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BEER AWESOME - Page 4 of 4 - Beer? Awesome. BEERAWESOME.COM

On the Beer Wench and journalism. MY FIRST NON-REVIEW!

Okay, so up until now you have just expected no-nonsense (or at least relative levels of nonsense) reviews that give the reader a general idea of if they would like it, and what they would encounter. Today, I want to tackle a much grander issue; it’s one in the realm of beer journalism.  Recently there was an attention-garnering post from “The Beer Wench”, who shall remain an unnamed employee of Green Flash (toward whom I bear no animosity).  This isn’t going to be a tirade dissecting their audience-blaming, validation-seeking rant.  Just a commentary on the journalism itself.

Upon opening the link, we are greeted with the title “6 DIRTY LIES MEN SPREAD ABOUT WOMEN AND BEER”.  Immediately, you know it won’t be a completely fair and balanced account of one person’s experiences, but let’s keep going.  Because being offended does not mark the end of the journalistic trail.

The overarching style of the entire entry is that of one blaming “you”, which is really blaming the reader.  I may not have had the most exquisite teachers my entire college career but I did have the pleasure of being under the tutelage of a great English professor who taught us “when you say ‘you’, you automatically insert your reader into that situation.”  So whenever I read a “you,” I – as the reader – assume they mean me.  Let’s take a look at the first paragraph, where we find a violation of this “rule”.  It’s not really a rule, just a way of interpreting and proofing, so that you don’t alienate an audience.  To quote this first paragraph: “I’ve had it up to here with articles written by you (men), presumably targeted to other yous (also men), discussing how to get women to drink beer. Are these articles condescending and offensive? Absolutely! But also, they’re almost always flat-out wrong.”  Immediately you see that it is male-targeted.  It makes a cheap apologetic stance before again condemning men, but offers no real hope or positive light for any male reader up to this point.  As a journalist, reaching out to the beer community, you can’t afford to alienate any large segment of audience.  This is the initial stumble in the article, and we will now exam the rest.

“And as both a member of the va-jay-jay club and someone who sells and writes about beer for a living, my ego thinks that I’m the perfect person to address the fallacies in the most common “how to get your woman to drink beer” argument. Here we go.”  Aside from all the other gender and privilege and whatever arguments could be made, what I take away from this paragraph (which prefaces their entire article) is that “Hi, I’m a genetic woman and now I will school you on each and every genetic woman because I speak for all of them.”  If this is not the case, let me know, it just seems authoritarian to assume one thing or another for the entire female population.

According to the world’s most accessible and editable resource, Wikipedia, “In ancient Mesopotamia, clay tablets indicate that brewing was a fairly well respected occupation during the time, and that the majority of brewers were probably women.[11] Indeed, the brewer’s craft was the only profession in Mesopotamia which derived social sanction and divine protection from female deities/goddesses, specifically: Ninkasi, who covered the production of beer, Siris, who was used in a metonymic way to refer to beer, and Siduri, who covered the enjoyment of beer.”  This is great!  Shouldn’t this be a way of incorporating women and men into the same brewing system that produces what we love?  Instead the writer chooses this to be a pivotal “US vs THEM” point.  That’s not what beer is about, we want everyone to discover and enjoy all of the beers possible.  I don’t care who brewed it first, who was the first patron saint or the overlooking deity, and I definitely don’t care who maintains the tradition.  Tasty beer is tasty beer and should be enjoyed by all.

My second critique comes not in the form of facts or statistics but writing style.  My previously mentioned English teacher taught us all that “when you use ‘you’, it places the reader in the position of the context.”  Essentially, only use “you” when you mean to actually point out specific people or a person.  This article forsakes that in the stead of blaming most of the male population when it espouses: “Lie #2: Women are afraid of beer
The Truth: It’s not us; it’s (probably) you

Yeah, I’m talking to you, Mr. Extreme Beer Geek that spends his days and nights trolling beer pictures on Instagram, desperately searching for every opportunity to belittle and bully all of us bright-eyed and bushy-tailed craft beer cheerleaders because you didn’t get enough love as a child. It’s not our fault that we were born with boobs and get more likes on one beer selfie than you will on hundreds of photos over the course of a year –regardless of how many rare beer pics you post.

Let’s face it, (male) beer fanatics aren’t exactly renowned for having strong social skills and dashing good looks.”  The first thing I want to tackle here is the use of “you.”  When you’re a responsible journalist and you use “you” what you’re doing is placing the reader in that exact moment.  It can be appropriate, but in this situation, what it does is place every reader in the position of a judgmental male beer aficionado that may or may not exist to serve the purpose of belittling a female reader.  Not only is this offensive, but a cheap piece of journalism attributing a failing demographic to every male reader of the article.  Remember: WHEN YOU SAY “YOU,” YOU PUT THE READER IN THAT POSITION.

