By Ben McCausland
BUDWEISER: The Great American Lager.
Except that it isn’t – it’s German. And it’s shite.
Budweiser: The King of Beers.
Except that it isn’t. Budweiser is more the Court Jester of Beers, or maybe the Hideous Old Crone of Beers.
Indicative perhaps of the taste-buds of a nation that brought us such culinary delights as spray-can “Easy Cheese” (how difficult can cheese be?) and Kraft’s “Avocado-Free Guacamole”, Budweiser is the best selling beer in America, its popularity in the States undimmed by its German heritage – much like Jurgen Klinsmann.
Budweiser was absurdly popular in the United Kingdom in 90’s – much like Jurgen Klinsmann – but who drinks it now?
To me it will always be the drink of your first Lads Holiday. You know the one; the one when you and nine mates you no longer speak to went to Tenerife for a fortnight. Your suitcase containing nothing more than a pair of swimming shorts, your Liverpool towel, eight shiny Moschino shirts and your school kecks.
Every night of those two weeks you sank Bud after Bud after Bud (until it was time for a Fishbowl), and you felt ten feet tall. But you were young then, and knew no better. You had seen the adverts with the handsome young Americans who sealed the deal in the boardroom then netted a 3-pointer on the court and celebrated both with a Bud in a neon-lit tavern. They played as hard as they worked. They reminded you of you.
But now you’re a little older, a little wiser and you recognise Bud for what it is. Don’t you?
Budweiser is the drink for the accounts manager on your works do. He isn’t a bad person per se, but let’s just say he wouldn’t be top of your list to take to Benidorm for the weekend. He doesn’t get out much – just the Christmas Do really – and like the 17 year old you he still thinks that it’s ok to drink Bud.
I’m sorry Colin, but it isn’t.
I have to confess, I genuinely think less of people when I see them drinking Budweiser. It pains me to pay for it when by some terrible mistake I am in the company of somebody who fancies a Bud on my round, and I have to stop myself from telling the bar-staff “it’s not for me you know, it’s for a mate”, as if I am in the newsagents trying to justify why I have got this month’s issue of “Big & Bouncy” stashed underneath the Echo.
I will concede one thing to Budweiser. That “Wasssssup” advert (and especially subsequent use by Milhouse in not one, but two episodes of The Simpsons) was boss.
This, a rare beacon of good in a long and storied history of “The Worst Lager Ever Made” (Trademark pending on this slogan).
This monstrosity of a beer even had the temerity to sponsor the F.A Cup. Little wonder then that managers began to field weakened teams, attendances dwindled and players celebrated finishing 4th with more gusto than winning the oldest cup competition in football. It was nothing to do with prioritising beating relegation, exorbitant ticket prices or the prospect of playing in the Champions League – it was because no-one wanted to have to celebrate with a Budweiser.
On a recent winter break to Miami where I drank nothing but anything that wasn’t Budweiser, I had to fly home via Philadelphia – cue mad Arctic snowstorm and the grounding of all flights on the Eastern Seaboard. With a 36hr delay and nothing but Philly Cheesesteaks and humming the theme tune to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to amuse me I had started to go a little delirious, so I decided to cough up $100 to pay into one of the swanky airlines executive lounges for a little R&R and a lot of free bevies.
As I dragged my tired body through the lush interior of the lounge, the deep shag pile carpet spilling over my flip-flops and tickling my toes, I saw it.
And then I heard it.
The light and the hum of a well-stocked fridge. Tunnel vision set in as I zoned out the disparaging looks sent my way from the business class passengers reclining in their plush leather couches.
This was it. This was my “Ice Cold in Alice” moment – this first beer wasn’t going to touch the sides as it washed away the stress and grime of ludicrously long delay. $100 was going to be a drop in the ocean compared to how many of these long-necked beauties I was going to get through.
I am about 10ft away now… 8… 6… my eyes focus… something’s not right here… a sea of red in this fridge… red labels on brown bottles…
A 6ft fridge filled top to bottom with those evil little bastards mocking me and my thirst.
As I fall to my knees and look skyward cursing the Gods and howling, I realise this isn’t my “Ice Cold in Alice” moment, but instead my “Planet of the Apes” moment as the crushing realisation of what my world had become dawned upon me.
“Ah, damn youuuuu! God damn you all to hell!!!!”
Ah well, at least I am lucky enough to actually be in Brazil for the majority of the group stage games, so I won’t have to suffer interminable England fans spilling their Budweiser on me (probably on purpose as they have realised how bad it tastes) and the endless ad campaigns explaining to me how “football is more than a game” – No, I will be enjoying a nice cold beer in the sun – far, far away from any Budweisers. In fact, let’s just have a quick look at who is the official beer of the World Cup, whose product I will be knocking back for the duration of this trip of a lifetime…
Oh Jesus God no…