This past weekend I tried the new Leinenkugel’s Snow Drift Vanilla Porter. And I liked it. A lot.
If you went to a beer review site you would see that many people rate Leinenkugel’s beer as mediocre, nothing amazing. Maybe it’s true that Leinie’s beer is not the standard of craft brewing, but I see it as a gateway into the craft beer world. But it is owned by Miller Brewing Company for crying out loud! Who would have ever guessed that a company owned by Miller would be putting out Vanilla Porters and Russian Imperial Stouts like Leinenkugel’s is now?
This is your fault. Home brewers over the past couple of decades have been pushing the beer industry to offer wider varieties of beers by telling them “You only want to produce a basic light beer with no flavor? Then I’ll pass on your offerings and go create my own.” We now live in something like a free market for beer, breaking free from the monopoly of the huge brewers. It is not difficult to go out and find crazy beers like Russian Imperial stouts and double IPAs and barleywines.
When there are hundreds of options out there the big guys have to become more nimble and support markets that are much smaller and more “niche.” We all win.
What’s your favorite big-brewery craft beer?