Showing posts with label bullshit nonsense. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bullshit nonsense. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Litigation Suggestions

It seems as though there is a bunch of people out there who are either dense or need to be found in contempt of court for wasting the time of lawyers, judges, et al for utterly ridiculous litigation proceedings.

The latest is some guy in Miami who claims confusion because he thought Leffe was brewed at an abbey in Belgium, and thus Anheuser-Busch are misleading consumers, despite the fact that this relationship has existed in some form or another since 1952 and royalties are still paid to the abbey, facts that are readily available to anyone with access to a handy website called Google.

It is in the spirit of being a disingenuous jerk then that I would like to offer my a laundry list of potential lawsuits against craft brewers for misleading the drinking public:
  • Any brewery outside Plzen that makes a Pilsner - how am I supposed to know that these pilsners aren't the real thing?
  • Brewers such as Devils Backbone that don't make Vienna lager in Austria.
  • Any non-Belgian brewery making Belgian ales outside of Belgium - think Allagash
  • Brewers that make an Irish stout without being in Ireland - Victory beware!
  • Brewers from outside Cologne brewing Kolsch
You get the drift. These kind of lawsuits such a glorious waste of space and time it is tempting to file suit against people that file such suits for giving the rest of the beer drinking world a bad name.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Session: The Emperor's New Style

This month's Session is being hosted by Natasha from Meta CookBook, and her theme as stated in the announcement is:

For this session, I’m asking my fellow beer bloggers two related qustion questions:

  1. What do you want people in beer culture to be talking about that we’re not?
  2. What do you have to say on the topic(s)?
“Beer” is its own subculture at this point. There’s an expected “look” and expected desires. Beer festivals are everywhere. Beer blogs flourish; indeed at this point there’s reasonable sub categories for them. New breweries are popping up at record pace; the US alone has more than 3,000. Big breweries are getting bigger, some are being purchased, some are saying that’s bullshit.

But we’re still fairly monolithic as a group. And there are a number of problems related to that tendency toward sameness. Not all problems related are personal, for example trademark disputes are becoming more commonplace as we all have the same “clever thought”.

We have such a good time with our libation of choice that sometimes we fear bringing up the issues we see.

Well, stop that. Air your concerns, bring up those issues. Show us what we’re not talking about and should be, and tell us why.

Pour us a liberal amount of The Hard Stuff.
If you've ever sat in the pub with me, you'll know that I can be quite the opinionated swine, so I have to say I love this topic, especially in light of some of the comments made by Jean Hummler of Moeder Lambic at last week's European Beer Blogger Conference which filled my Twitter feed for a while. Although I wasn't there, and thus my grasp of his theme is second hand, rather like many a denunciation of Pelagian theology when we have no extant writing of Pelagius himself, from the snippets I have seen I agree with him wholeheartedly. The beer world seems to seriously lack critical thought.

When I say we lack critical thought, I am not making a plea for a phenomenology of malt, a post-modern appreciation for the isomerisation of hops, or even a existential examination of the ester producing qualities of saccharomyces cerevisiae. What I am saying is that we need less of the fanboy/girl 'craft beer is awesome' bullshit, less of the mindless cheerleading (and its converse the mindless caterwauling when things happen that don't fit our narrative), and less of the inane buzz words/phrases like 'local beer', 'rising tide floats all boats', or 'innovative'.

My particular ire though is raised at the sight of supposedly creating a new beer style by virtue of adding hops not from the UK or Central Europe. You know how it goes, one day you're drinking a nice Foreign Extra Stout and the next some unimaginative muppet dumps a shit load of Cascade into the kettle and hey presto it's a 'Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale/Whatever Marketing Term Sells This Week'. So you reach for a pint of amber ale only to discover that it positively reeks with C-hops and is being whored about the bars of your neighbourhood as a 'Red IPA'. The same could be said about 'White IPA'. 'Session IPA', 'India Pale Lager', and whatever beer style gets fucked over with an unhealthy addition of New World hops to keep the braying masses of raters and tickers whipped into a veritable wank fest frenzy.

