15 September 2011

Guilty Pleasures

As a college deejay in the latter half of the '80s, I had a canon of music that I was supposed to adhere to. And for the most part, I liked that canon. The Clash, Bad Brains, Beastie Boys, Camper Van Beethoven, New Order, The Cure, De La Soul, The Dead Milkmen, Fishbone, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Joy Division, Minutemen, Pixies, The Replacements, The Smiths, X. Those are just a select few of the canon.

I wasn't supposed to like or play this.

Or this.

Or this.

I never played these artists when I was deejaying. But underneath the secrecy of my stereo headphones, they were in my listening rotation, and I enjoyed them greatly. I even loved them.

Something enjoyed that is not supposed to be enjoyed is commonly called a "guilty pleasure," whether that something is music or beer. Yet calling something a "guilty" pleasure implies that the thing enjoyed possesses no merit, or that it shouldn't be judged to possess merit. In the '80s, Duran Duran was judged by the music cognoscenti to be a shit band because they were pretty boys and MTV poster children. But even the most jaded music snobs had difficulty denying that the band's songs were complexly layered and backed by John Taylor, who eventually came to be regarded as one of the most accomplished bassists of the era. So perhaps there was some merit to the band after all.

When it comes to beer, some of us have what might be regarded as guilty pleasures, particularly when we talk about macrobrewed lagers. When I drink a macro (which is a pretty rare occasion), I prefer Rolling Rock, which I found a taste for in the '90s when it suddenly surged into prominence for reasons I'm not quite sure of. One of my favorite Hoosier Beer Geek memories from the first year of the blog is the Retro Beer Challenge, a tournament-style blind tasting of American macro lagers. Budweiser eventually prevailed in the tournament, but Rolling Rock was one of the runners-up, which made me feel vindicated in my sometime affinity for the beer.

So, two questions:

- Is it accurate to call one's liking for a macro a "guilty" pleasure? I suppose that this question relates to what Matt wrote about last month after InBev's acquisition of Goose Island. Further, I know that this question has undoubtedly been debated elsewhere. But I'd be interested to hear more thoughts on the subject. I don't necessarily think there's a wrong or right answer to the question.

- If you have a macro that you enjoy, what is it, and why do you enjoy it?


  1. Olde English... and 30-packs of High Life. I feel like there's a place for everything - sometimes I might want some Taco Bell, on other occasions I'm more into Mexican that's closer to fine dining. Same goes for beer.

  2. This past weekend we were out drinking here and there when I said aloud "I have a bad idea" - thus we ended up at Dorman Street with a High Life in front of us.

    The initial idea was to just drink cheap beer, but after a round of High Life, the next round ended up being Anchor Steam. High Life was just not working for me.

    I'm not sure what that says about me, or anything.

  3. I'm waiting for you PBR drinkers to chime in.

  4. I drink Amstel Light whenever I'm in Vegas...if I can't find anything fun.

  5. If I'm at an Irish place I'll order Guinness. There's something about that creamy nitro head, roasty flavor and near-water body that makes it just seem right with a plate of fish and chips.

    Also the Michelob varieties are not all that bad, especially considering the price point. They also make excellent bottles for homebrewing because the labels are so easy to remove.

    Sam Adams Light is the best beer I've ever had with Light on the label.

    There's nothing guilty about liking Goose Island. They are a great brewery.