Peel the Label – Automatic Dogmatic

Apparently in 2017, dander raising and nitpicking happens every minute and it seems to have hit certain quarters of craft beer world too. You can get the full backstory about what led to this post right HERE at Beervana. Basically, the point is that you can’t use a specific name if you don’t do it exactly, specifically the same way as it was in the past.

That is absolute hogwash. If I am sitting in a brewery taproom anywhere in Los Angeles and I order a Gose from the menu. I don’t immediately have my dander raised if it doesn’t say, American-Style Gose beer. I am smart enough to know that it was brewed as a translation/homage/riff of the classic German style. Why? Because I am in an American city in 2017 and not a train station in Leipzig hundreds of years ago.

Same with ESB or Gueze or Kolsch or any other European born and raised style. What I want is a great beer. If it tastes completlely un-Gose, and it is still good, I will be more generous than if it is lacking on both accounts. But what I can do, that apparently the less tolerant cannot, is separate out Fullers ESB from an ESB brewed on the west coast.

Naming a brewery Zoigl shouldn’t cause a ripple in the surface of craft beer world. We have beers called hefeweizens that are wheat ales. There are pale ales that are basically IPA’s and Session IPA’s that I would not drink more than one of. Most, if not all, beer styles have drifted over time into new recipes and new forms, so to the purists, every beer should probably just be called a derivation of the first time that grain got wet and moldy in Sumeria.

If using the term Zoigl is offensive or insensitive to you, then you really have cleared your plate of problems. Craft beer has many issues to stare down but bringing a simulacrum of a brewing tradition to the US is not one of them. Otherwise we might not have much beer here at all.

I give you a choose your own adventure based on how stupid you think consumers are:

1. They don’t know what a Zoigl is and ask someone at the brewery about it or Google it because we all have phones and no health care.
2. They know what a Zoigl is (probably 1% of people) and also know that they are in Portland and not old-timey Germany.

You can say that it is not an authentic Zoigl and you can go to the ends of the earth educating people about what a Zoigl actually is but to get your ass chafed because it is called that just shows that dogma holds more sway in your life than the actual beer.

This world needs more people with slower fuses.

Peel the Label is an occasional series where I opine about the big picture of craft beer and blogging without photos, videos or links.