The next part is just juxtaposition and clickbait so I’ll browse over it with the least amount of words it deserves: “Sure, some chicks might have an irrational fear of beer because they think it’s going to make them fat. And hmmmm, I wonder who’s to blame for that? (Yep, looking at you Beer Belly Man.)”  Yup, an excess of calories (of which beer has more than most liquors) is again men’s fault, even though we can’t get women to drink beer?  Though when they do they immediately get fat because….men?

This next one is essentially the false-equivalency, and what I really just want to attribute to a negative experience leaking through the author’s publication.  ”

Lie #4: Women love fruity sweet shit, so you should start them with beers like that

The Truth: Fruit beers are terrible “gateway beers,” so that makes no sense
I’m not sure when and where this “women only drink fruit and wheat beers” stereotype came to be, but unfortunately I understand the thought process behind it. Obviously, women are the fairer sex and therefore we have delicate palates that cannot handle anything too abrasive or we will melt. Plus, we love, like love, fruity sweet shit. RIGHT?!?!

Don’t get me wrong, I freaking love me a good fruit beer. But calling a fruit beer a gateway beer is like calling an appletini a gateway cocktail. Both are essentially a gateway to nothing. You can’t just jump from super-fruity strawberry shandy to an aggressively bitter double IPA, just like you can’t just jump from a disgustingly sweet cosmo monster variant to a Manhattan.”  Let’s start with just the fruity beer part.  I think everyone knows at least one person (be they female or male) that needs to start with something more palatable.  I can throw the same lack of data out there, but I won’t, I will just say that *IF* someone prefers lighter and fruity beers, let that be their gateway into the craft beer world.  Start from there and lambics, hefeweizens, witbeirs, etc.  There’s nothing wrong with preferring a certain type of beer, and if it happens to be fruity, let that be your entrance.  We’re all here because we love beer. If you find one that you love, let us expand upon that, instead of contributing your taste profile to The Patriarchy©.

Assumptions.  I assume you can read English, and that’s as far as I’m going to get, because other than that, I don’t need to alienate my audience.  Unlike the segment where women like: “Coffee, tea, dark chocolate, red wine, kale, broccoli, olives — all of these are highly awesome bitter things that most women love. And if we can handle coffee and kale, I’m pretty sure we can handle your coffee-like roasted malts and your resin-like hops, thank you very much.”  The author of this previously quoted section also penned the part where women don’t all love fruity beer.  So if women don’t intrinsically like fruity beer and we can’t make the judgment that it is what they would enjoy drinking, what makes the author the supreme authority to say that “most women love,” things like kale and coffee and olives?

THE END:  It appears that the beer community is not immune to both clickbait and personal tirades.  Personally, I just want people to find and enjoy beer that they can love for the rest of their lives.  Whether it’s a woman drinking a raspberry ale or a retired lumberjack drinking a sextuple-hopped DIPA, I want you to find the thing that makes you happy.  Drink the beer that makes you happy, and make memories.

I hope you came away with at least one positive thing here, and as always, drink what you like.  Just don’t tell certain Green Flash employees 😉
Thank you from BeerAwesome.

JOHN CURRY LEE V

BeerAwesome takes a coffee (stout) break. Schlafly Coffee Stout

 

Schlafly Coffee Stout
The Saint Louis Brewery 5.7%

Pours black-hole dark with a generous, almost tan head.
You immediately smell the inside of a small coffee shop. Java, java, java.2015-02-05 00.13.27

When you taste it, you get a nice bitterness from the stout itself and then a tidal wave of that sweet nectar that heralds in every morning. Coffee. Not even burnt starbucks, either. This is good quality beans sensually massaging each taste bud into a state of compliance. The only way you’re sure it’s not actually coffee in a bottle is that it’s from the great folks at Saint Louis Brewery, and the slightly watery beer-y character. There’s no alcohol, no hops, no yeasty smells or tastes. It’s just a cold 12oz serving of delicious refreshment. If you’re a huge coffee fan (beanhead? There’s no way that’s what you call yourselves) and you needed to have one breakfast until the end of time, go buy ALL of the stock of Schlafly Coffee Stout. Right now.

Hops – 1 There have to be some in there somewhere. But they’re not noticeable and they’re not necessary.
Malts – 4.5 Actually for a stout, it’s more coffee than malts. They’re there, sure, but this isn’t an RIS or a Milk Stout. This is coffee with some beer in it.
Carbonation – 6.5 It compliments the coffee really well. You’re not here for bold malty, yeasty complexity. You’re here to enjoy coffee stout. Not stout with some coffee.
Character – 9 The label says COFFEE STOUT and that’s what you’re getting in spades. If you haven’t picked up on that already.
Palate – 9 I’m not sure what else I can say that I haven’t already. It’ll win a Slashie this year for best Coffee/Stout, and not the other way around.
Overall – 9 It’s simple, it’s delicious, and my coffee palate isn’t refined enough to thoroughly critique which beans they used. Buy it. Buy 12 of them. You’ll drink them.

