A Matter of Taste

Few loyalties are stronger than those that bind beer drinkers to their brews. But beyond real artful packaging and the image-stroking advertising, is there really any significant difference between the various brands of American beer?

Most experts answer no. The major U.S. brews all look and taste pretty much alike because, by and large, that is the way most American drinkers prefer them.

They like smooth-tasting, relatively bland suds as compared with, say, the heavy and bitter Germanic brews from which American beer descended. The result is a standardized American "taste" that varies little from beer to beer. Says a Boston beer consultant,...

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