Sam Calagione vs negative "beer geeks"

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JerCraigs
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Postby JerCraigs » Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:44 pm

atomeyes wrote:for example, I don't get excited by craft beer just because its craft beer. there's great craft beer and crap craft beer.


Your statement may be a good example of why "craft beer" is kind of a useless term. In theory there should be no such thing as "crap craft beer".

I think beaumont had a good blog post a while back about caring more about what is in the glass than who put it there. If Molson can bottle a Dreadnaught clone or a Rochefort imitator and put it in the beerstore, I'll buy it.

(Aside - Do we seriously not have a single Belgian style beer produced regularly in Ontario in any kind of quantity other than a wit? WTF!)
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Postby Kish84 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:51 pm

JerCraigs wrote:I think beaumont had a good blog post a while back about caring more about what is in the glass than who put it there. If Molson can bottle a Dreadnaught clone or a Rochefort imitator and put it in the beerstore, I'll buy it.


Kinda reminds me of the reactions when AB bought Goose Island. From what I've seen, I don't think there's been a drop in quality. For the most part, I usually forget AB owns them when I see GI in a store, but it wouldn't stop me from purchasing it anyways.
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Postby cmadd » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:02 pm

Kish84 wrote:
JerCraigs wrote:I think beaumont had a good blog post a while back about caring more about what is in the glass than who put it there. If Molson can bottle a Dreadnaught clone or a Rochefort imitator and put it in the beerstore, I'll buy it.


Kinda reminds me of the reactions when AB bought Goose Island. From what I've seen, I don't think there's been a drop in quality. For the most part, I usually forget AB owns them when I see GI in a store, but it wouldn't stop me from purchasing it anyways.


I've definitely bought GI since the buyout, but I always have strong reservations about doing so. It's not because I have some arbitrary sense of authenticity or morality. It's because supporting BMC are supporting a business model that would just as soon crush craft beer with anti-competitive business practices as they would adapt to a shifting market. AB only bought GI, because it improves their bottom line. But, you say, if making good beer improves their bottom line, why is that a bad thing? Because there was never an internal force driving BMC to make good beer. All the force came externally, from risky craft brewers. If craft beer hadn't undergone a revolution, BMC would have hardly decided to change their direction.

Supporting smaller, riskier, adventurous brewers takes the market in the direction I want. Supporting large conglomerating business actively and aggressively stagnates it. This is why I try to avoid big beer whenever possible, not because I'm a self-righteous hipster.
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Postby boney » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:49 pm

As several people in the blogisphere have pointed out, Sam's reactionary take on the situation is a little puzzling. His argument surrounding the size of craft breweries and the premise that people are shitting on the "little guy made good" is implicitly, rather than explicitly, trying to debunk the myth that size=good or bad beer. I'm not sure that's what anyone is really saying. They are just saying that some of his beers are overrated, in their own opinion. Overall, Sam's rebuttal is a poorly concieved strawman argument.

I like DFH. I like Sam Calagione. However, the whole thread and Sam's response is ridiculous. On one side, beer snobbery is tired and has never been productive. On the other, as long as Sam's happy with his product, can make a good living doing what he does and bases his operations on integrity, why should he even care what others think?
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Re: Sam Calagione vs negative "beer geeks"

Postby Bobsy » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Sam Calagione wrote:It's pretty depressing


Almost as depressing as seeing a brewer and author of several books on beer spell 'palate' wrong twice in one post. You wouldn't catch Garrett Oliver doing that!

Whether a brewery or beer is over-rated or not depends on your own perception and how it differs from others. The question that the OP in the BA thread asked seems reasonable enough to me: What brewery out there gets too much hype for what they bring to the table?

With beer sites is there's some good and some bad, and brewers have to accept this because they have very limited ability to shape the dialogue. No doubt Dogfish has benefitted from people being effusive about their products, and the mere existence of the sites have led me to discover a bunch of Dogfish beers (some I liked, some I didn't) that I would not have tried without prior knowledge. Sam's brewery was getting a bit of a mauling in my scan of that thread and he's doing the right thing defending his company, but the very fact that there's a discussion going on is a good thing. A love-in without any criticism or views that deviated from the ideal would be pointless.

