Thursday, 19 September 2013

Beer Bloggers, Bullshit and Belittlement

I have been pondering writing this for a while; in fact I have pondered writing it many times in response to many different posts.

Recently, someone from the UK wrote a piece broadly calling Americans uninformed, unjustly snobby beer drinkers with no sense of history, no idea of a good beer, and no palate.

(Conversely, I have twice overheard at bars this exact same line: "They don't make any good beer in England.")

Bloggers jumped at the chance to fight back - many attacking this writers' criticism of American love for Cantillon in the process - and mud was slung in all directions.  Some old friends felt insulted, others just carried on, aggrieved by the offense so perceived.

I had a response I could have written; one perhaps unlike the others that could both acknowledge the realities in this guy's critique while denouncing its extremes, but then it occurred to me: why should I?

Why had anyone engaged?  The answer, quite neatly is because it drove their hits.  On blogs I regularly read, I found stories of this beer-blog-mimicry-of-classic-hip-hop-beef on three, while on two I found link amalgamation threads pointing to pieces in the debate.  Readers (myself included) flocked to these sites like morons flock to Fox News, while the effect is the same: it starts with bashing someone else (as if to acquire and express some sort of masculine superiority) while it continues with chest thrusting, finger wagging, know-it-all, and (worst of all) retaliatory attacks which abound.

It's all fun and games, it stokes our passions, ("How could he insult _____, that beer is always in my cellar!"), but it resembles Fox News in making conflict where there need not be any and bears more than a passing similarity to how true beer snobs (in contrast to geeks) berate the macro lager drinkers among us.  It drives up our readership...

But, it doesn't accomplish anything.  As when one tells their macro beer drinking friends that they drink shit doesn't bring them around, but showing them might, discussion and sharing of beers might actually bring people around or *gasp* show us that even their opinion might have some ideas that can inform our own.  They, our berated nemeses, might actually be able to teach us something new.

In reality, bashing, bullshitting, bragging, and chest-pounding makes us sound like the knuckle-dragging neanderthals the non-beer world thinks we are.

I, for one, refuse to participate.  So go get your hits for selling the news of the spectacular and I'll just keep writing about beer, rather than why "you're" wrong.


  1. Hear! Hear! And your finely-worded opinion also applies to and on so many other levels. "Where's the meat in the discussion" is perhaps the first discussion point.

    I believe there's a beer for every occasion, and yes, that does include Coors Light, but only because the craft brewers seem to have rejected the small beer market.

    1. Thanks for posting! Glad to hear my thoughts are shared.

      I am pushing for brewers to make more small beers. Want a great event, brewers? Call it "Session Week" - everything under 4%. Not only would people come, they'd buy MANY beers.