What’s YOUR goal for craft beer?

This post is a bit different from the content I’ve previously posted. I have always welcomed feedback, but this post relies on it–the entire point is to hear (read, smartass) your thoughts on what your goals/aspirations/reasons are for your involvement in the craft beer movement/industry. Whether you’ve been in the industry for 35 years or had your first craft brew last week (or tonight, for that matter), you’ve got a perspective. Many people involved in the craft beer revolution/movement/trend/industry in America and throughout the world tout that they’re in it for “better beer” that’s authentic and what beer should be. I don’t doubt that, really I don’t. I have realized my confusion lately, though, with many of the things that have formed to support the craft beer movement. Many blogs, websites, and apps seem to seek to float the “best” beers to the top and weed out other beers. While it is my opinion, too, that some beers are made improperly and executed poorly compared to others, what’s the point of these rankings? They’re obviously completely dependent on someone’s tastes…I’m not trying to do away with individualism, but what’s the purpose, the end result of these endeavors? It seems like many review sites, blogs, and apps seek to rank beers so others only have to experience the “best”. Well, what is the “best”? Why does one beer have to be better than the other? I would read a Consumer Reports review of televisions and a Car & Driver reviews because I only want to purchase one television and one car. Do I only want to drink one beer? Stop very quickly and think…if RateBeer and Beer Advocate ratings were sophisticated enough to put one beer at the top, would you only drink it? I assume you didn’t have to think very long. Of course you wouldn’t, the one-beer drinkers are the people that are still supporting Bud-Miller-Coors (and they’re a dying breed). Now before you reply in an angry rant, I want to explain that I’m not completely debasing beer reviews. They have their place, as do restaurant and movie reviews. I question, however, their prevalence, and beer geeks’ quickness in declaring a beer inferior to another. Is it really worse than the other? Can you not enjoy both? If you can’t, isn’t your inability to narrow your consumption down to one singular beer just a display of your own inferior palate? I have tried more beers than I can count, and I would drink almost all of them again…because to me craft beer is about appreciating a well-made beer, not the “best” made beer. But now I want to know: what is craft beer about for you and what are you looking for? Thanks in advance for any comments and sharing your opinion. The best thing about the craft beer community is open discussion and debate, that can always end over a beer (but I guess that’s just my opinion, again).

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “What’s YOUR goal for craft beer?

  1. Interesting thoughts. I had never really thought of it that way before but I think the same way you do. I like to appreciate a beer for what it is, not what it “should” be, “could” be, or “would” be.

    Sure, there are going to be some that I like more than others. But, as you indicated, we shouldn’t be on a quest for the best beer ever. What fun is that?

    Not to mention–and I don’t want to speak for all brewers–but I don’t think most brewers themselves (at least not me!) are striving to make “the best beer ever.” It’s called CRAFT beer for a reason. To me, making/drinking craft beer is about experimentation, being creative, and pushing boundaries. And that, in and of itself, should be appreciated for what it is. Not what it “should” be. Make sense?

    • Thanks, Maggie! I agree. To me, what a beer “is” has to do with context. I love trying local beers. Will they win in an international competition aimed at crowning one the winner? Probably not, but it’s a window into that particular brewer’s point-of-view and a return to more traditional brewing traditions. When every pub or town had their own beer, no one cared what the “best” was, they enjoyed that beer when they were there. To ignore technology that allows international distribution is crazy, but to think it means that one beer is better than another period is a return to the “macro” train of though we all enjoyed breaking free of. Thanks again for reading and contributing to the conversation!

  2. Rob

    I never give a grade in my reviews, though I give a thumbs up or down, usually with some qualifiers. I also don’t usually compare one beer to another, though that is not always the case. I don’t expect people to always agree with me, but if they pay attention over the years and can follow a pattern, well, the reviews are a good resource for them.

    If I describe the flavors and what makes me happy and what makes me sad, I expect my readers to be smart enough to decide yay or nay for themselves. And if a craft beer sucks, I will say so. I am not anti BMC either and don’t hate for the sake of hating. I can understand why people like Blue Moon.

    • Thanks for the reply! Hating for the sake of hating is something I fear is de-legitimizing craft beer for some people. I read things everyday from craft beer “evangelists” that hate on BMC for marketing or trying new products…it’s absurd. They try so hard to hate that they end up denouncing some things that are good business moves that craft brewers should actually consider. Thanks for exploring craft beer and sharing your opinions with others. As you pointed out, however, they are meant to be followed to understand the context of your likes/dislikes, which is one of the main things rating/review sites miss. It’s that context, I think, that puts reviews into perspective and takes them out of a quest for one superior brew.

  3. As a relative newbie in the craft beer world (a little more than a year, I think), I still find myself frequently “reviewing” beers and wondering to myself “Am I doing something wrong, here?” because I (very very rarely) can say much negative about the beers. There’s always a unique flavor, a lingering mouthfeel, a tantalizing aroma that makes it worthwhile, and something I’d recommend to anyone reading.

    I like what you say about saying beers are “worse” than the other, and it’s a trend I see that often separates the “beer snobs” from the “beer geeks”. If there’s one thing I’d hate to do, it’d be to limit my beer options by focusing so much on just one type.

    My goal, both for myself and for others, is to make the craftbeer world accessible. Also, being a member of the NC chapter of Girls’ Pint Out allows me to share my love of this diverse world with other ladies who might be interested (or who want to be interested!) I figure it’s like Baskin Robbins…. Who’d want just one flavor when you’d have so many choices?

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