 

BeerAwesome Reviews a Crazy Yeti!

2014-11-05 23.50.47
Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
Great Divide Brewing Co. 9.5%

Pours Gulf-of-Mexico dark, with a thin filmy head. You smell malts, chocolate, some yeast, and there’s something else. Something different.

At first taste you aren’t expecting anything out of the ordinary for such a stout. But there’s a unique flavor that you’re not sure is really there. That’s when you read the bottle and find out they added a “dash of Cayenne” to “keep things lively.” You’re not entirely sure it belongs, and just as that insecurity hits, the rest of the bold flavors quickly put those concerns to rest. “It’s okay,” they tell you, “Great Divide knows what they’re doing here.” And they’re right. It’s like drinking a BARELY boozy-tasting designer chocolate bar. Or so I would imagine, if you had enough patience to melt one.

1. Hops – 3.5 Even on the bottle they said they toned those down, and I believe it. Just enough to counteract some of the malt/chocolate/yeast but you can’t really tell beyond that.
2. Malts – 8 It’s an Imperial Stout. C’mon.
3. Carbonation – 4 Enough that it’s not flat and you can pour a head if you try, but that’s about it.
4. Character – 8 There’s malts, yeast, chocolate, some flavors it picked up from oak aging, and something spicy. It’s dark and bitter and (YES I WILL SAY IT AT LEAST ONCE BECAUSE I AM REVIEWING AN IMPERIAL STOUT) roasty and sweet and spicy.
5. Palate – 9 It all comes together so damn well. It’s not TOO spicy, and it’s not TOO dark, and it’s not TOO bitter, and it’s not TOO chocolatey.
Overall – 9 -1 point because it IS too delicious and I wish I had another. Good job, GDBC. You made a winner. I guess that’s why it took gold at the Great American Beer Festival last year (2013). If you like anything about stouts, or spicy food, or anything delicious at all, you should find one. I hear it also immunizes you from Ebola.

BeerAwesome reviews Heady Topper

2014-08-25 23.11.26

The Alchemist – Heady Topper DIPA 8%
Pint Can

The instructions on this can are absolutely foolproof: “DRINK FROM THE CAN!” So, I did. Opening the top releases an avalanche of delicious hops right into your nostrils. I can’t comment on how it pours, except into your mouth at a frighteningly easy rate. Make no mistakes, this isn’t out to convert those on the fence about big IPAs. This wants to tenderly pet your tastebuds to death in a Lenny-like fashion. This beer has multiple statements about how it’s best when fresh, and unfortunately I did let this one age a little while. If it’s even better than this when it’s young, I’m jealous of those who got to experience that.

Hops – 8 Yeah. They’re here. Bitter and floral and citrusy and delicious. It’s not like drinking a pine cone, but if you don’t like a bitter brew, stay away.
Malts – 4.5 They’re there in the fact that they do enough to keep some hops in check and to deliver a nice sweet note.
Carbonation – 5.5 It’s smooth and not too bubbly.
Character – 6.5 Look this is simple. A little sweet, and then a bunch of hops. You won’t catch any crazy fruit esters, some wild rare yeast, or delicate notes of whatever. This is a fantastically simple DIPA.
Palate – 9 I love hops, and this is great. There’s no booze taste to it, it’s not too carbonated, and if you like hops half as much, it’ll go down quickly. But not before you have enough time to check out flights to Vermont to score more of this delicious brew. Well done.

Necromangocon

B Nektar Necromangocon2014-05-10 22.59.51 Honey wine
6%

…Wait, this isn’t a beer.

 

 

This honey wine (or mead) was purchased simply for the “Necronomicon” reference on the label. It pours a clear, pale color, with enough pepper on the nose to raise the dead. It’s very sweet, with the mango flavor being outshined by the mead itself and the black pepper.

Overall: 7.5
I would pair it with any black magic ceremonies or awakening the Old Ones. It’s too sweet and peppery for my own tastes.

Laughing Dog Alpha Dog Imperial IPA

04/29/20142014-04-29 22.51.38
Alpha Dog Imperial IPA
Laughing Dog Brewing 8.5%

Pours bright honey color, citrus and hoppy on the nose. Not much head.

