Brew pubs offer finely crafted, house made ales and lagers,– more or less hoppy, light or dark, crisp, earthy, or silky smooth. Sometimes a drinking establishment of quality and personality will specially offer a select microbrewery batch, maybe something nutty in the fall, something grassy and bright in the spring. These pints are spendier than the general population beers, they demand the respect of being savored as the goal, rather than acting as the plastic-bottle-bourbon shot chaser.
The point is, the house beer is generally acknowledged to be something special. Something a brewmaster synergized effort, experience, and science to create. A house brew is a signature accomplishment perhaps, and stands as a signal of the class and quality of the establishment. Even having a house brew evokes the sense that a business has catalyzed a personality from the mystique of the brew and the patrons who love it.
My encounter with Big Flats 1901 Premium Beer was laid on such foundational expectations. Big Flats, brewed in both La Crosse WI and Rochester NY, claims a crisp, fresh flavor with a clean finish, suggesting perhaps a bare hint of mouth puckering and only mild after taste. Big Flats the name is meant to prompt nostalgic memories of early settler times when supplies came via river boat on the mighty tributaries of New York State (BigFlats1901.com). It troubles me only a little that the same rivers today commonly are festering cesspools of agricultural runoff and sewage, not anything you might want to imagine in your house beer, but nevermind, this is nostalgia not harsh reality.
Big Flats 1901 Premium Beer is the house brew of Walgreens Drugstore. And at $3.33 per six pack, Big Flats is by no means the cheapest beer in the house. I know, who knew Walgreens would make such a significant investment in the general well-being of their customers? Laden with our half price Christmas wrapping paper and clearance rack razors, the WideEyedSpouse and I stood awed and indecisive next to the towering stack of Big Flats case packs. The decision was up to the Spouse, he is our resident beer drinker and the responsibility for tasting Big Flats would lie in his belly.
“I’m having it,” he said, and added a six pack to his armload of drugstore swag. Now the catalyzed personality of a hard-used Buffalo Walgreens and all who patronize that established join our WideEyedHousehold. I don’t think it’s doing us any harm. Ask the Spouse tomorrow.