With all this said, one of my regular beers for a long time was Rolling Rock. This was in part inspired by moving to Buffalo for graduate school, where Saranac didn’t inspire me in the ways that Northwest brewing did. They tried, but they weren't living up to what I had left behind. Rolling Rock was an easy-drinking beer, and it had been a favorite of my mother’s. (Note: one of my brothers recently crushed my fond memories by informing my that my mother liked Rolling Rock because Dirk Pitt drank it. Yes, Dirk Pitt of Clive Cussler fame. And I guess this inspired my mother to like Rolling Rock. When I thought it was her own interest in beer. But I didn’t know this at the time.) So I drank Rolling Rock, and several of the East Coast beers that were trying to be good. When Ommegang and Southern Tier came around, and Victory started showing up in Buffalo, life turned over a new leaf. Things were good. But Rolling Rock was always there for me, too. And I remembered that.
Then one day I noticed that the horse on the beer cap and label changed. Not a lot. But it had changed. Then I noticed that the city at the bottom of the front of the label had changed from Latrobe, PA to St. Louis, MO. I felt violated. No, really. The glass lined tanks of Old Latrobe aren’t in St. Louis. When I realized what that meant, I felt really violated. You can laugh. But I did. Something died in me that day.
I still drink Rolling Rock on occasion, but the taste is always bittersweet. Maybe it is because I’m angry. Maybe it is because craft brewing caught finally caught on on the East Coast, and I could finally find the beers that hadn’t been there before. And now, with the craft brewing explosion, there are things I like all over the place. “Regular” beer is much more plentiful than ever before. Even in Dayton, OH, I can find beer that fits. Southern Tier Pale Ale does the job, as does Rivertown Dunkel and Jeffrey McElfresh Smoky Brown. That’s right, I rely on local homebrew to get my regular fix. I also travel enough to see the regular beer I wish was local as well as regular: Full Sail Session, Bruery Humulus Session, and Iron Horse Hop Hub Pale Ale offer a peek, but this list could go on and on. To the break-a-break-a-dawn even. But regular beer. I want more session-strength American craft beer. And I want more local beer. Maybe you don’t live in he hinterlands, but I do. Who is with me?