With Great Power...
Posted on 2/14/2013 by Brew's Your Daddy
...comes great responsibility. We have all heard this phrase, or some version of it at some point or another. And while I have never felt that any of you have given us here at BrewChief any sense of power or responsibility, I do feel as though you have placed a certain bit of trust in us. I feel like you trust us to be, if nothing else, clear and honest. And in those rare cases where we can't be both, you can damn well bank on us at least managing to pull one of the two off. Now that being said, allow me to set a scene for you, after which I will without question bring you some straight up, raw honesty.

I recently went to my mailbox and pulled out the latest copy of one of the more popular beer related periodicals. I don't want to get all specific and tell you which one it was, but I will at least give you a hint and say that the more I read it, the less I think you have to be a...connoisseur of beer...to write for it. Anyway, I went inside, cracked open a Founders Breakfast Stout, and started to flip through the pages. I came to the section where there were a few beers up for review by a selected panel of well honed palate professionals. I grazed through most of them and had both nods of approval as well as disagreement. No real shock there. Then, my eyes locked in on a review of the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Considering this is one of my favorite pumpkin ales, I really couldn't wait to read what the ''real pros'' had to say about it. My excitement only lasted about 30 seconds before it was completely smothered out by both anger and disbelief.

Now I am going to skip through the ''professional preferences'' part of the review. I have no problem with someone ''liking'' or ''disliking'' a beer. As a matter of fact, that is one of our core beliefs here at BrewChief. You are 100% entitled to your opinion. All we ask is that you back it up with some type of intelligent reasoning. And there my friends, is where I almost flew....the F...off. Let me go ahead and glaze over the 75 out of 100 rating they gave the beer (yes, this alone is enough to make ones head practically explode), and go directly to one of the reasons it was knocked. One of the biggest dings against it, which was echoed by more than one of the pros, was its ''lack of beer like aroma''. Yes, that is an actual quote. It has a ''lack of beer like aroma''. Can we all say it at the same time? How about we scream it? ''Please tell me what 'beer like aroma' is!'' When asked what their lunch tasted like, do they say ''food''?

Am I nitpicking here? I don't think so. This is where the heartfelt honesty part kicks in folks. I defy any of said pros to give me ONE aroma that is specific to ALL beer. Simply put, it doesn't exist. That is one of the beautiful things about our craft beer world. The range of smells and flavors is literally endless. And the fact that some of the more well respected palates in the industry would be so lazy as to take the easy way out and basically say ''Meh. It doesn't smell like beer, so it should only be viewed and graded as average at best'' really disappoints me. Hell, it more than disappoints me. It truly baffles me. These people are given a very powerful platform to express their views and opinions, and that is the best they could come up with and put in print? As someone who has put in a lot of personal time and research to further my beer education and ability to coherently describe the many nuances of beer (read as drank an assload of beer and tried to coherently describe them to the best of my ability), I stand and say shame. Shame on all who participated in the review, and shame on the publication for allowing it to go to press. I feel that anyone involved in spreading the word about our mutual love for craft beer should be held to a certain standard, and this is an instance where they came up short. I can't get away from the word ''irresponsible'' here. I mean, if you don't feel like at least putting forth some effort, don't do the beer an injustice by trying to throw something together just for the sake of doing it. At the very least, it comes across as lazy to us who know the effort that goes into reviewing beer. Again, shame. Shame, boo, and shame again.

All I really know is it really left me feeling a lot of things. Mad. Confused. Disappointed. A few other things come to mind that I would rather not go into at this point as I feel as though I have been on my soap box for long enough at the moment, but trust me when I say they aren't pretty. I do know that after reading that review, and writing this article, I really am proud of what we do here at BrewChief. We sometimes might take three sentences to say what could said in one, but at least we don't sum up a beer by saying ''Hey, don't drink it. It doesn't taste like beer. And we all know that if beer doesn't taste like beer, you shouldn't drink the beer.''

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