He's also not thought much beyond his comment that everyone's palate is different, and that you cannot use your oppinion as a basis for judging overall quality. It's an argument for extreme subjectivity over objectivity. A site that aggregates user reviews and crowdsources oppinion to score and rank beers seems to be a highly ironic venue to state this.
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Postby JeffPorter » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:04 pm

sprague11 wrote:
JeffPorter wrote:Can you imagine a "worst Ontario craft brewer" thread on this site?

I can't.


Trafalgar.

there, saved us the trouble.


Oh. Yeah. Forgot.

Man. So true. So owned.

:)
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Postby JeffPorter » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:34 pm

markaberrant wrote:
Craft beer is so big in the US, they don't NEED imports.


absolutely...but I think I'm trying to get at something else (and probably not doing a good job after 13 hours of work).

I think why I find the BA thread and Sam's response so interesting is all the layers of irony.

In addition to what others have stated, we can defend the thread by saying things like, it's not necessarily a judgement, but just in informal poll about who you think perhaps gets more hype than they deserve. Which is true.

But on the one hand we're talking about how big and awesome beer down is there.

On the other hand we're musing which ones get too much hype.

But as great as their beers are, and because their beers are so great, and because the beer geek population is growing in exponents with brewers as rock stars and beer as rock star sweat, isn't the answer to the question, "which U.S. craft brewery gets more hype than you think they deserve", almost all of them?

Isn't it kind of like asking who the most overrated Beatle is? (btw, it's not Paul don't even go there - he and Ringo were probably the least douchey)

Sorry, guys. Am I making any sense? Or do I just need to go to bed? I need to go to bed.

*there's no sleepy emoticon" ---- zzzzzz
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Re: Sam Calagione vs negative "beer geeks"

Postby Derek » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:08 am

Bobsy wrote:
Sam Calagione wrote:It's pretty depressing


Almost as depressing as seeing a brewer and author of several books on beer spell 'palate' wrong twice in one post. You wouldn't catch Garrett Oliver doing that!

Whether a brewery or beer is over-rated or not depends on your own perception and how it differs from others. The question that the OP in the BA thread asked seems reasonable enough to me: What brewery out there gets too much hype for what they bring to the table?

With beer sites is there's some good and some bad, and brewers have to accept this because they have very limited ability to shape the dialogue. No doubt Dogfish has benefitted from people being effusive about their products, and the mere existence of the sites have led me to discover a bunch of Dogfish beers (some I liked, some I didn't) that I would not have tried without prior knowledge. Sam's brewery was getting a bit of a mauling in my scan of that thread and he's doing the right thing defending his company, but the very fact that there's a discussion going on is a good thing. A love-in without any criticism or views that deviated from the ideal would be pointless.

He's also not thought much beyond his comment that everyone's palate is different, and that you cannot use your oppinion as a basis for judging overall quality. It's an argument for extreme subjectivity over objectivity. A site that aggregates user reviews and crowdsources oppinion to score and rank beers seems to be a highly ironic venue to state this.


LOL. Yeah, I noticed the 'palate' too... and I'm actually surprised there wasn't more of a backlash to Sam's comments. Ironically, I generally agree with your 'oppinion'. ;D
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Postby JerCraigs » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:17 am

Kish84 wrote:
JerCraigs wrote:I think beaumont had a good blog post a while back about caring more about what is in the glass than who put it there. If Molson can bottle a Dreadnaught clone or a Rochefort imitator and put it in the beerstore, I'll buy it.


Kinda reminds me of the reactions when AB bought Goose Island. From what I've seen, I don't think there's been a drop in quality. For the most part, I usually forget AB owns them when I see GI in a store, but it wouldn't stop me from purchasing it anyways.


