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The beer hunt is on

November 05, 2009|By Roy Leisure

Beer connoisseurs Peter Duncan, who resides in La Cañada, and Roy Leisure, who works in town, searched for the best local beer hole. Here’s what they found.

At La Cañada’s Le Petit Vendome, Peter Duncan and I were eyeballing the latest bottled ales, lagers and stouts in the cold case and actually started a thought. And as this thought fermented within us we reached beyond the id and existentialism to formulate this chilling question: Where can you get a high-quality beer on tap in this town?

As it turns out, practically nowhere. Very few of the town’s restaurants have tapped beer and of those most are represented by the ‘macro-breweries’, Budweiser, Miller and Coors.

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They may be light or dark or caloric or not but they’ll always be very light lagers or borderline pilsner beers. American microbrews and those foreign beers fail to show up on tap and rarely in bottle form.

Now, to be fair, restaurants and bars can’t possibly devote enough space to satisfy the wine aficionados, much less the beer lovers. By the time a manager completes the Rubik’s cube process of pairing this month’s food and wine list who has time for the beer list and a few hundred microbrews?

We can’t disagree with the decision to support the bottom line with the support of the macro-breweries. Their pale lager beers are high profit centers with incredible consistency and uniformity. The trade-offs are low-grade, high-volume beers with very little flavor.

The average American’s taste for these light lagers developed during the early part of the 20th century due to a lack of options. Prohibition put almost all of the small and large breweries out of business in the 1920s and any resurgence in the industry after legalization in the early 1930s was further stymied by a lack of available ingredients during World War II.

Some sort of profit was required to survive so they designed beers requiring the bare essentials of ingredients. .

For years these borderline pilsners became the patriotic preference for the majority of Americans and, after all, would it make any sense to drink German or eastern European beer after that war? In the 21st century this is not the mindset of the x, y and z generations, the global business traveler or the sophisticated consumer. It certainly doesn’t make sense in an environment where we could use the support of foreign tourist dollars.

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