When I think of developments in the brewing world, I too often am reminded of my hero and mentor Homer Simpson, who offered on anything new and imaginative. "People are afraid of new things," Homer said. "You should have just taken an existing product and put a clock on it or something." There seem to be two kinds of brewers in the world. There are those who really think, try, experiment, try, taste, try again, create, try some more and turn out some of the most exciting brews around. And there are those who basically stick with the same old product and occasionally "put a clock on it or something." That, friends, is why I simply don't get too excited about corporate or industrial brewing. It's not necessarily bad product. It just is what it is. Recently, I saw a commercial for a corporate beer that really annoyed me. Miller has created a "new" beer. This company has all sort of ideas. On their own website they point out: "Miller Lite introduced American beer drinkers to a new bottle that's unlike anything they've seen before - the Vortex bottle with special designed grooves on the inside of the neck. The long-neck, 12-ounce amber Vortex Bottle is designed to let the great taste of Miller Lite flow right out. This unique new twist on the standard beer bottle will change the way you think about the beer-drinking experience." Oooooooooo ... a vortex bottle. They also came up with "Two Stage Cold Activation." Thing is ... Miller has done nothing with their basic recipe. They just keep "putting a clock on it or something." Miller, like other mega-brewers, knows that a certain demographic they really want to reach is much more interested in quantity than quality. Taste really doesn't matter. It's all about how much brew you can pour down the piehole. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Witness if you will the "new" punch top can. In a shallow attempt to sell more beer to the let's-get-drunk-and-stupid crowd, Miller has come up with a punch top can that panders to an audience who simply want to "shotgun" their beer. "Shotgunning" - Shotgunning is a means of consuming a beverage, particularly beer, very quickly by punching a hole in the side of the can or cup. With this method, it is possible to easily drink a beverage in under 3 seconds. "Not so," Miller will protest. "It simply helps the flow." Shinola. Nobody in this country is so stupid or so lazy that they need help with the flow of liquid from an open can. (Or are they?) The fact is, too many American brewers have long realized that the largest percentage of their consumer base isn't really interested in taste. They are interested in getting as much brew down the chute as possible before they become catatonic. Witness if you will, the brewing companies that create cans that change color in the freezer. Once again, no attempt to improve or juggle the beer's basic recipe. Simply more "putting a clock on it or something." More importantly, brewing companies well know that chilling a brew to just about freezing kills any taste there may be left in the can anyway. You're basically treated to a hops flavored slushy. Gack!!!!! Mega beer companies and brewers know they can get away with mediocre product by masking it with a new "clock or something." Or by selling it with sex. "Drink our beer, and cheerleaders will fall all over you." Geez. It is so annoying. But (thank goodness) we have a growing number of simply exceptional micro and craft breweries that are working very, very hard to produce high quality lagers and ales that don't deserve to be "shotgunned" in the first place. You don't need to poke a hole in either of the containers holding the two beers we will review today. They should be savored slowly, with consideration for the craft. They should be poured with enthusiasm into a clean, clear glass so that the entire experience can be enjoyed - sight, smell, and taste. The brewmasters turning out these beers don't want you "shotgunning" their "babies." Too much love and effort went into producing these fine products to have them sucked down a maw in three seconds. Take time to enjoy, learn, and savor new beers. Switch back and forth between lagers, ales, and other exceptional experiments. Find a favorite, but keep looking further afield anyway. Drink your beers in the company of good friends, and enjoy them in moderation. Shotgunning a beer will never, ever be 'moderation' no matter how the company renames the experience. It is simply pandering to the base - and the basest of the base. Double Milk Stout Southern Tier Brewing Company Lakewood, N.Y. Mmmmmmmmm ... those upstate New York breweries seem to have their stuff together. Double Milk Stout is a dark, dark brown color (heck, let's just call it a black) with surprising little head. What there is shows deep beige or light brown and you need to look fast 'cause it's gone in a hurry. There simply isn't a lot to say about clarity since this stuff is so dark, light doesn't pass through! Basic notes are very pleasing - very malty with some heavy-duty caramel, good tones of chocolate, and some espresso bringing up the rear. Rich and very dignified. No fruitiness at all (nor, I believe should you expect any from a stout of this character.) If there is any hops smell at all ... it's fleeting at best. This is a malt-up-front brew - in your face in the very best sense of the phrase. No doubt about it. A little outdoorsy. A wonderful, wonderful nose. First sip, we find a great roasted brew - sweet, with dignified tones of quality chocolate in a subtle mix with more earthy elements. Bold but not rude or assertive. Displays a real balance of the almost burned malt and the creamy sweetness that best defines so many stouts. The taste lingers quite a while and gives little hint of the hops used to bitter this fine offering. Good. Great. Admirable. This is a fine late-in-the-day stout. Super for just after sunset with a good cigar (not a Swisher, for the love of ...!) or a real. Real, REAL good chocolate. Get adventurous and find a friend who know how to whip up a Creme Brulee - not a good Creme Brulee, a great Creme Brulee. Try these two together - Your Double Milk Stout and her Creme Brulee. Don't roll your eyes. Trust me. Give it a try. The complementing sweetness will be a real giggle. Delilah DeWylde-Berry Wheat Saugatuck Brewing Company Saugatuck Delilah pours a hazy, almost smoky yellow - light in color. Somewhat turbid in clarity. A decent head forms quickly and stays a bit before melting away to a hint of foam. A touch off-white in color. True to it's name, this Berry Wheat has a strong berry smell that masks anything else that may be hiding. The berry scent is strong and yet not overly sweet or cloying as some fruity beers tend to be. There is really no chance for sniffing out any hops or malts. The berry is the star of this show, hands down. Delilah is zesty and robust at first sip. There is a strong raspberry taste (a lucky thing since I later read on the bottle that this fruit was the main emphasis!) Delilah is obviously fruity, but again, not cloyingly so. There is a hit of hops that announces itself in the back of the mouth with a surprising slap of bitterness gently balancing out the sweetness. No malty taste that I could find. The taste is intense and assertive. This brew should be served a little cooler than what might be with other wheats. An all-around refreshing brew. It's a little surprising in that it doesn't readily fall into the category of "Kool-Aid beer" as do some fruit beers. This definitely stands on its own. Summer is coming, This is certainly a great summer beer. Complementary - I'd serve this with a fruit salad of some cubed watermelon. Contradictory - serve with something that has been well grilled and is still popping with protein. Enjoy. I did!