The most squandered meme in beer blogging is back with a question that leaves me a little confused and a little disinterested. Here is the heart of the question posed by Andy Couch who is not Andy Crouch:
Each of these descriptions is inevitably an attempt to ‘frame’ the beer, putting the consumer in the proper state of mind to drink it. For better or worse, in everyday situations beer comes with a label. This label very really ‘frames’ the beer inside. The fact that the beer comes commercially-produced signals the presence of investment (if not skill). A style name or tasting notes indicates the general characteristics to expect. If you know the brewery the beer is framed with your past experiences. Even the label art will affect your expectations for the beer. What role does this framing play in beer tasting, especially for ‘professional evaluators’?
What does that mean? Branding? Advocating? Characterizing? What do I care? Well, to be fair, that is what I do every time I post here, isn't it? I am trying to figure out what this beer or that bit of beer culture means to me... and then try to explain it to you.
But really makes little sense, when you think about it. I have posted 1,865 posts here at A Good Beer Blog but still don't know why I do it or what the heck I am talking about. I am assuming that you are along for an inductive or even intuitive ride. It's the quantity that explains the quality. The beer I have in front of me is a little like that, Lake Placid Ubu Ale. What the heck it is? Strong ale? Belgian strong ale? Bruising brown? Who knows and, really, who cares? Its character is itself. You can only know what it is by having one, by consuming one, by destroying one and turning it into another wee bit of body fat and pee. Beer only exists in the mouth. Before that it may as well be motor oil and afterward it is fit for the sewer. Beer is a play performed to a one seat audience.
That being the case, don't do too much. Don't advocate. Don't frame. Don't teach. Unless people ask or seem interested. Then just say "try this" as you pass them a bottle. If they like it, you can tell them a bit more. Or just watch the game. Or the kids. Ask how things are going. Tell them how your week was. Beer is convivial. The stuff of friendship building. Outreach oil. Friday night lubricant. It's tasty but even if you have your tongue in someone else's mouth, you can't know what it tastes like to them. Because they are not you and they are your equal. That's life. Sorry to break the news.