It was good to see the "Life" section in this morning's edition of The Globe and Mail carry the story "Microbreweries raid the fruit aisle" by Beppi Crosariol. The new section had promised his wine and spirits coverage would be expanded to include beer allowing the Globe to catch up a little to its crosstown rival The Toronto Star, what with that paper's regular beer columns by Josh Rubin. While there were issues of research that I would fail in my obligations as a beer blogger not to go over a bit priggishly, Beppi has established his style as a writer as both gently engaging and knowledgeable - which does set him a little apart from many wine and beer writers. I want him to write about beer well because he writes well. Too bad he has to write about beer as second or third fiddle behind plonk and booze.
So, while he does state quite incorrectly that grain is a "homogeneous raw material" - forgetting that Maris Otter and Golden Promise (let alone barley and rye) are as different as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot - he does so likely to illustrate the point that wine varies from year to years so, one would assume, has to be approached with some suspicion. And while he erroneously reports that "pumpkin is another classic deserves a revival" he appears to only do so to implicitly place a question mark by the person giving the selected quote - though why he might want to do that is beyond me given the Beer advocate lists around 150 different commercial examples of pumpkin ale listed in its reviews. It couldn't be a lack of research, could it? And the closing joke about somebody making a banana beer bread someday falls a bit flat when you realize there has been a banana bread beer made by Charles Wells for a few years now.
My only real gripe is the point of introducing us to the beer columns first through the topic of fruit beer. It is not so much that it is a marginal sort of beer topic as it is one Josh Rubin wrote about a week ago. It would be nice to mix these things up. But you are going to have slips like these when you send the baseball reporter to cover a hockey game leaving them scrambling to get the story.