01 February 2009

A Manifesto

As a kick-off for this venture, each of the authors will be posting their manifesto to help readers understand where this blog is now, and where it is headed. The following is the first of two manifestos.

Beer is perhaps the one beverage that can assume the responsibility of the old saying "all things to all people". One can find oneself in it, on it, under it and over it. It can both sustain and destroy, augmenting one's thoughts even it its absence. It is for this reason, its world is a hard one to navigate. In this blog we seek to articulate as clearly as possible a guide to beer. Through our own careful analysis and exploration, we hope to help readers everywhere better appreciate the artful science that goes into making craft beer.

First, the particulars of the blog. Our main focus, our malts and yeast if you will, will be the critiquing of craft beer. All beers will be rated by each author and consensus, numerical score will be assigned on a 10 point scale to the first decimal place. The rating should be taken with a grain of salt, it is hardly assumed to be precise, but will help our readers quickly and with some accuracy identify our opinion. All beers will be rated from the bottle, unless otherwise noted. In the interest of as much disclosure as possible, we will also go as far as to tell you where, when and what glass the beer was enjoyed in. The review will be handled by whichever author has the strongest opinion, either positive or negative. In the future we hope to expand the blog to include semi-regular lists of our favorite seasonal beers and a year end set of compilations, as well as adding a news feature and a review of bars in and around the Philadelphia area.

Second, what kind of beers will we rate? As we see it craft beer includes a wide variety of production methods. In essence, any beer that aspires to anything other than lowest common denominator mass consumption without regard for the art of beer will be included. This allows for both the tiniest of brewpubs and craft-aspiring beers from major manufacturers such as Budweiser and Coors. We believe this to be the widest possible net, as it appears to us fairly disingenuous to try and determine the differences in quality between, for example, Natural Light and Milwaukee's Best. We will also disclose, at the risk of sounding hypocritical in the future, that this is the sort of rule that is made to be broken.

Third, what, generally speaking, makes a beer great? This is the trickiest question to answer, and one that will really be better articulated in the future as we review more and more beers. That said, as there are multiple authors here with well-formed conceptions of what makes a great beer, it is important to set something down before we get started. The authors come to the table here with particular style preferences, some will in most situations prefer a trappist quadruple to an imperial IPA. This is a tendency we will attempt to subdue or at least mute in our reviews. That said, it is important to know that we authors have those opinions for a reason and to say that one particular style's construction doesn't factor into the rating or review it receives would be dishonest. It is with that in mind that it should be said we seek to rate a beer according to its own style as much as possible. That is to say, a great pale ale is a great pale ale, and not a great doppelbock. This will be the primary level on which a beer is critiqued. In effect the authors will ask the question "Does the beer acheive what it set out to acheive?". The secondary plane of criticism will add a degree of difficulty, weighting particular styles more by a not insignificant amount. The reasoning behind this has less to do with personal palates and more with what goes into the beer making process. A lot more creativity goes into a high gravity or special beer that inherently makes that beer more volatile. For example, we might say the roof of my apartment is solidly built and for that reason it is a good roof, but you do not weight it the same in comparison to the Sistine Chapel. We will seek to critique beers according to this standard.

In all this blog, while certainly contributing to the author's edification as they explore beer in new and interesting ways, exists to serve the people. If all we wanted to do was talk about beer, well, we do that anyways and nobody but ourselves benefits. We truly want to share our appreciation with the general public in a way that provides helpful advice, appreciable criticism and good conversation.

No comments:

Post a Comment