Tastes kind of malty at first, a surprise for the color and aromas. This gives way to some pleasant citrus and hop flavor, though neither are overpowering. You wouldn’t guess this is billed as an Imperial IPA until you read the 8.5% label.
1. Hops – 6.5 Whether they’re underpowered or just well balanced, I would expect a bigger presence from an IIPA
2. Malts – 5 There is actually a good showing here. People that dont like super bitter would actually be into this.
3. carbonation – 5.5 Somewhat bubbly, but still very pleasant.
4. Character – 6 There’s nothing here that really sets it apart from anything else. It doesn’t have any wow factor, anything wrong with it, it’s just… inoffensive in a market that thrives on being unique.
5. Palate – 7.5 Here’s the shocker. Because it’s not too much of anything, it really isn’t bad. It’s just not very good at any one thing.
Overall – 7.5 This is the Subaru of beers. They drive okay, they look alright, they’re not the slowest, but they don’t exceed at one thing, except being a jack of all trades. This will moderately appease IPA fans, while maybe converting some folks who like malty stuff. But this doesn’t make the short list.

Review – Abita Abbey Ale

abitaAbbeyPic

Abita Abbey Ale (Dubbel) 8%
22oz bomber

Pours a dark, cloudy, ruddy color. Great head, smells just like a good Belgian Dubbel with some caramel on the nose as well. At first taste, you get caramel, sweet maltiness, fruity esters, with that candy-banana sweetness that people associate with the Belgian ales and yeasts.
Hops – 4.5 There’s not much there, maybe just to balance some malts
Malts – 7.5 They’re not the only thing here, but they are here in force. Tastes sweet, caramel, roasty and delicious.
Carbonation – 6.5 There was a great head with decent lacing, holding it in the mouth you can tell there’s some carbonation.
Character – 7 There’s malts and fruity sweetness, but I’d personally like to have more pronounced “belgian” quality to the taste. However, what’s still there is good.
Palate – 8 The big malty taste goes well with the Belgian fruity, yeasty tastes and comes together to make a very good, very malty beer.
Overall – 8.2 It’s got malts aplenty, but I would personally like to see a little more fruity belgian taste in it. However, it’s not my beer and the fine folks at Abita set out to make a “Malt bomb” fused with a good Dubbel, and they’ve done just that.

Review – Epic Brewing Double Skull

Epic Brewing Double Skull Doppelbock Lager
22oz Bomber, 8.3%

Pours coppery, rusty color. Very little head. Malts and that “lager” smell on the nose.

Hops – 5 Slightly on the nose, not an unbalanced malt finish.
Malts – 8 Grains and caramel and malty sweetness. You get that lager taste and then you get caramel and sweet and it’s fantastic. An excellent example of what a good lager can be.
Carbonation – 6.5 It’s bubbly, but no real head to it. Hold it in your mouth, you can feel the carbonation but it’s not overwhelming.
Character – 8.5 It’s malts. There’s a slight hop balance, but it’s a “super lager”, so it’s gonna be grainy, slightly yeasty and sweet and caramel. And it is.
Palate – 9.1 It’s a really good “super lager”. 8.3%, yet there’s no alcohol on the finish. If Yuengling were normal people, Double Skull would be Superman. Better, stronger, etc. Everything you need in a lager x5, with nothing disagreeable happening in it.
Overall – 8.7 I feel like I’m betraying my roots giving a lager such a high score but it’s a BIG LAGER! Sweetness, malts, caramel, and some yeasty flavor to it. Super Lager, indeed. Buy it, try it, no one will be disappointed. It’s not sweet enough to turn anyone off, and it’s not bitter enough to turn anyone else off either. It’s a buy and NOT share, if you can find it.

Bottom line, this is a fantastic doppelbock. Buy it, drink it, love it.

Reviews 03/05/2014

 

 

I’m about to post old reviews and one I just had last night, DuClaw’s Cocoa Fuego, an interesting Chocolate Chipotle stout.

Cocoa Fuego
03/04/2014
DuClaw Cocoa Fuego 7.5%

Pours dark, strong malty smell, not much pepper on the nose.

It tastes like a chocolate stout and finishes slightly spicy. There’s very little chipotle/pepper taste. It’s sweet and malty and chocolatey and leaves a spicy finish. Not bad overall, but a better example of this was Left Hand Brewing’s Fade To Black pepper porter.
1. hops – 2 Nose, balance out the chocolate, the sweetness, the malts. But just barely.
2. malts – 7 Yup. I’m not sure if they’re overpowered by the chocolate or overwhelmed by the spicy finish though.
3. carbonation – 4.5 not very bubbly
4. character – 6.5 There’s things here, malty sweetness, chocolate taste, spicyness but nothing stands out. Certainly not the pepper.
5. Palate – 7.5 It works well, but nothing is jumping out at you. It’s sweet, it’s slightly coffee, it has chocolate, but not like in a robust chocolate stout, and it’s spicy but only just so on the finish.
Overall – 7 If you want to try a decent spicy stout and this is available, go for it. It’s not the best in class but there’s nothing here that will turn anyone off. It will leave you wanting, however.

A clarification on character and palate: character would be what’s IN the beer, palate is how it all works together. This had very little chocolate OR chipotle, but it didn’t suck at all, hence the higher palate score.