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Oakes Occasionally - July 27, 2006

Why Occasionally?
Oakes Weekly July 27, 2006      
Written by Oakes

Vancouver, CANADA -

Welcome to the Oakes Occasionally. When I started the column, I had a hell of a lot to say. It’s not that I don’t these days, I still get into the forums every now and again, but otherwise the world of beer is a pretty stable place and there’s only so much you can discuss in a meaningful way without becoming repetitive. It’s summer, it’s hot, and I drink a lot of pilsner. Is it just me or are German wheat beers way too sweet to be refreshing in this heat. Some of them are practically like Sprite they’re so sugary. Maybe late at night when it’s cooled off a bit but otherwise, not for me.

IPAs are good, and it’s one of those styles that’s pretty reliable. Which is in itself a problem. They’re brewed to a fairly high standard and I like an awful lot of them, but I don’t think I’ll see another one that truly blows my mind. The style has reached a plateau. I’m wondering what styles have not yet plateaued. Certainly the more minor styles have yet to be fully explored. As seemingly untouchable as Schultheiss Berliner Weisse is, that’s one style that has barely been touched. Even the Flemish sours have only been dabbled in, though it might take years to equal the greatest examples. I hope American brewers don’t get too full of themselves when they see high ratings and lots of praise when they do a decent job on that style. A decent job and a true classic are not the same thing.

And since when did “perfectly drinkable” mean “perfect”? Some people’s ideas on beers I will never understand. Throwing down jaw-dropping scores on everything that doesn’t suck. I mean, I’m glad you’re happy with it, but I suspect the phrase “easy to please” also applies. It’s okay to be critical. Giving some indication in your rating, even if you don’t outright say it, of what you’d like to see in a beer to make it better is not a bad thing. There really aren’t that many brewers out there who believe everything they brew is as good as it could be, and I’d argue that any who do think this are way too full of themselves. You can always improve – just like every rater should be critical of themselves in their ratings and work to ensure that anything they enter is as good as it can be, both in terms of the rating environment but also the comments. I don’t care about macroswill, because that’s not brewed with an eye to pleasing beer geeks and those brewers couldn’t care less what we have to say. Their own consumer base says much worse anyway.

But all that type of stuff is just part of the same old beer geek debates. Most of us have opinions on these matters and we forget that ultimately, we’re all a part of that small minority who actually cares to argue about such mundanities as rating at festivals, sample sizes, and all that crap. What difference does it really make if one person likes to write notes on their beers and another person just likes to get a good buzz on? If you’ve got a problem with another craft beer lover about how they choose to enjoy their craft beer, you’re a fucking idiot. Express your opinions if you must, I do, hold ratings to a higher standard – nothing wrong with wanting you and your friends to be better - but getting in people’s virtual faces, I don’t know.

Am I contradicting myself with every sentence yet? Quite possibly. The world just isn’t that black and white.

So is there anything vital on my brain right now? That’s the thing. I’ve sort of burned out on the petty little beer geek debates. I’ve made my positions clear on every issue worth getting into. What’s really left but to drink a few more beers and enjoy it? So if I don’t have anything to write about, I won’t. If I have something every week, I’ll do it.

If you find this to be about the shittiest column yet, so be it. If you would like to see some things discussed, send me some ideas. Til then, or my next big brainwave, I’m just going to tip a few more Bitburgers, Amnesiacs and the like and enjoy the rest of my summer.



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start quote I’ve sort of burned out on the petty little beer geek debates. I’ve made my positions clear on every issue worth getting into. What’s really left but to drink a few more beers and enjoy it? end quote