The King of Beer has been dethroned. Gone are the days of suds aimed only at macho men. The kingdom of the frothy fermented drink has been...
The King of Beer has been dethroned.
Gone are the days of suds aimed only at macho men. The kingdom of the frothy fermented drink has been democratized. Behemoth beer distributors regularly market their malts to specific demographics.
From hipsters to ruralites, from Caucasians to Latinos, seems everyone has a beer just for them.
Over the past decade, the growing popularity of both MySpacian personalization and niche gourmet beers has allowed microbreweries to tap into even more explicit groups of people — or, in one case, animals.
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BEER FOR DOGS
Man’s best friend can enjoy man’s favorite drink.
Although regular beer is unhealthy for canines, the nonalcoholic Happy Tail Ale (www.beerfordogs.com) is four-legged friendly.
The drink was created in 2004 by former radio DJ Jamie Miller and her husband Kevin, self-proclaimed “crazy dog parents” from Napa Valley, Calif., when they wanted a unique birthday present for their 2-year-old Japanese Akita, Kodi.
“I had never brewed beer before,” says Miller. “Our first incarnation was beef bouillon, carbonated water and yellow food color. That was a disaster because if you drop beef bouillon into carbonated water, it explodes. I finally got the product down to being as close to real beer as possible.”
The beef-flavored Happy Tail Ale, available at Petco in a 12-pack for $17.97, is made of malted barley and filtered water, fortified with glucosamine and vitamin E.
Miller says 24,000 bottles of Happy Tail Ale have been sold this year and they’re developing new flavors.
What’s next? Lager for cats?
“I don’t know if I would do a beer for cats,” says Miller. “I think if I were to come up with some sort of beverage for cats, I think it would be champagne.”
BEER FOR GAY PEOPLE
During a “Saturday Night Live” sketch in 1991, Chris Farley and Adam Sandler poked fun at the era’s sexist beer promotions by infamously lusting after thong-clad men who magically appeared around a pool in an ad for faux beer Schmitt’s Gay. (See it on YouTube if you don’t remember: http://tinyurl.com/ygllbq.)
In years since, mainstream beer brands such as Bud Light and Coors have specifically marketed to the gay and lesbian community, while several small breweries have concocted actual brews — Pink Triangle Beer, Queer Beer and Brew Q, just to name a few.
In 1999, entrepreneur Jenn Lewis of Northampton, Mass., and brewer Liz Trott of Tunbridge Brewing in South Royalton, Vt., created Gay Pride Beer, a light beer that was force-carbonated instead of naturally carbonated like most gourmet microbrews.
But none of the above beers are here anymore.
BEER FOR JEWS
Believe it or not, the sudsy stuff has deep roots in religion.
Brewmaster monks in medieval times often celebrated the birth of Christ with a specially crafted concoction made from their finest ingredients.
And, despite stereotypes to the contrary, the tipple ain’t just for Christians.
In 1996, Jeremy Cowan started pouring HE’BREW, a Jewish-themed label from his Shmaltz Brewery (www.shmaltz.com). Billing itself as “The Chosen Beer,” the half-jokey, half-serious gourmet kosher microbrew has a boozy rabbi cavorting on the label.
“It was about time for Jewish Americans to have their own beer,” says Cowan. “Every ethnic group in America has their own beer imported into the U.S.”
In honor of Hanukkah and the brewery’s 10th anniversary, Shmaltz released the Monumental Jewbelation brew this season, made from 10 malts, 10 hops and 10 other ingredients. HE’BREW is available in about 25 states, including Washington, at liquor and grocery stores.
“In the same way you don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate ‘The Producers,’ ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ ‘Seinfeld’ or the Beastie Boys, I think I’ve used my Jewish culture and my Jewish schtick to create a product that is high-quality beer so that anybody who loves beer can enjoy it,” says Cowan.
And Shmaltz isn’t alone. Many beers are certified kosher, including Layla (www.laylabeer.com), a dirty blond lager with the tagline “Israeli for Beer,” imported to the U.S. by Israel Beer Breweries.
BEER FOR KIDS
No. It doesn’t contain any alcohol. And no. You can’t get in the U.S.
Sold in Japan for over two years, Kidsbeer is a cola-flavored, golden-colored soft drink that foams just like mom and dad’s beer. The bubbly beverage from manufacturer Tomomasu is served in brown, long-necked bottles with the slogan: “Even kids can’t stand life unless they have a drink.”
In 2005, Tomomasu announced they would bring the kiddie brew to Britain and then the rest of Europe. But after public outcry, that plan fizzled.