The Session #111: Succumbing to a Beer Midlife Crisis

The Session is a monthly group writing prompt for beer bloggers to share their thoughts on topics. Oliver J. Gray of Literature and Libation put forward the topic this month, Surviving a beer midlife crisis. He prompted us with a simple question:

Do you find it hard to muster the same zeal for beer as you did a few years ago? Are you suffering through a beer-life crisis like I am? If so, how do you deal with it?

My answer to the first question is a clear yes, the second question requires contemplation, and the third question requires explanation.

Continue reading “The Session #111: Succumbing to a Beer Midlife Crisis”

Craft Beer on a Budget

No one is going to argue with you that craft beer is an expensive hobby to get into, it is, and there are not many ways around it. Craft beers are artisanal products using prime ingredients handcrafted in the state of the art machinery. All that stuff costs plenty of money. So how can you enjoy craft beer on a budget? I’m working on doing this myself and am sharing my ways; please share yours in the comments!

Craft Beer on a budget

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What's Your Whalez Name?

If you use Facebook, you’ve likely encountered a plethora of quizzes cluttering your wall. If you’ve hung out in the beer scene for a while, you’ve probably caught wind of some rarer beers with crazy ingredients. Those rare beers are referred to as whales, like white whales, which has mockingly devolved into Whalez.

What started as a joke on these two things between Brent Osborn of Osborn Brewing and myself has evolved into What’s Your Whalez Name?

To find out what your rare beer whalez name is, take the month you were born in for the barrel. The first letter of your first name gets you your style of beer. The last letter of your last name gets you the first adjunct and the first letter of your mother’s maiden name gets you the other adjunct. We couldn’t make it too easy to figure out could we!

What's Your Whalez Name

Remember, sharing is caring!

“Rare” has gotten out of control in the craft beer scene

It seems that many Cincinnati-area bars and beer stores need to do a little vocabulary work. Per good ‘ol Merriam-Webster, rare is:

1: marked by wide separation of component particles :thin<rare air>
2a : marked by unusual quality, merit, or appeal : distinctive
b : superlative or extreme of its kind
3: seldom occurring or found : uncommon

For our purposes, definition three is what we will be examining, though two does factor in.

Nearly every week, there are numerous cases of the “rare beer tasting”, “rare bottle release”, or, my personal favorite, “the first/last/only keg of xxx in the State of Ohio/City of Cincinnati.” Any of these increasingly-encountered phenomena would be much, much less irritating if they used the word (or at least concept) of rare correctly. If I can buy the “rare” beers at your tasting or at any reputable beer store in the area ALL YEAR LONG, those beers aren’t rare.

If you have the only keg of such and such that has ever been made in the history of mankind, but I can buy the same beer in bottle format anytime I please, who gives a crap? And that’s without even considering the fact that actual rarity has nothing to do with how good a beer actually is. Give me a Bell’s Two Hearted that I can buy any day of the week from the gas station down the street over your one-hundred bottles ever created of triple-dry-hopped-barrel-aged-wild sextuple stout.

The Store Who Cried Rare!

Words have meanings and when those meanings are detached, the words become pointless. Just as in the case of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, if you’re a beer store who bombards me on email/Facebook/Twitter with a critical mass of hyperbole regarding the rarity of your stock, I’m going to stop listening. I realize it’s a marketing ploy and I know that we craft beer lovers have largely brought this upon ourselves in over-valuing the latest “White Whale” and riding the hype train on certain beer traits (barrel-aged, sour, and, yes, rare).

I’m just asking this: the next time you need to market an event or product as “rare”, take a step back for a second and think about whether or not it’s 1) true and 2) necessary. If you’re going to sell a good product, it doesn’t have to be rare.