Just three things. One of them was to start populating the wiki companion for The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer. The other two ended up being this post. See, someone asked me to consider the future of beer writing and the operators of the blog The Bake and Brew asked us all to consider the following for this moth's edition of the Session:
How much is our taste or opinion of a craft beer affected by what friends and the craft beer community at large thinks? What beer do you love that no one else seems to get? Or what beer do you say “no thanks” to that everyone can’t get enough of? I can find myself wondering sometimes when I’ve had an extremely popular beer, but haven’t been all that “wowed”…is it me? Am I missing something here? Was there too much hype? Could there be such a thing as taste inflation? If we really want to dive further into this, is it really only “good” if a large portion of the craft beer community says it is or is our own opinion and taste enough?
You see the point, right? All three are the same thing! Why? Because only through communication about beer to we come into contact with the concept that something is "an extremely popular beer". It's not through the beer. It is not even though advertising about the beer. It is only through beer writing. "Hyped up community-laced amateur beer brand ambassadorship in the cause of who knows what" beer writing. Which there is far too much of. Remember: even if you love beer, beer does not love you.
The reason why a beer disappoints, why it ends up being a semi-wow is because someone did not really tell you what it was really like to really have the fluid in your mouth. I originally wrote "his or her mouth" but what I inadvertently wrote is way better. Your mouth. Why did that happen? Because no one can describe to you exactly what that taste does in your mouth. The moment is different, the memories evoked are different, your financial circumstances are different and you are different. Now, they can get close. They can be self-aware and understand the massive existential division between each person's autonomous insular subjectivity and their autonomous insular subjectivity... but they never do, do they. Or at least seldom do.
Yet beer writing might be heading that way. There are hints. As I noted the other day, there are lots of good writers asking more about a new way of approaching beer writing. One thing everyone might take on once in a while is remembering the idea of taste inflation especially when tied to an intoxicant which is related to having a good time. Everyone likes a good time. But maybe not your good time. Describing your pleasure, your findings, your research, your pal's brewery is pretty much all about you. Or at least you are as big a player when it comes to good beer as the intoxication is.
If we know that we can be more subjective and more narrative. Less about community and more about individuality. Less authoritatian. What sort of school of art would that look like? Naturalism. Expressionism. Impressionism. Abstract realism. Even Dada if you want to be. Why not?