, from Beck’s to Newcastle to Corona to whatever.

Beers will run you between $2 and $4 at most bars, depending on the bar and the type of beer you get. For instance, if you’re paying more than $2.50 for a Miller Lite at a bar, something’s wrong (and not just the fact that you’re getting a Miller Lite). But you’re also not going to pay less than $4 for a Guinness.

That’s because rice is cheaper. That’s how Budweiser can hold down its prices here in the States to $9 for a 12 pack in most stores. I don’t know how much it’ll run you in the UK.

[QUOTE=Jackknifed Juggernaut]
It really depends on where you go. Many bars offer over 50 beers on tap from all around the world. I’d say that most bars have at least 10 different beers on tap. And of course, all kinds of bottles. The variety you get here in the US, you probably don’t get anywhere else. At least anywhere else that I’ve been.


If you have 50 beers on tap I am assuming that they would all be pastutrised and pressurised? For stock control purposes if nothing else. Do you get “real ale” ie cask conditioned and still living?

Of the draught beer would there be more than one kind - ie what we call Lager (yellow fizzy beer in the continemntal style, ranges from awful to sublime.)?

Do you drink it in pints as well?

As an aside when I was a lad I used to watch shows like “rosanne” and there would always be an episode or two when the man was entertaining and he would get a crate of beer in for his pals - I was well impressed with American’s capacity for beer, until I drank some. My mum could drink more than that.

It does in the end come down to taste, and the mass market lagers in the UK are pretty foul too.

Guiness is foul IMHO - I’ve never seen the appeal. It tastes burnt. Most of the people that drink it are tossers too.


You might not be able to, but I damn well can! Though me arse doesn’t thank me the next day.

My take: cheap American beers suck, but they’ve got some absolute beauties in the US.

Unfortunately, most countries seem mainly to export their cheap beers (E.g. Sol, Harp, Molsen, Fosters, Bud), so foreigners get the wrong impression.

BTW, that ‘burned sugar’ taste, which I agree sucks, I’ve only ever experienced in the UK, and even then that was years ago. It never tastes like that in Ireland; very smooth.

Is that the story the Budweiser PR Flacks are selling now?

Budweiser (not to be confused with Budweiser Budvar) and the other American Light Lagers use a fair amount of corn and rice in the grist. That’s how they get the higher alcohol levels without much body or mouthfeel. BudMillerCoors are excellent brewers, technically speaking. The consistency of their products is a marvel. I would imagine their Brewmeisters could make some great tasing brews. However, they haven’t been brewing with the same recipe since 1876. Ignoring the 13-yr fiasco of Prohibition, the adjunct laden American Light Lager (American Standard) came as a result of economic forces.

*from the Brewer’s Association of America*