I have to admit that my first reaction to the image to the right of the milkshake made with Samuel Adams Octoberfest beer was a bit of a gakky feeling but then I remembered that I don't really like this
pumpkin¹ beer anyway so maybe this would not either be all that great a loss or, when you think about it, perhaps the proper way to serve it. It sure makes for a pretty picture with the beer hovering in the background - but I thought the golden rule was never put milk in your beer glass. Hmm...
What else is out there corrupting good beer? Stan has a new candidate - cellaring beer as an investment. An investment!!! I was only surprised how limited the investment portfolio was, how it reflected a very slim view of what value in beer represented. Besides, who advocates investment in what's already suffering from an overheated market? None of the 10 beers listed is anything but a bubble commodity waiting to burst... except, of course, when simply in the glass.
Boak and Bailey have raised the spectre of strawberry "fruit lager". There post begins with a quotation from an early '70s book, promising a distopian future where "...one of the big six was already test-marketing an orange beer, and this is now generally available. A pint of orange today, a pint of strawberry tomorrow." I actually think the vision of forty years ago was of a different sort of gak, malternative or alcopop gak. Not just a bit of blackberry pulp in the porter. But, in either case, has fruit ever improved a beer or does it just hide failings?
Beer as sauce on a dessert. Beer as money's worth. Beer as something so devoid of its beeriness that we don't even know it's beer. Makes you want to drop the best part of a hundred bucks to a food and beer pairing event. No, it's maybe not that bad. It does make me wonder why it is not good enough just to be that fat Englishman who missed the train because of his love of beer. In the end, doesn't he sum up all that is good and lovely with beer - and what all the schemes of science, investors and industry can't improve upon?
¹Why did that happen? It was more of a brain fart but interesting as I lump all these things together in my mind - these pumpkin ales, spiced ales, october-fests, harvest ales. Harbingers of the death of the garden more than mellow fruitfulness. It's only five years since one wine writer erroneously suggested pumpkin beers needed reviving. In 2007, there were 150 examples listed at the BA. Now there are over three times that. They arrive here in a lump but all remind me of gourds lost more than anything I look forward to.