Session # 71

by Sean on January 4, 2013

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The first topic of 2013 comes from the blog, Brewers and Drinkers….
“It always surprises me how many beer bloggers are out there, and how not all of them brew.

For me brewing was a natural progression from my interest in beer.

But as I’ve discovered more about brewing my enjoyment of beer has changed.

The more I learn the less I enjoy mediocre beers, knowing how easy they are to make. Similarly, great beers seem all the more impressive now.

Apart from this general change, I’ve also become a more analytical drinker. I try to identify flavours in a way that I never did before.

How did they get that biscuity malt flavour up front? Is that raisin? They overdid the bittering hops, didn’t they?

Brewers and Drinkers is about your relationship with beer and how it’s made. Do you brew? If so why? If not, why not? How does that affect your enjoyment of drinking beer?”

When people learn that I am a not-so-famous beer blogger, I will inevitably be asked if I brew at home. I have two stock answers.
1. I have attempted and made some spectacular vinegar.
2. My wife hates the smells associated with beer being brewed so I refrain.

And as much as I push beer education and beer reading and flat out drinking as many beers as you can safely try in general practice, I do not think that you need to be an expert home brewer to either judge or enjoy craft beer expertly. You can coach a football team without playing a single down or be completely non-athletic and call the play-by-play of the game featuring multiple coaches who never strapped on a helmet. And I feel the exact same way about beer.

I, of course, can’t answer for the other side of the equation for the fine people who home brew and then order a sampler tray from a new brewery and wonder if it will stand up to their own standards. That may be a difficult circle to square.

But your relationship with the beer in front you should be one of discovery and open mindedness. If home brewing helps to create that state of mind then kudos to you. If it creates too many questions, then maybe it is a detriment. Think about the costumer who watches a movie and only notes what could have been done differently with that dress on the leading lady or that military uniform is too tight or frankly any other artisan who looks upon a piece of work that they did not do and picks out the negative first.

Now I will not over-generalize and say that every home brewer does that. My “no data to back it up” guess is more beer snobs do it overall. But the point is that you should do your best to live in the moment with the pint of beer. That beer may be sub-standard and you may know exactly why and you may know how to fix it but drink the pint first and give a rounded critique from the aspect of a drinker first, home brewer second and then whatever other occupations after that. Because, as a member of the brewing fraternity, wouldn’t you want the same from the people drinking your beer?

I am reminded of what the comedian Patton Oswalt said about the Star Wars prequels in one of his stand-up routines, “I don’t give a shit where the stuff I loves comes from. I just love the stuff I love. That is enough for me.”

Ultimately, I will take every brewery tour and read a book devoted to water and brewing but hand me a pint of Weird Beer from Smog City Brewing and all that important knowledge takes a back seat to the aroma, look and taste of the beer.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

John January 7, 2013 at 6:51 am

Thanks for putting forward the non-brewer’s perspective. As you say, ultimately beer is for drinking and anyone can enjoy that.

Cheers!

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