This column yesterday in the Montreal Gazette pleads with us. It asks us to to think about where we are right now. Wine thinker Bill Zachakriw says this about the well known critic Parker:
Some will argue that this was a positive influence, as it pushed winemakers to make better wines, especially with regards to grape ripeness. Others, and I fall into this category, feel the result is often a standardization of taste. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but that’s not the issue here. Anyone who has strong opinions opens himself up for criticism, and Parker is no different. He has always been willing to throw a few barbs the way of his critics. He has labelled those who appreciate what may be best described as “leaner” wines as “non-flavour elitists,” and “Eurocentric, self-proclaimed purists.”
Ah, how nice. People disagreeing. Nothing like a beer "community" - it's like a real... community. A disagreeable place with real people having opposing views as well as personal interest thrown on the table. What would it take for this to develop in the beery discourse? Certainly more breakaway brewers would help. As would a few more taking dopey positions to the detriment of any established advocacy. Plus, rejection of the good stuff by major league sports entertainment making the news. That would move things in the right direction.
Is that enough? I would also be good to have a lightning rod figure like Parker, too. I suppose had Michael Jackson lived he might have taken that role faced with the lunacy of the million style universe and the new reality of big craft. But that might be quite unfair as he was much more inclusive than Parker. Critical discourse requires the criticism of critics. Could good beer get there? What does the chimp head think about it?