Friday, September 11, 2015

Welcome to Starbeers

This morning I had a revelation, an epiphany. It was like lightning struck my brain, and yes it hurt. It was a revelation that may explain why I find much of the current hoopla around 'craft beer' so fucking puke inducing, and I am not referring to the abominable habit many an American brewer has for putting silly shit in a beer, pouring it into a firkin, slapping it on the bar, and calling it cask. Today I realised that craft beer, including many of its fans and acolytes, is becoming Starbucks.

Yep, you read that right, the buzz and culture of craft beer is painfully similar to going to a Starbucks and having to use nonsensical terms just to get a fucking cup of coffee, whilst having easy listening muzak inflicted on you in the background, and bubble headed wotsits trying to decide if they want 2 pumps of caramel in their skinny latte or just an extra swirl of wank.

When I think about it more deeply the more I am convinced that is where the whole shebang is headed. Different pour sizes, beyond the usual big/small, pint/half-pint, thing. In the UK it is all thirds, halves, two-thirds, pints, here in the US quite often it is 10oz, 16oz, or 20oz (and yes I know a place that does a 'supersize' 25oz beer!). I look at that and all I see is short, tall, grande, venti, and trenta. God help us if some overly addled bright spark comes up with names for all the different sizes, or we adopt the Aussie approach.

Now think about the craze for putting silly shit into beer, whether to be served turbid and shitty from a firkin or bright and freezing from a keg. It gets to point where it is likely reading a fucking Starbucks menu with stuff like 'salted caramel mocha frappucino', or a 'cinnamon chai tea latte' - what the fuck are you talking about??? Reading some craft beer menus, and I'm looking at you Asheville, gets me all in a state of Bernard Black doing his taxes:

I imagine there are even people who spend the day sitting in craft beer bars, sipping a barrel aged sour pumpkin spice white stout, whilst tapping away on their laptops....


  1. The thing is though, a lot of people really like Starbucks. I don't, but I sense I'm not their target market.

  2. Great analogy Al. Liked the faint rant tone too.

  3. I think you are just a little too critical, Al. Sure, some of these brewers overdue the exotic ingredients for my taste, but I don't have to partake and I have choices that I didn't have 30 years ago because of the micro/craft beer movement. We now have ten different breweries of various size in my area. They brew basic ale and lager styles, which I prefer. They also do some more extreme/exotic stuff. The point is as a consumer I have a choice.

  4. I don't have a problem with brewers using all these exotic ingredients per se, but I do have a problem with brewers using them before they have demonstrated the ability to consistently brew a decent pale ale or porter.

    1. I agree show me a brewer who can brew a great pale ale, porter, stout, brown, or pilsner and I will show you are superior brewer.

      The only thing exotic I occasionally enjoy is a barrel aged stout and for flavored beer I enjoy a Piney River Sweet Potato Ale, brewed with real sweet potatoes. It is brewed in the Ozarks.

  5. This may be the most spot-on commentary on the current craft beer scene I've ever read. Bravo!


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