Damned Green Bottles

On my recent trip to Europe, I managed to collect several bottles of beer.  Mostly these were rarities not available in the US, but I devoted precious space to beer widely available here--Budvar.  I wanted it partly for the bottle, but also so Sally could enjoy a beer that came on a jet rather than on a slow boat from Europe.  Bottled Budvar is pasteurized, but still, fresh is best.

You have read the title of the post, so you know where this is headed.  The beer, packaged in an admittedly attractive green bottle, was skunked.* None of this is shocking: that's what happens to beer in green bottles.  When I visited Budvar, brewer Adam Brož shook his head sadly when the subject came up.  It is, as with all breweries that use green bottles, out of the brewer's hands.  Marketing types think that green bottle is so pretty they just can't be bothered about what it does to the beer.

What is shocking--to me, anyway--is the fact that Budvar gets skunked in the Czech Republic.  Americans are so used to skunked European lagers that many consider it a part of their character.  It had never occurred to me, though, that natives are also getting skunky beer.  It's one thing to sell crap to silly Americans, but Czechs presumably know what Budvar tastes like.  Surely this is an outrage?

In any case, consider this a plaintive cry to all marketing types working in the beer industry: kill the green bottle before it kills your beer.  This is unforgivable.

* Beer takes on a skunky flavor when exposed to light, a chemical reaction resulting from the decomposition of certain chemical compounds in the hop’s isohumulones.  Clear and green bottles lead, almost inexorably, to lightstruck beer.  It is one of the most incomprehensible practices in the brewing world--like selling unrefrigerated milk.