Another thing that pisses me off about these supposed styles is the speed at which they get accepted into the canon of styles on sites like RateBeer and BeerAdvocate. Yet it took years for the admins, moderators, and other 'experts' to recognise that a Czech tmavy le?ák is not really a Munich Dunkel or a Schwarzbier. Perhaps Czech brewers should dump a ton of New World hops into a dark lager and 'invent' the 'Black India Pale Lager' or some such spurious nonsense.

So yes, Jean Hummler is right. Beer bloggers and consumers need to start calling out the bullshit that seems to be a disturbingly increasing part of the industry. We need to start questioning the bold claims being made about innovative this, envelope pushing that, and stop parroting the party line because we are afraid being seen as the uncool element of the beer world.

Here endeth the lesson.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Local? My Arse!

If you've been following Fuggled for a while then you will know that I generally hold the whole 'craft' beer thing rather lightly. I don't really give much of a toss about the corporate structure of the company making the beer I drink, as long as it tastes good then I am generally a happy camper. However, one thing that I do appreciate is honesty in advertising. You can imagine then my dismay at wandering into the store yesterday and seeing the following:

Now, this isn't some half baked rant about the 'crafty' beers as opposed to the 'real thing', but rather a half baked rant about the terminology in this poster adorning a stack of Blue Moon...'locally "craft brewed"'? Really? Who the fuck does the cretin that came up with this poster think he or she is kidding?

Last time I looked there is no 'Blue Moon Brewing Co' in Virginia, but then, as we all know, Blue Moon is a brand of the brewing giant MillerCoors (a joint venture between Molson Coors and SABMiller in the US), and there is a MillerCoors brewery in Virginia. Said brewery is just across the mountains, and perhaps it is the only part of this advert which is true as it is in the Shenandoah Valley.

Do the marketing geniuses behind this poster honestly think that anyone with half a brain cell is going to believe that Blue Moon is 'local' in the same way as Devils Backbone, Hardywood or the soon to open Three Notch'd Brewing?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Emperor's New Beer

Once upon a time there lived an emperor. The emperor was much loved by his people and would hold great parties in the grounds of his castle, where all the people would come to eat, drink and be merry. At his parties the people would eat the finest foods, drink the very best beer and dance until the sweat poured down their backs.

One day a pair of travelling brewers came to the emperor's castle looking for work. With another party being planned, the emperor asked them about the beer they made. The brewers told him that they brewed a special beer unlike anything he had ever drunk, a beer so new and innovative that it was fit only for kings and lords, not for the common man. The emperor was sad to hear this because he loved his people and loved his parties with them, but decided to hire the brewers to make their new beer for his next party anyway. The beer would be only for the emperor and his nobles, since only they could appreciate it.

The brewers set to work, using the malt and hops that were kept in the castle storehouse, and taking water from the castle well. When the liquid was ready they poured it into a barrel and added yeast taken from a barrel used for the most recent party, and so the new beer was almost ready. The day before the party, the brewers went to see the emperor and told him how the beer they brewed was the best they had ever made and that on no condition should the common people be allowed to drink it. The brewers talked about how the common people would not understand the complexity of flavours, or appreciate the wonderful aroma of the beer. The emperor paid the brewers for their work and the brewers presented him with special glasses, telling him that the glasses made the beer a better experience. That night the brewers left the castle and nothing was heard from them again.

The next day, the emperor's servants prepared for the party. Tables groaned under the weight of food, pigs roasted on spits, filling the air with the smell of sizzling meat. The castle bakery was working overtime making bread. Barrels of wine, beer and mead were stacked ready to be drunk. In one corner of the castle courtyard the emperor ordered a special table, with a bright white cloth, for the beer made by the brewers. Next to the barrel were the glasses and on the table a sign saying 'Nobles Only', a guard stood next to the barrel to keep the common men from trying the beer.

