Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday's overrated beer: Stella Artois



On the surface, comes across as ironic- a mass-market light lager among a nation of ancient and singular beers, owned by InBev, a brewing juggernaut among farmhouses with vats in them.

But if you spend any time in Belgium, you'll see that the folks really like their Artois. Stella and inBev co-owned lager Jupiler make up the vast percentage of Belgian beer sales. I guess you can't drink Tripel every day.

Until the mid '90s, Stella was rare around these here parts. Times change, however, and now the beer is brewed in Canada and pumped to us through large-diameter pipelines, or so it would seem based on how quickly Stella has saturated the American market.

In truth, it's a pretty good beer. Fresh-tasting, with a grassy finish, Stella mekes a great summer cooler. But what makes it overrated is the same thing that makes it ironic: Stella rides the reputation of the Belgian brewing tradition- a tradition which, at least in its modern incarnation, the beer completely ignores.

3 comments:

Calico said...

Hi, Mark. Glad you chose Stella. My opinion of it is lower than yours, but eh. Your opinion of Ommegang is lower than mine so we are even.

-Kira

ScottM said...

I have fond memories of Stella Artois simply because it was the first beer I ever really had; on a date which will live in infamy - 9/1/86 in Belgium (I'm sure you recall me hiccuping all the way from Brussels to your Dad's house after he picked us up... more fond memories.) However, the recollection doesn't match the reality as far as taste goes. I came across a pub that served Stella a few short years ago and ordered one, trying to recapture that youthful innocence. My reaction was short and pithy: "Wow, this beer sucks!" To quote Homer Simpson, "Hello! Hello, taste? Where are you?" Stella makes some watery light beers seem flavorful and robust by comparison.

Ed Lee said...

i, like much of the British population love a pint of Nelson*. It's just that extra bit stronger so it takes effect just a little quicker and makes for a much messier night out!

Ed
*Nelson -> Nelson Mandella -> Stella