It may not be the strongest or the best-tasting beer in the world, but no brew makes me froth at the mouth quite like a foamy Lone Star. The rush of carbonation, slow tide of pale malt, and mellow aftertaste of affordability have always made it a favorite of the everyman, but it deserves more. It deserves to be the favorite of every actual man. Although the United States has a national bird (the bald eagle!), football team (Cowboys, until 1999), and flower (...rose?), we've never crowned a national beer. Until right now.
With an authority granted to me by the state of Texas to make wildly superlative claims, I declare Lone Star to be the beer of record for these United States of America.
Why? I'll tell you! First off, Lone Star has literally trademarked the title of "National Beer of Texas", the biggest state in the US that anyone cares about (sorry, Alaska). Sure, also-Texas-born Shiner's yeasty Bock flavors
might've temporarily grabbed the national spotlight, but it's nearly twice as expensive, and therefore half as good.
The next closest claim to Executive Beverage is rooted in a monarchical philosophy contrary to the entire idea of America -- if Budweiser claims itself King of Beers, does that make us its lowly serfs, who might not even get some?
Lone Star would never repress its people. It was democratically voted Best Lager by beer's electoral college: the judges of the Great American Beer Festival. And like all of our country's best chief executives, it was a two-term president. Don't worry about FDR -- the logic's still there.
For those living outside the Lone Star State, our eponymous brew might be considered a niche longneck (a term Lone Star re-popularized, BY THE WAY) relegated to honky-tonks and Tex-pat refrigerators, but for Texans, it is the beer of beers. It's everywhere, and cheaper than everything. If you ask for "a beer", like they always do in movies for some weird reason, it's what you will get. If you're buying a keg, it's what'll be in it. If you're invited to a potluck in your early 20s and don't know how to cook, it's what you bring. It was the first beer I ever drank.
But what the hell does it taste like?
It tastes like water in a desert. Life-affirming, but a little dirty. Where other beers boast artisan craftsmanship, Lone Star humbly notes its artesian well water. It's truly a beer that has worked its way from the ground up. Get it? Ground up. Oh, you already got it. Awesome.
And while I could flavor-wheel you with adjectives like "woody" and "bread crusty", the light hint of hops, sour curl of barley, and malty aftertaste take a backseat to the blast of carbonation and flooding memories of brisket-stained butcher paper, steaming al pastor tacos in aluminum foil, and bars whose other beers are all at least a dollar more expensive.
A Canadian once told me it tastes like bananas, and I asked him if bananas were his favorite fruit. He said yes.
But to exalt a beverage from regional treat to national treasure requires more than just a mythic ability to make temperatures over 110 degrees manageable. It requires history, and Lone Star has that in sudsy spades. While physician Karl Koller was inventing local anesthesia in Germany in 1884, the King of Beer himself, Adolphus Busch, founded Lone Star Brewing in San Antonio and gave the brewery-less people of Texas a local anesthetic of their own.
50yrs and countless inferior beers later, Lone Star conceived their signature 1940 recipe that would make it the the fastest-growing brewery in the nation. By 1965, they were pumping out a staggering one million barrels of beer every year. That's an inconceivable amount of happiness.
When our hoppy hero's sales began to dip due to the villainous slings and arrows of national titans, the company started putting free cases of Lone Star in the dressing rooms of every badass renegade country musician in Austin. When Willie Nelson stepped on the stage, he had one hand on the Trigger and the other on a Lone Star.
It doesn't take a history professor or a stoned red-headed stranger to know a great beer. All it takes is a tall pint poured out of a pitcher that costs less than a fast-food value meal. But should you not be able to know the beauty of a heady amber pour of Lone Star, fear not -- the slightly more alkaline taste of the bottled version comes with a charm of its own.
Each cap holds a different pictogram riddle that might just lead to a lucky break (!) by spurring conversation with cute strangers who may or may not be red-headed/stoned.
And if there's one thing we really need in a national beer, it's the ability to bring people together. Congrats, Lone Star. You did it.