Hey, Stay Off Of My Lawn, You Damn (Muted, Mundane) Beers!

As my wife likes to remind me, I’m not approaching middle age any longer, I’m solidly there.  And as I get a little older, how much I care what other people think of what I do and say, especially here on the blog, is lessening considerably.  My wife has a favorite saying for this, something about not “giving two $%@!s” about someone else’s opinion about any given topic.  (My wife likes to get right to the point, a trait which I’ve grown to appreciate.) 

For example, take a look at the last couple of posts and you’d think that I am very quickly assuming the role of the crotchety old man on his lawn, yelling at the kids as they ride by on their bikes, or in my case, at the beer trucks as they drive by, steadily delivering uninteresting, uninspired beer to the shelves of my local bottle shops.  My only question is this.  I did have a birthday in October, and I’m not sure why no one gave me a cane to violently wave in the air as I complain about the (beer) world at large.  My hopes are still high, though.  St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, right?  It’s a beer related ‘holiday’, anyhow, right?  Hun?

Spurring me to the edge of my rocking chair are the concerns some have about the overall quality of the craft beer around us.  Keeping such a concern afloat are those who seem to readily champion each – and every – release from their local breweries. Skewed by a well intended but soundly misplaced sense of homerism, it’s a train of thought that gives validation to almost every release their local breweries put out. Sliding across the front porch in my slippers, you can hear me grumbling under my breath.  I’m not saying your local brewery doesn’t produce anything good.  I’m saying that all too often, they’re given a pass simply because you can practically see the brewery from your own front porch.  

If you truly cared for how your local breweries will do, especially long term, wouldn’t we do better to place the love squarely on the beers that push the taste boundaries – or at least the ones that nudge the outside edge of them – instead of making blanket statements professing one’s endearment for all, or even most, of the beers made by those breweries?

Not sure which ones might make the cut? Here’s where having some thick skin, and being open to criticism, can be truly beneficial.

Look, I get it.  There will always be personal preferences.  Sometimes a beer will make it into your own regular rotation that no one else seems to think much of.  Subjectivity does come into play.  But like it or not, in the world of restaurants, food, drink – and this includes beer, of course – a general consensus stands for something.  If they didn’t, beers wouldn’t come and go.  There would be no such thing as “overall” ratings on Untappd, BeerAdvocate, and RateBeer, and perhaps no ratings at all.  Some will say that every beer has merit.  But if every beer was perfectly fine on all levels, or even just on most, there would be absolutely no reason for breweries to improve upon, well, anything.

I’m not saying that your local brewery has to put out 4 block long line inducing beers every time out.  This may come as a surprise, but I’m not that naive.  Surprisingly tasty beer that finds its way into a brewery’s regular rotation is possible.  I have posted a few times in the past about these sorts of beers, carefully crafted liquids that can be tasty but also relatively easy to find.  Here in Roanoke, Get Bent comes to mind (providing, of course, that it is fresh), or almost anything ‘stout like’ from Williamsburg Alewerks (which are primarily seasonal).  I’ll even throw in a lager for the folks who have already decided that “this post is complete b.s.” with a Nooner (or two), and here in Virginia, a Shower Beer or two (It is crushable, at the very least).  

Are these beers trade bait?  Not even close.  But are they the stuff of sit on the shelf forever, dust collecting lore?  Nope.  Instead, they reside somewhere in between, and are living proof that beers which are worthy of acquiring, but are also not difficult to find, do actually happen.

The problem is, they just don’t happen often enough.

But when they do, I slide back into my chair, all the while enjoying the view from the front porch, and take another sip.  

And when they don’t, I’ll be waving my new cane around. Oh, and I’d appreciate it if whoever gives me one would at least stick a bow on it when they do.

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~ by thebeerroad on February 24, 2017.

2 Responses to “Hey, Stay Off Of My Lawn, You Damn (Muted, Mundane) Beers!”

  1. I tend to agree with your observations on flavor and it’s subjectivity. Another area worth noting that weighs on flavor is the amateur way that most of the restaurants in our area approach tap management. There seems to be none when it comes to seriously considering flavor and menu pairing or creatively offering a flavor “route ” to build on their tap offerings! Keep your observations coming !

  2. Loved the read! Couldn’t agree more that far too many locals defend to the death a brew that just doesn’t cut it. Glad to see Martin putting some creativity into the scene over at Barrel Chest!

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