That may have been the context for Beaumont's post. If I have the choice between two equally good products, one locally microbrewed, and one from a big brewer I will tend to go for the local option, but if the big guys is making something better, or the import is something we just can't get here... well then the choice is tougher.
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Re: Sam Calagione vs negative "beer geeks"

Postby Bonesey » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:37 am

Bobsy wrote:
Sam Calagione wrote:It's pretty depressing


Almost as depressing as seeing a brewer and author of several books on beer spell 'palate' wrong twice in one post. You wouldn't catch Garrett Oliver doing that


Some English major!
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Postby Belgian » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:20 am

I don't think snob appeal of 'cult status' beer is really point and I don't think 'Craft Beer' is a useless term even if it is overused -- the point of both is pursuit of a very high quality ethic. It's why DFH got started, and it's why DFH is now getting left in the dust somewhat (only by the leading edge movement.)

Everything else may be beside the point. There's no accusations that really matter, it's only about the quality ethic and standing in this one principal the critics are always right.
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Postby Wray77 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:01 pm

I don't have a problem with the bitching (as this is mostly what I do myself) because it shows there is a passion there. Excluding present company, Ontario seems to be filled with apathetic or ignorant beer drinkers...that's the sense I got from my last trip to the beer snore.
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Postby Weebay » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:13 pm

When I first got into beer and home brewing BA was a great resource, however, most of the threads there are useless, as are a chunk of the reviews.

There seems to be a lot of threads about how people have sold out, how one beer isn't as good as other people think it is, how something was wrong with a bottle they bought, how some teenager at a beer store didn't treat them like the unique snowflake they are, how they felt a beer was a drain pour, etc.

I see little to no value in this.

There also seems to be a strong need from a lot of people to have people agree with their personal preference. If I like a beer, I don't need you to like the same beer(and by “you” I mean you personally). If you don't like a beer I like that doesn't mean you are a troglodyte, it means we like different things.
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Postby TJ » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:34 pm

There's no way in hell I would read a monster thread like that on Beer Advocate on a good day, but it does seem like some people are confusing "most overrated" with "worst" or "bad".


JeffPorter wrote:Can you imagine a "worst Ontario craft brewer" thread on this site?


Worst, yes.

That's already been asked and answered and saw coming from a mile away.

But I could see there being a most overrated Ontario craft brewery thread here. Why not?

I'm not sure what's to be gained by pointing out that other people seem to like a brewery more than you do.

And I'm not sure why people who like a brewery are offended when they hear that other people don't.

But it seems like a valid enough discussion. There's certainly been worse threads on Beer Advocate.


Bobsy wrote:
Sam Calagione wrote:It's pretty depressing
Almost as depressing as seeing a brewer and author of several books on beer spell 'palate' wrong twice in one post.


I was surprised by that too.

But I'm sure you'll agree that that was just one of a bunch of errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation and common/accepted usage.

But to be fair, it seems more like the knee-jerk reaction of someone who felt slighted than a well thought out rebuttal that was run by an editor and/or PR professional before being posted.

Sam seems like a smart, passionate and successful guy, but I don't think he ever claimed to be infallible.
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Postby shintriad » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:03 pm

There was an article in RateBeer some years ago about the most overrated beers (I won't link to it because the HTML's all wonky), but I thought it was quite helpful. They looked at the stats and showed how the "Beer Gods" rated popular beers compared to average users.

I don't see any harm in pointing out what appear to be discrepancies in taste. Nobody would be upset over a "most underrated" beer thread, for example. It's just another interesting thing to look at. It can help people discover beers and breweries they may have overlooked; you can find kindred spirits and allay your fears that you're the only one who feels that way; and you get the satisfaction of pointing out that other people's tastes are WRONG WRONG WRONG!

I feel bad for Sam and DFH that they've been mentioned so often, because I personally love their beers and all the stuff they've done for the craft movement. And the tone of that thread was perhaps overly negative (at least at first).

I agree with comments that U.S. tasters must be a bit spoiled. I'm thinking that could be us in a few years. It's already become hard for me to settle on a local IPA these days, which is one hell of a first world problem.

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