In the post, aftermath of CBC 2017, I saw this tweet go by and I thought it relevant….
And I fully agree that the first two have nothing to do with how good a beer is at all. And those two dastardly words need to be demoted behind many others in the craft beer lexicon because they are the primary power behind the whale hunting/empty chairs in line phenomenon that has too much undue influence in this day and age. New and rare seem to inextricably linked with waiting and snobbery.
I will argue though that local does have an effect on how good a beer is. Depending upon whether you are actually drinking the local beer locally. If I am at a local brewery and they just tapped a keg, that beer (depending on if it is a good beer to begin with) will be better simply because of freshness.
And local doesn’t add to the weird waiting in line, then Flip that Beer strata of beer society. A super rare, new brown ale just ain’t gonna cause a stir because, in actuality, those three words are a secret code to the Whale Bro’z who are chasing primarily for the sake of chasing. I would love to see an experiment where a hazy NE style IPA from say a random brewery in Wisconsin was put into a can that said Trillium or Monkish and see how many people A) drank the beer and could tell it was not from the labeled brewery B) actually drank the beer and didn’t trade it.
Does that mean that I will avoid anything that is new, rare and local. No. That would be the opposite pole of those who only drink what is new, rare and local. What I don’t do much anymore is hunt. I have a list of beers that I want to try but only if I see them at the places that I normally stop at. When I find something from the list, I get the same thrill and eagerness to open that I always have without scouring message boards or putting miles on the car.
New is fine. Craft beer needs to explore new avenues and side streets. Rare is fine. One-off beers show in stark relief what Macro beer does not want to do economically speaking. Local is great. Creating community is one of the key strengths of craft beer. But they are not the end all, be all any more than a brown ale is.