The people came to the party, they ate, the drank and they made merry. The emperor and the nobles gathered around the barrel of special beer and poured some into the glasses. The air was filled with gasps of delight as the nobles nosed their beer, 'such fine aromas' was heard more than once, they all agreed that this beer was singularly the best they had ever experienced. As the emperor and his coterie celebrated the wonderful success of their beer, a servant boy took a glass of the beer, drank it and asked the emperor 'why does this taste just like the normal beer?'.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cask vs the World

Let me get something straight right now, I like cask conditioned beer, I also love lager, oh and I love stout and porter. Thinking about it, I love beer FULL STOP. While I think the term 'craft beer' is pretty much meaningless drivel, the beers which bear that tag are some of my favourite beers to drink, whether from a bottle or, preferably, on draught in the pub. Yes sir I am a beer drinker and it is because I am a beer drinker that there are times that I despair at the collective antics of the various 'consumer organisations' and brewers on both sides of the 'cask vs craft keg' debate.

Whilst on Twitter this morning, Martyn Cornell tweeted about a page on Cask Ale Week's website, which claims that:
keg beers, smooth beers, craft beers, lagers and stouts are different from cask beers. They:-
  • Are all brewery conditioned: they undergo only one fermentation and are then pasteurised
  • Are filtered so they contain no live yeast
  • Have gas added in order to give them a fizz or a ‘smooth’ texture
  • Can be identified by the type of font or tap (they are served by switching on rather than pulling through) on the bar, and the straight sided containers in the cellar.
  • Are usually served at a chilled 6 degrees centigrade
  • May be served ‘extra-cold’ at 0 to 5 degrees centigrade
Now, you can see that a lot of this is just bullshit straight off the bat, but as someone who works, albeit part-time and only in the tasting room, in a 'craft' brewery I can confirm that Starr Hill Brewing Company does not pasteurise their beer. Thinking about it, Devils Backbone don't pasteurise either, I guess they aren't 'craft'.

But if you read the entirety of that page, you see a very snide and malicious attempt to set up cask ale as somehow natural and healthy as opposed to evil, industrial "keg beers, smooth beers, craft beers, lagers and stouts", especially as cask ale is made from "4 wholesome ingredients: water, malted barley, hops and yeast". Can we assume therefore that no cask ales have brewing sugars in them, or is this simply misinformation?

As I said at the top of this post, I am a beer drinker, not a cask drinker, keg drinker or craft drinker. I have drunk some absolutely cracking cask ales as much as some which were downright awful, just as I have had both great and undrinkable 'craft' beer. The method of dispense and market positioning of a brewery are irrelevant, it is what is in the glass that is important, how it tastes and whether I enjoy it.

Surely this sniping and attempts at point scoring against other parts of the industry has got to stop and people need to realise that at the end of the day we are all on the same side - the side of good beer.

Without it we are in danger of becoming the zythophilic version of this:

UPDATE: The text above has been changed to the following:
Keg beers, smooth beers, craft beers, lagers and stouts are different from cask beers. They:-
  • The vast majority are brewery conditioned, undergoing only one fermentation and then pasteurisation
  • Nearly all are filtered so they contain no live yeast
  • Most have gas added in order to give them a fizz or a ‘smooth’ texture
  • Can usually be identified by the type of font or tap (they are served by switching on rather than pulling through) on the bar, and the straight sided containers in the cellar.
  • Are usually served at a chilled 6 degrees centigrade
  • May be served ‘extra-cold’ at 0 to 5 degrees centigrade

I would still question the veracity of the claim that the vast majority of craft beers are pasteurised, I can't think of a single one off the top of my head, but at least it is no longer a blanket claim.

UPDATE 2 - the above text has been amended again so that only "Keg beers, smooth beers, lagers and stouts..." do through these evil processes. Better not mention that Bernard lagers are all unpasteurised or I fear heads will explode.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Oh FFS!!!

