Hopped up on pop posers, BS-style brews, neo-prohibitionists
By DCP Beer Writers
Photo: Hipsters battle it out over their favorite craft beer trend: Bavarian-style IPA or Oyster-infused ale?
Stop the BS-style brews
By Tom Morgan
What’s the worst part about craft beer in 2016? Easy: choice. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but it has never been easier for craft breweries to just completely and utterly make up shit and call it “innovative” in the rat race to stand out in the marketplace and on the shelf. Looking for an edgy IPA to impress your friends? Your local retailer easily has hundreds to choose from, sorted by hop variety and beer-style-IPA varietal. Can anyone tell me what a Bavarian-style IPA really is? Didn’t think so. Or craving that exclusive one-of-a-kind American sour ale? Good luck with that. The real struggle will be deciding between the version with hibiscus, the one with oysters, the one with rocks from your favorite lake, or the one made, as the label informs me, “with the love and humility necessary to end corporate greed.” I mean, f–k me, even lager is craft now, only it is “hoppier” or “tastier” or “made with the blood of a dozen orphans” or “revolutionary” or some other equal kind of malarkey. Makes me long for the simplicity of “tastes great” versus “less filling.” No, seriously.
As I sit drinking my barrel-aged caramel macchiato session triple white stout with eucalyptus and chamomile, served in a glass hand-crafted out of shards of beach glass, collected and curated by the barista’s DIY housemate, I can’t help but wonder how craft beer ended up here—with all that “beer as lifestyle” crap that took over. Remember when beer was something we drank? But then again, the American penchant for “bigger-and-more-makes-better” coupled with faux-hipster disdain for authority can really make a mess of anything, craft beer included. Just ask my man, rappin’ Sam Calagione.
Much of the choice currently offered consumers is merely crass capitalism masked as craft innovation. Or, in other words, the very thing craft brewing came of age mocking. Sucks when it comes full circle, doesn’t it? Well, not as bad as it sucks for consumers. So please, stop cramming the latest and greatest things down our throats when that combination of ingredients really isn’t that interesting. Or enjoyable. After all, that recent emphasis on getting consumers to chase trends rather than enjoy beer means that craft brewing is, yet again, edging ever closer to their macro competitors. And when that happens, everybody loses. Especially the dude planning the beer festival focusing exclusively on historical squash beers. Yes, especially him.
Reach DCP beer writer Tom Morgan at TomMorgan@DaytonCityPaper.com.
By Hayley Fudge
Among the worst trends of craft beer in 2016 was the surge of hard sodas—uniquely positioned as craft beer by consumers and the industry alike.
Popular options such as Small Town Brewery’s Not Your Father’s Root Beer (and now Ginger Ale and Vanilla Cream Ale), the line of flavored Henry’s Hard Soda offerings, and Coney Island Brewing Hard Soda products have appealed to a whole different group of beverage consumers, whose vibe doesn’t always jive with the traditional craft beer culture built around locally sourced hops, passion for the craft, and, well, actual beer.
But the worst thing about these hard sodas posing as craft beer isn’t that—it’s that they are just really not good for you.
Just like regular, non-alcoholic soda, these fizzy bombs can blow up your diet. Calorie-wise, you can expect a 12-oz. bottle of a solid session India pale ale to cost you less than 150, while the hard sodas are generally clocking in at closer to 200 a pop. Hard sodas can often also pack up to 30 grams of carbohydrates per serving, whereas a solid session or pale ale beer generally has closer to 15. Maybe even worse is the sugar content, although dentists may be happy to recommend it.
So, IPAs may get a bad rap, but I’ll take my hops over hard sodas any day.
Reach DCP beer writer Hayley Fudge at HayleyFudge@DaytonCityPaper.com.
No more neo-prohibitionists
By Jim Witmer
Religious neo-prohibitionists irk me.
There are those who claim that God forbids the imbibing of any and all alcoholic beverages and that the Bible backs this up. I, on the other hand, believe they are picking scriptures à la carte to support their position instead of taking an honest and comprehensive approach.
I don’t pretend to be a Bible scholar, and I don’t care whether someone prefers to consume or not. It’s just when they condemn others who don’t have their same opinion, or work to enact (and in some states, refuse to modify) policy or law, or—just as annoying—give unsolicited advice to produce guilt or misinformation.
In many cases, I believe these are often people who see others having a more joyful life than they are experiencing and want it squelched. They will tell you that joy comes in the form of abstaining, although it’s often hard to see that in practice.
The Bible, in the Old and New Testaments, speaks to the dangers of drunkenness in some cases, as well as the use of “strong drink” as a blessing and having medicinal value.
Genesis 27:28: “May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness and an abundance of grain and new wine.” (An abundance of grain will also make new beer.)
And, I could continue to give out scripture references galore, but if it so interests you to find out more, they are easily searchable.
According to the Bible, Jesus’s first miracle was to turn six 50-liter kegs of water into wine (OK, not kegs, but large jars)—although dishonest Bible thumpers claim it was not wine, but only grape juice. I cannot imagine a Jewish wedding reception where only grape juice was consumed, especially during His time on earth. Jesus did drink wine, the principal beverage of the time, and did so in moderation. In today’s climate, I’m suggesting it would be a fine Trappist ale or any other well crafted beer. Probably not a 40-ounce malt liquor, but who is to judge?
Beer, wine, and other strong drink in moderation is a small component that enhances life’s experiences, whether it be social, culinary, or for health benefits. Yes, there is also an enormous amount of destruction caused by alcohol abuse, and some choose to abstain on that principal alone, even if the Bible does not require them to do so—a more respectable position.
I once had someone tell me that God spoke to them to preach alcohol abstinence. Fair enough—but I feel divinely inspired to get this off my chest, as well.
Reach DCP beer writer Jim Witmer at JimWitmer@DaytonCityPaper.com.