It started innocently enough. Boak and Bailey repeated approvingly my comment that "surfing along with the flavours or things that cannot be controlled is the hallmark of an artisan." I had been thinking of Jeff's transcription of his interview with Jean Van Roy when I commented about hop oil being a cousin to Velveeta cheese. Makes sense, no?
What ensured was an interesting and odd line of tweets. And things took off in an interesting direction. I was quite surprised by the idealism that good beer can be pure and perfect. I always thought good things express many things including the work of time itself as well as the inevitability of human foible. Jeff shared an observation from John Keeling of Fuller's, that sometimes the relationship you have with a beer over time is like when friends get haircuts - "you recognize the person, but he's not identical." I like it. I believe good things display aspects of their goodness in different ways over time. No point in time is better as long as the goodness still is there.
But this means that there is an arc over time. Good beer taste one way young and another old. Both have their charms. And it means as the arc passes, there is a also width to the range of variables which may be displayed at any point in time as well as at the same point. All real food is like this. For me, Saison Dupont is a perfect example. Every time it seems different but still itself. Like someone you know with new stories to tell. Sure, I have changed and the context, too, but it's not just me. The beer that has morphed.
When industrial brewers - or, for that matter, any brewers who believes that beer should only taste as they conceive - demand our obedience we are being asked to believe. To believe there was a mythical big bang of flavour when it was truer and more perfect is to believe that you are not a participant in the process.