As with many things that lack a definitive “yes” or “no” answer, the battle of the beer coasts may be more marketing gimmick than muscle. At least, that’s our latest theory.
Places like Tri City Brewing host “East Coast vs. West Coast” in Michigan, featuring its own beers along with New Holland Brewing (West Coast), reports TheFullPint.com. Putting its own beers in the ring? Choosing the competitor? This is not a fair fight.
Wired.com ran a beer vote last year to rope its readers into the age-old argument. The most conclusive thing it revealed (if you read the comment section on their website) is that these sorts of show-downs really piss off Midwesterners.
The New York Times wrote about The East Coast Versus West Coast Punk Rock Brew Tour a few years back, revealing just how seriously each coast takes themselves:
“Californians, with their year-round balmy weather, wouldn’t know a good stout beer if it hit them on their sun-kissed heads.” At least that’s how Brian Profilio, 36, a Staten Island art teacher, sees it. Profilio doesn’t hate West Coast beer. He hates California.
Former Mike’s Hard Lemonade brewery executive Anat Baron took the chest-beating to the silver screen in Beer Wars (2009). Beer Wars is a documentary focusing on the rising monopoly of the Anheuser-Busch brewing company in the USA, and their increasingly assertive actions against smaller, family-owned “craft” beer companies.
“The story follows several East Coast craft beer companies, including the ecstatic but risky expansion of Dog Fish breweries…. It largely ignores the recent rise of West Coast craft beer companies,” reads one synopsis. Some read into this: West Coast breweries don’t have a contender, to which we’d say, “you’re missing the point.” The movie is anti-Anheuser Busch, not West Coast breweries.
We tend to side with the centrists on the whole thing — like the folks at The Beer Sessions, who do their part to put the whole damn thing to rest:
“The East and West take very different approaches, but both have their own soul and identity. The East Coast IPA although it definitely has the bitterness that an IPA should have, tends to have more citrus and fruit notes to the taste. Good examples of the East Coast IPA would be Victory’s Hop Devil, Dogfish Head 60 Minute, or the Smuttynose IPA. It tends be a lighter, juicier, less aggressive, and more friendly IPA.
The West Coast IPA although it too has the citrus and fruit taste, tends to concentrate more on a hoppy, bitter, earthy, pine taste. This beer contains a drier and more aggressive take on the IPA style. Good examples of this style would be the Alesmith IPA, Stone IPA or the Green Flash West Coast IPA. All mentioned are incredible brews, and comparing to see which are better would be like comparing Italian wine to French.”
Of course, Beer Sessions got a lot of flack in its comments section about its lack of a stance. To that, we also say, who cares. If you care about East/West/Best, let us know (below). We’ll try to care back.