What a great paragraph over at Max's place this morning:
...there's a problem. After having read much of what brewers publish on the internet I've got the impression that many of them don't seem to know too much about beer. Yes, they do know how to make beer (which is the most important thing), but take them out of the comfort of the brewhouse and they start uttering bollocks like "all our beers are brewed according to the German Purity Law of 1516" (while they make a wheat beer with oats) or introduce their new "Trappist" beer, as it such thing was a style (it isn't) or say that "Ales are like red wine, Lagers are like white wine and Lambic like Cava". They can hardly educate anyone if they don't know what they are talking about. Are we lost?
The whole post is good so take a moment and then come back.
Not that I have all that much to add but it does raise the question about the value of knowledge in a trade that is not primarily concerned with knowledge. See, we have had a large dialogue across many webby platforms - and even a bit now in the pro printed form of beer writing - that is a bit more investigatory and a little less about just praising the beloved. But it is not pervasive and will not own the discourse anymore than good beer will ever sell more than popular beer. People rightly like their beer a lot so there really is not much of a market in challenging notions or rooting around otherwise. Which is fine. Beer is a part of our societies, a form of pop culture that does not need all that much explanation or even exploration to do quite nicely, thank you very much.
Does this make us "lost"? I think Max and I agree that the answer is not really. No more lost than a casual fan of this sport or that who is unaware of the finer points of sports management and the maintenance of the physical infrastructure of arenas and sports fields. Do I really need to know which experimental strain of grass is being tested to make a better outfield to know if that fly ball to the corner should have been caught by the player who slipped on the way to try and catch it? Like the team owner and manager, I expect that someone is thinking hard about that but don't care much myself for the particulars.
Is this a slur against brewers? ATJ grapples with this in a way, too, but this morning I my answer is "hardly". I expect my interest in beer and brewing is not only niche to most drinkers but niche to most brewery staff and owners. They have work to do. Brewing and selling beer. As we know, it really does not matter what is on the label or even was in the mind of the brewer at any given stage if the result is tasty and well priced.