Tap This: Enjoy the experience of drinking good beer
In a world where everyone is a critic and has an open forum to post their opinions, the term “good” seems to have lost some of its meaning. It is far more acceptable to be negative about many things like movies, music, and even beer, while looking for the positive seems not worth the effort.
The craft beer boom has brought with it a slew of new breweries. We now have the most breweries in operation in United States history. However, that does not mean all breweries in operation are brewing world class mind blowing beers. But no one is trying to produce “bad” beer.
A brewery opens with the desire to produce great beer its customers will love. This is where the argument enters as to whether brewing beer is an art or a science. If you believe it is a science than great beer is simply made by calculating a variety of formulas and numbers to create the perfect beer, which is entirely possible. However, if you believe it is an art it becomes a bit more subjective.
As with any art, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder or in this case, the drinker. An artist of any kind seeks to make something others will love, even if the “others” is simply the artist themselves. This love can quickly become hate from consumers based upon past experience of what a “good” form of that art means to them.
Many of us have had the experience of falling in love with a weird movie and tried to play that same film for friends only to have them give us bizarre glances followed by “you like that?” If that same friend had the same path that you took to find that film it would be a different experience.
This is also true with beer. Our palates are extremely subjective and what we constitute as good depends greatly on past experiences. If the first hoppy beer you ever tried was a super aggressive double IPA it may put you off the style for a long time. But if you started off with a subtly hopped pale ale and gradually worked your way up to the same aggressive double IPA, it may become your favorite beer.
So what does all of this mean? In a crowded craft beer market that is growing in leaps and bounds there are many breweries and even more beers. There are also an equal amount of beer rating websites, blogs, reviewers and radio shows/podcasts all devoted to craft beer. This has led to an ever increasing assault of negative comments.
This is not to say that some beers are bad through infections, bad brewing practices, or stale ingredients. Many reviewers tend to take the stance that a negative opinion is better than no opinion at all and this is simply not the case.
Some reviewers and those who post on beer review websites seem to be of the mindset that simply pointing out flaws is reviewing a beer, it is not. Instead look closely at the beer and try to understand the intent of the brewer.
Sure there may be flaws in beer; very few things in life are perfect. However, if you go into the drinking experience with the thought that it is just that, an experience, it should open you to find what is good about the beer despite any apparent flaws.
The beer is something that was paid for and simply saying “hate it” and dumping it down the drain will only hurt your wallet. This is not a call to consume more “bad” beer but is instead a call to experience beer again and not spend time just looking for flaws. It is beer and remember, beer is good!
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.