Oliver Grey is hosting this month's edition of The Session and asks us all to review a beer... without reviewing it. No? Me neither. In answer to this question, I offer you a passage from chapter three of the new smash hit, the latest in the Canucko-Argie school of magic realism comedic drama The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer by Max and me. The first line is by my character:
"So how am I supposed to taste this and describe it if I have no descriptors? Isn't everything relative?"
"Not in tasting, grasshopper. It's all about knowing the beer and experiencing the beer as it is. Take a sip."
Alan drank a full ounce. "Hey, it is a double IPA from... umm... southern California... or at least under the influence of the San Diego brewers. Simcoe hop additions near the end of the boil, I'd say. I would suggest this is 8.9% in strength, spent six weeks in a barrel that previously held an oloroso sherry and then sat on a shelf for eight more weeks... a little too close to the door, if you know what I mean." Alan looked at Max in surprise. "Hey. How did I know all that? I don't know how to do that? What was that all about?
"I copied into your brain the contents of the entire tasting note inventory of of the most respected beer reviewers alive, plus bits from the BeerAdvocate and RateBeer power users. Do you like?"
"But if I can use that information, why can't I use my own memory?” Alan asked. “What has that got to do with whether I like or don't like this beer?” He sniffed the glass again. "Hey. I can smell it now. Sorta earthy. But like prunes, too. And cabbage. I thought you said I could not sense anything from outside this place or recall the smells of my past. What's going on."
"Sorry, I..." Max paused, a bit embarrassed. “Yeasty beer.”
"Oh, good Lord." Alan grimaced and waved his hand in front of his nose. "There isn't any window is there? You didn't think of that, did you boy genius. You created all this but forgot the window. Let's get out of here."
[Applause. The players bow.]
See the non-review of the beer? Or is it rather a review of a non-beer? Yeasty. I think my work here is done.