A Good Beer Blog

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Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


Comments

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itslunchtimeca -

|n terms of communication and general enjoyment of beer, I agree. But if you are talking about pairing or profiling beer, it may be a helpful aid. It may be that certain charts show a proclivity for matching with certain food charts or that by emphasizing another axis, it makes the pairing better. If the measurements are taken objectively, it may show new pairings or flavours that have not been looked at and I think that would be helpful. Mind you, it would only be helpful for a few select.

Also, I find the word descriptions somewhat subjective and limited. The guava example is a good one. I would hazard that very few people have had a great tasting guava but I could see a beer with that flavour and a whole buncha people trying to give a description with only their limited food experiences. An objective chart to measure for that using some type of instrument would work in that case.

Anyways, a niggling point about a topic where I largely agree. Anyways, cheers.

Alan -

Not so much select as predisposed. There is nothing as subjective as predetermined codes - like the code of objectivity - which charts promote.

Alan -

Or rather charting the wobbly. Conclusions and perceptions rather than data.

Stan Hieronymus -

Alan - I apologize, but I don't think we disagree. Which is almost as good as agreeing.

Jeff Alworth -

I think your analogy's a bit off. Visual presentations are a form of communication. Graphic equalizers were tweaks to sound. In the former case, you may well have people who process information differently--visually--and for whom spider graphs are useful. In the latter case, you're just trying to heighten the wavelength everyone's already tuning into.

I say this to suggest that while spider graphs et al may not be what float your boat, they may well be useful to others. (I'm as wordy as you and have no use for them, either. But I have no use for Two and a Half Men and that damn thing will never die.)

Alan -

I am sure we never really disagree. And I am working through an idea as usual.

Alan -

Jeff, but each are visualizations in the sense that the knobs of the equalizer form a graph themselves and you associate the shape of the sound with the shape the knobs form.

Alan -

Plus, I always turn the treble up wherever I go to make the sound work for me. We all have out own shape of listening. But that is not the point. They are not broadly useful because they are not what people use as a general tool for information sharing. They may be narrowly useful but I doubt they are superior in their utility compared to other means to get points across about obvious things. Graphs work wonders when they draw out things that are not obvious.

Jordan St.John -

Oddly, this reminds me of a series of collectible cards that related to characters in the Marvel universe. There were bars out of seven that displayed information about the various abilities of those characters. Strength, Speed, Combat Ability, Intelligence and so forth.

The question will always remain why it matters that it has been codified that Wolverine has a certain numerical quantity.

It matters relatively little considering that you might have the same quantitative analysis between two beers. The exercise is interesting, but the fact remains that Sabertooth will never be as popular despite having similar abilities. It does not approach the cachet that a certain property develops and that is a crucial part of the experience.

Alan -

Because any charting fails to understand the essential nature of the morality of the Marvel Universe. Each may be great or fail utterly.

Gary Gillman -

Different things work for different people. I have no trouble with a guava-like taste. E.g. kiwi fruit is guava, isn't it? Or close enough. I like words as taste descriptors but not everyone thinks in those terms. I think of the long-time brewing professional, a PhD in brewing science who marveled that Michael Jackson found a burnt currants Christmas cake quality to Imperial stout - he said he never could have written that but clearly was intrigued by Jackson's statement.

I am very happy to so this book out by Stan on hops - we have many excellent books on beer but very few have been written for consumers on this keynote of the beer taste, well-done, Stan. This is a must purchase for me. I am sure it goes into such matters as the origin of American C hops, most of which only date from the late 1960's (not Cluster of course). And much else. Kudos to Stan and I like the cover design too.

Gary

Gary

Gary Gillman -

Sorry, I meant, I am very happy to see this new book out by Stan on hops.

Gary

Jeff Alworth -

visualizations in the sense that the knobs of the equalizer

Ah yes, I see where you were headed. My bad.

Alan -

No bad whatsoever!! Listen, if we can't speak of the knobs of graphic equalizers without assigning blame what can we talk about???

Craig -

Here in-lies the challenge of designing graphical representations. I encounter this all the time doing exhibitions. Graphic representations can be neither too specific—for then you loose those who are uneducated in the subject matter—or too simple, because then you, as has happened in this case, you loose those who are educated in the subject matter. The key is to find the middle ground, the Goldilocksian "just right".

That being said, in most exhibitions we do not rely on solely on the graphic representations. We layer information in an inverted triangle, with broad concepts at the top, focusing on more minutia at the bottom. This triangle is supported by artifacts, maps, interpretive panels and graphic representations.

The flaw of these graphical representations is not them unto themselves, but that they are not supported by additional information. It would be like trying to explain how a car works, by only showing the steering column.

Alan -

[Mr Smarty Pants Knows The Subject From Experience Speaks!]

Great graphs can show the interrelation between 16 things and provide insight better than most any other medium but, and I was thinking about this, even words are dancing about architecture when it comes to taste. Just as graphical representations can fail, words certainly can, too. So is it a mug's game? Is their only either scientific exactitude or flailing coarse words or diagrams? This is not about subjective or objective, just specificity.

Craig -

I will admit to having some fairly well-informed trousers.

Tom -

"each are visualizations in the sense that the knobs of the equalizer form a graph themselves and you associate the shape of the sound with the shape the knobs forms."

Couldn't you say the same thing about words? Replace "knobs of the equalizer" with "letters in the word" and "knobs" with "letters," and it works the same, albeit not necessarily in a way most people would tend to think about language. The larger discussion here reminds me of ones I have heard between drivers who drive by street signs and ones who drive by landmark, another locus for the language versus visualization debate.

Alan -

And, conversely, here I sit sick on the sofa on a Saturday unable to really taste or smell as I wish I could. But I am thinking of holiday meals and drinks and realize I am able to be quite pleased by the recollection of flavour. Dubbels and mushrooms pop into mind quite easily. Were I to write out the experience of the recollection or draw it out on a chart - what would it mean? So not only analogous but also not dependant.

Craig -

My fist is raised in solidarity my half-sick brother.

Alan -

I am sick of being sick. Bourbon almost doesn't help.

Tom -

The "almost" is a nice touch. Here's to you feeling better, Alan.