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Here’s a Thing I Like

I spend a lot of time here complaining, criticizing, and generally being a fairly negative sort. It’s my natural disposition. So, in the spirit of the season, here is a link to a thing on which I offer no criticism. In fact, I like it, practically every word.

I especially like Roger’s quick summary of the various “craft beer cultures” (as opposed to the myth of the a monolithic “craft beer culture”:

A homebrewing culture analyzes beer by ingredients and methodology, espousing a “brew it yourself” ethos, while traders and swappers revel in the mechanics of the chase, the art of the deal, and the joy of collecting.

There is a priestly ratings caste trumpeting the presumed exactitude and objectivity of language in quantifying beer, and a localist persuasion embracing the personal, grassroots experience of craft beer in the context of places and people.

And his lionizing of Michael Jackson and the value (virtue?) of storytelling as opposed to linking, sharing, Tweeting, ticking, bragging etc.:

For those of us who grew to beer-turity prior to the Internet’s incursions, when social media was a figment of Dick Tracy’s wrist radio – the downtrodden tightly clutching dog-eared books written by the late beer writer Michael Jackson and anointing him as a reliable guide for pursuit of the perfect pint — one of the most important aspects of craft beer is the ability to tell a good story.

Jackson excelled at it. He was a journalist by trade, and relentlessly factual in his approach, yet a sheer delight in storytelling is his primary legacy, especially through a knack for linking good beer with interesting people in specific places. At the end of the day, what else is there?

Central to all of this was, and is, storytelling. Nowadays, quality craft beer storytelling is hardly dead, although I fear it’s gone into some manner of cryogenic hibernation. In the present time, craft beer enthusiasm is expressed with a throwaway brevity, defying any true depth of feeling; miles-wide, inches-deep. Social media affords an abundance of minimal exposure, trivializing and often eliminating context. Beer lovers check in, tweet, post and rate – and yet they hardly ever tell stories.

I quote in excess, but do read the whole thing. It’s short, accurate, aspirational. Although I have and will continue to effuse about Baylor’s beer, I don’t normally do so of his writing. So take heed. I know from goodness.

All here.

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Posted in The Drinking Class.