Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Session #79: Old World Beer vs New World Beer


The Session is upon us again and this month we are putting up dukes and drawing lines in the sand.

'What the hell has America done to beer?'

Thank you Ding for stirring things up. (as usual...)

The Session, a.k.a. ‘Beer Blogging Friday’, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry. Friday September 6th will see my turn to ‘host’ The Session, #79 in the series.

Tasting Nitch was all ready to cat claw and pin wheel her lovely lady arms on the face of combatants around the world during this Old* vs. New** and 'what did they do?!' debate... but after laying out my words, then reviewing and revising, I found that I am all effing purrs and puffs today.

'USA versus Old World Beer Culture' or how I stopped worrying and learned to love the atomic hop

Ding, ding- let the games begin!


Round 1- I live in France

First off I want to say that I'm fully a New World fighter. I'm addicted to hops, I like beers with strange ingredients, I require pumpkin ale for the holidays and I not only demand fresh/unique beers on a rotating basis but I assume those around me do also. I am American and my opinions are loud.

That being said, it must be known that I live in France- the culture hoarders of the world, perfection in all things gastronomic and nasal expressions for things that displease. There is no beer culture beyond lager (some, but not much). And if you want to give me that shrug about being close to Belgium and Germany, then you can join these people.

Being in places void of New World beer flair has caused a dedication to the craft addiction bordering on insane, I admit. So when I hear people preach about Old World beer and it's perfection I get a little eye ball rolly. Classics are great but... when you've ridden the big roller coasters, the ferris wheel ain't got the same kick!

Round 2- It's about the generation not the location


Like the Star Wars series, great things will cycle and slightly evolve as the new generation moves in. The standard beer geek in the 80's was a wire rimmed, long-haired, science nerd who would often throw up the 'live long and prosper.' Today, the term 'beer geek' is becoming a fashion and people educating themselves about their drinking options is 'the cool thing'. Nothing wrong with that.

Hipsters might be something of the new world development. Can't hate em, they are going to inherit the world- bright yellow skinny jeans, sparrow tattoos, mustaches and all.

[caption id="attachment_1776" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Hipster evolution Hipster evolution[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1774" align="aligncenter" width="750"]EvolutionOfCanadianBeer2-01 Evolution of Canadian Beer[/caption]

Old world is was stagnant. Until New world rolled in and reminded the beer world (the entire world) that crafting things with love creates people who love what they craft. And a community to support it.

The fact that Belgium nearly lost it's entire brewing culture up until the 90's due to over commercialization is something a lot of Belgian brewers will admit to. They give thanks to New World's crazy unique beer addiction (while also blaming them for the bastardization to begin with).

Check out this interview with Yvonne De Baets from Brassier de la Senne. (5:00 in gets to the topic)

Old world needs to shakes hands with New world, pat it on the head, thank it for the help across the street and offer up some words of wisdom. Maybe something like, "Don't call them Lambics if they're made in the US. Lambic is specific to Payottenland. Feel free to make what you want and call it what you want, other than Lambic. Good luck, kiddo."

Round 3- Make beer, not war


If you ask a German who invented beer (after a bit of name dropping and switch foot confusion) say it was Germany. Ask an English man where the best beer comes from and he is bound to bring out the hail storm of British beer history, rather or not traditional english ales are his favorite.

url-1We all have our traditions, roots and misconceptions about beer, which is why the time has come to let go of dependable old Reinheitsgebot and let the blending begin.

Beer culture is as vast as the vats that created it.

So yeah, New World beer is mucking up the traditionally clean waters of the brew house- but think what a little mud would do for the flavor of the beer? For good or bad, stagnant Old World beer needed a little alkalization in the mix to keep from incestual death.

Keep the traditions alive! By allowing the younger generations to play, Ding. We might be psychotic addicts to over hype but New World is the future and the base of our future is the love of doing what we do, the way we do it (with costume parties, hop injectors and frankenstein beer concoctions).

Knock out

[caption id="attachment_1777" align="alignright" width="191"]China is doing it too... China is doing it too...[/caption]

What about countries like Brazil, Chile, China and South Africa? They are starting to making newer, more complex and possibly even MORE completely bastardized beers! Will it then be Old World vs New World vs Future World?

How about we make it One World.

One Beer World, under Ninkasi, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Now, lets shake on it.

giphy (1)


*Old world- Belgium, Germany, The United Kingdom, and any other place that once had real kings and queens in stone castles.

**New World- Canada, the United States, Australia (aaaand... then you have everyone else who isn't Old World but doesn't quite rock the boat as much as the first three.)



  1. […] that preemptively in my original post, and in a similar way the The Tasting Nitch puts together a predictable post, also addressed preempitively. Sean Inman at the Beer Search Party repeats much the same […]

  2. Thanks for including Canada as an actual country. Appreciated.

    Now you've got me singing Black Eyed Peas:

    One tribe y'all, one tribe y'all
    One tribe y'all, we are one people


  3. Good post. Hardly what I would call predictable. I liked the comic book thing you did there.

  4. Canada is part of the new world, fo sho. The prohibition that twisted beer culture in America had different but equally interesting effects on Canada. I don't see why this fight is American vs everyone else- come'on neighbor Canada ^.^

    *fist pump*

  5. In the world of Nitch this Session was a brawl and I had Bruce Lee intentions! Boooya!