It's the first bit of the month. Session time. I almost forgot. A bit like my subject for last January's 95th edition of the Session when I last hosted, the question for consideration today posed by Natasha Godard at MetaCookBook is this:
I’ll be hosting September’s Session with folks’ posts going up on Friday the fourth. For this session, I’m asking my fellow beer bloggers two related questions:
1. What do you want people in beer culture to be talking about that we’re not?
2. What do you have to say on the topic(s)?
I am not sure I can really consider this without asking out loud - what is "beer culture"? The tough thing about writing a beer blog for twelve years or so is that one sees cycles of ideas - and "beer culture" is one of them that comes and goes. Beer for me is just a part of the general pop culture. If you are in a beer-centric sub-culture check to see if you are a dipsomaniac who really needs a visit to the doctor to update your ALT and AST test results. Unless you make your money in the trade... in which case, well, that is still good advice.
But back to the question. What isn't being talked about? Well, how crappy what passes as brewing history is comes to mind. Folk still think that US micro-brewing revolution since the 1980s is the first boom of strong hoppy ales. Wrong. The facts are right there asking to be discussed. Not that much interest. People think before scientific brewing begins in the 1800s that all beer was brown, sour and smoke-laced. Nope. Again, the facts are still right there. It goes on and on: the beginnings of IPA, the reasons for the ascendancy of lager. Fibs, fibs and more fibs.
Why is this? Why don't readers care enough to reject it all? Mainly because no one cares. People like beer for a number of reasons, most surrounding the whole "get's you a bit of a jag on" thing. Good beer generally makes good on the tasty jag promise. And when one has a jag on one thinks of many things... with a fair bit interior imagining at play. One's mind starts going off in unusual wee directions before the first glass is emptied. And it's not just the history, of course. It's the way alcohol makes the company more pleasing, makes the brand more worthy of loyalty, makes the umpteenth ident-a-bio of the craft brewer almost readable. It's what makes you think your are more charming than you are. No one needs to act surprised by this: whether in little happy ways or grim life ruining ways, it's a deceiver. It deters us from caring. About those tired feet, the worries of the day, the troubles at work, the burdens of life, the harrowing reality of our mortality.
We like to be deceived. Maybe we even need it. In reasonable measure. We call it romance when it pleases. Michael Jackson was quite good at creating romantic myth around beer. I can't bear that part of his writing in particular... except when I do. One of his greater weaknesses.¹ Jordan sees the practical value of a well placed romantic myth to a brewer. We really are agreeing. Want to shift your beer? Make up a pleasing set of lies about it. Just don't expect me to miss you doing it when you do.
Second question. What do I have to say about it? Other than pointing out that the whole trade is an equation wherein alcohol plus falsehood equals money, not much I can do. Trade has to go on. People need a bit of comfort in a glass.
¹ ...another thing that we don't like to discuss.