Monday, December 25, 2006

The Brew Lounge 'Topic of the Week': Holidays, Respecting Beer, and Miscellany

I'd like to first start by sending out best wishes for the best possible holiday for all of our loyal readers (and too for those of you that just happen to stumble upon us :) My hope is that you all are able to use the holiday season to focus on what is good in this world and in your own personal lives. But, that you also use "the season" to reflect upon how it can all be better. Ah, there it is, the segue. The segue into 'what the heck is wrong with certain individuals over at Beer Advocate?' I'm not singling out BA or any individual in particular. This happens all over the place. But, it's a particular discussion thread that got me fired up the other day. Truth be told, in the BA discussion forums, this happens to me on average of once a week. Ok, maybe I'm a bit more ornery this week, because it happened twice :( One post had to do with "respecting beer" and another one had to do with getting carded in a liquor store when the purchase was non-alcoholic. In these sort of threads, seemingly benign and sometimes pointless topics are thrown out there (as bait?) and before you know it the vitriolic arrows from the left and right comes slinging in. Oh, and my favorite (not!) is the "you idiot, this topic was raised three years ago and here's the link to prove it." I know, I one is forcing me to read it, but you staring at the sun.... Before you know it these topics have gone off into the world of "you don't respect beer" (which I totally don't get, but more on that later) and "why even 90-year-olds should be carded" (not a word more on that, I promise!) Respect beer? What is that? Do they mean "respect alcohol?" Or respect the brewer? Or the respect the craft beer because it's so much more worthy than macro beer? Those points, I suppose, in the right context can be accepted. But, now I've seen it somewhat frequently where writers have said that if you do a beer sampling with more than 2 ounces of beer at a time....or take more than a thimble full to wash across your palate...or get anywhere near to a state of inebriation that you don't respect beer. For crying out loud, I suppose I've disrespected beer many a time. Because guess what? I've practically chugged a S.N. Celebration because it's just so damn good and I was enjoying it. Then, I've had another just for good measure. Or, there have been nights when I've done tastings 6-12 ounces at a time with 4, 5, or 6 beers. Or, I have made a "session beer" out of an 8-percenter. And sometimes I wasn't quite sober at the end of it all. Was I rude to my beer? Did I diss it? Did I let myself down or the industry? Am I worthy of writing another word about craft beer? Ok, sorry for that. I don't usually take my rants on-line. But, a plea to you all out there who want to shout down others in online forums. STOP! Yes, those are all capital letters. Your attempts to puff your chest and act like you sit in a higher place are misguided. Once again, I'd urge those folks to use the holiday season to pursue what is good in life and the craft beer industry. That's what I'm going to do for the last couple of sentences here. How shall I do this? Oh, I know. I have one remaining vacation day for 2006 and I just may spend it making a trip to The Collins Bar in Hell's Kitchen (NYC) for their Sprecher event on Wednesday evening. Along with a cask of Chelsea Hoppy Holidays, it seems like a positive way to roll into 2007. So, hopefully, if you made it through my rant to the end, you got this piece of miscellany as a tip for what to do Wednesday 12/27 in New York City. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


Adam said...

I hear ya!

I guess I'm a little more understanding about forums in general. I've waded through thousands of posts in forums and newsgroups and I expect a certain amount of this noise. I suppose I've given up on getting deep meaning from online forums in a way.

(cue old grandpa voice)

I remember when I felt more inspired by the conversations I had on the Net. That was when I was new to the scene back in the early 90's.

Anyway, about "respecting beer". I like the words. Without trawling through the posts on BA, I'll give you MY opinion.

"Respect beer" or rather respect others' right to enjoy it in their own way.

Bryan Kolesar said...

I'm with you on the 'respecting others' comment you made. But, if you'd hear the condescending way in which certain individuals toss around the 'respect beer' phrase...

And, as far as the forum decorum goes, my frustration was not out of being a newbie to discussion threads and discovering that there are knuckleheads out there, more so out of my wish for Christmas Day peace, even in an online forum about a pointless topic. Oh well, too much to ask I suppose ;-)

I smell a new year's resolution post next week at this time with one that has something to do my reading habits of BA threads.

Travis said...

As a regular on Political forums (you think brew forums are bad? Read a few political forums, it's downright disheartening) I couldn't agree with you more.

There is a general sense of "high-flut’en" superiority out there and people are empowered by the anonymity of the net.

I am a newbie on BA, but I am just mostly using it for the beer reviews, but I see a bit of what you are saying, and I have seen it among some of the brewers I know.

My wife took a wine tasting class and the teacher (a nationally recognized wine guy) said something interesting in the beginning of the class:
"When you are tasting wine, always keep in mind that if you like a wine, that makes it a good wine. It doesn’t matter what someone else says about the wine if you like it, it’s a good wine.”

That’s a great lesson with beer, people need to keep in mind that in the end, it’s beer and it’s there for us to enjoy!

Adam said...

Bryan, I hope I didn't imply that you were a newbie. I know you're not. I'm just trying to rationalize why I've given up on forums. "It must be, because, I've discovered that they are frustrating and filled with too much noise." Maybe.

I wonder if there are more people on BA who are as frustrated as you are?