Here I was having a happily non-spleen venting Friday when my good friend Max, aka Pivní Filosof, sends me this link.

Hoping that I was about to read that another brewery in the US has seen the light about brewing great Czech style beers I read this sentence, attributed to the president of Susquehanna Brewing Company, Fred Maier:
“It’s an innovative black pilsner”
Oh please no! Not again! How many times will we have to bang this drum? Let me say this one more time, and forgive the caps lock and bold, but it seems clear that some of the trendy kids at the back of the classroom are simply not listening:


Now, that's not to say there isn't a tradition of dark lagers in the Czech lands, there is, they are called tmavé or sometimes ?erné, but tmavé is the legal term.

As for being innovative, well done "craft" brewers for joining 19th Century Bohemia in brewing dark lagers which don't have the roastiness of a schwarzbier and enjoy a healthy respect for Saaz hops.

Spleen vented, carry on.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Utter Bollocks

I read an article this morning about why the writer has never drunk Budweiser. As I skimmed through, admittedly at the point of giving up with the rest of the article as it bashed all things Anheuser-Busch, it offered a description of the origins of Bud. Apparently Bud was created to satisfy the desire for the new pale lager style that was sweeping the world, the style in question was

"watery Pilsner, a style that originated in Czechoslovakia as a ladies’ beer; a wimpy alternative for the delicate palates of proper Czech ladies who couldn’t stand the big German Alts and Lagers or the muscular Belgian ales."

Now, I have read over the years an awful lot of shit about Pilsner, but this one takes the su?enka (that's Czech for biscuit by the way). Where to start? At the beginning is always good. In the late 1830s, fed up with the inconsistent quality of their warm fermented brews, the good people of Pilsen, to use the city's name at the time, smashed open barrels of beer in protest. The Burgers of the city, with an eye for opportunity, started the Bürgerbrauerei, and hired a Bavarian lager brewer by the name of Josef Groll to come and make a new Pilsner Bier. Are you with me so far?

With the brewery built and ready to start production in 1842, Josef Groll set to work with the local ingredients, pale Moravian malt, hops from the nearby Saaz region, Pilsen's incredibly soft water and a Bavarian yeast - either brought by a dodgy monk a la mythology, or more likely brought from his dad's brewery in Vilshofen. All this took place in a country that no longer exists, Austria, or at least the Austrian Empire (which only became the Austro-Hungarian Empire some 20 years later). The Czechoslovakia in which Pilsen would become Plzeň would not exist for another 77 years, and it would gone in fewer years than that to become the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

169 years ago this Friday, Josef Groll's beer was first tapped in Pilsen, and it caused a sensation because the colour was much paler than any lager the Austrian Empire had seen up to that point, the previous palest lager was Anton Dreher's Vienna lager, which was a touch darker. Thus Pilsner Urquell was born, not as a ladies beer, but as the new beer for a city entering the industrial revolution, a drink for the workers.

But what about the altbiers, the German lagers and Belgian ales that were available for them to drink in their beer geek cafes on the back streets of Pilsen? Why didn't they just drink those instead? Well, you are a smart, intelligent person, so you know I am taking the piss a bit there. The term "altbier" has a very young provenance, around the same time as Pilsner in fact - and only came about as a result of the new craze for pale lager sweeping the German speaking world. But altbier is manly and tough don't you know? Well, kind of I guess, if you like beers that are 4.6% abv, about 40 IBUs of noble hops and lagered for a couple of months, because everyone knows that the extra 0.2% abv between Pilsner Uruqell and Schumacher Alt makes all the difference in gender specificity for beer. Perhaps manliness is defined by the colour of the beer you drink, good to be a stout drinker I guess!

Anyway, you get the point. If you are going to make ridiculous claims about beer styles from far away lands about which you know nothing, at least do a modicum of research in advance rather than repeating your nonsensical, unlearned drivel. Unless of course you are planning to work on the second edition of the Oxford Companion to Beer.

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...