Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Portrait of Genny

In the 60’s and 70’s, Rod Serling became known less as a writer of meaningful television drama and more as a pitchman. Among the many products and services he promoted was New York’s own Genesee Beer.

Now, I’m something of a beer enthusiast. I’m fortunate to reside in the Pacific Northwest, from which a seemingly endless supply of new and exciting beer perpetually springs forth. In fact, we’ve got a beer store right here in Tualatin, Oregon. That’s right, a beer store. Not a liquor store (well, we have that too). A BEER STORE. Paradise!

Birra Deli carries over 280 local and international beers. It’s been open for a couple of years now, and I just adore the place (in fact, I discovered one of my favorites, Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA, thanks to this place). I was browsing their selection recently, and spotted the following:

I immediately made the Serling connection and bought it. How could I not? As both a Serling disciple and a lover of beer, I had a duty to try it.

Y’now, I kinda wish I hadn’t. This stuff blows. Genesee is limp, uninteresting, and it has a strange unpleasant aftertaste (not the usual slight --- or not so slight --- bitterness you’d expect… this is something else). I’d honestly rather drink Budweiser, which I loathe (but will grudgingly drink, if it’s the only thing around).

Now, taken in a historical context, I can cut Genny some slack… the same slack I can cut other old-school piss-poor beers because, quite frankly, there wasn’t much selection forty years ago. The microbrew revolution hadn’t yet begun, and beer palates weren’t as developed as they are now. If all you have is cold piss on a hot day, well, you drink cold piss. It’s easier to crack open a Genny while you’re mowing the lawn than mixing up an Old Fashioned.

Wait --- Guinness was around then, so there WERE decent beers. Well, maybe not in grocery stores. Hell, I dunno.

I imagine it’s more or less a regional thing. It’s been around forever, so New Yorkers probably stand behind it no matter how many superior beers are available (Rainier Beer, a product of Seattle dating back to the 19th century, is probably Genesee’s NW equivalent). I’m actually a bit tickled that Genny found its way this far west, into a territory dominated by dramatically better brews. I guess it’s a bit of a scrapper, so maybe I owe it a bit of respect.

Just a bit. At the end of the day, it still tastes like piss. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to enjoy a nice big bottle (or three) of Ninkasi.

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