Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Peak Pretension

There is no shortage of self-absorbed pretentiousness in craft beer.   I recently came across two examples that would scream parody if the brewers did not seem so serious.  The first is Ruhstaller's Hop Sac fresh hop beer.  I have previously noted the little hipster sweaters Ruhstaller puts on the necks of its 22 oz bottles, but with Hop Sac Ruhstaller has gone full reverse Monty and put the entire beer bottle in a sweater.  I have never noticed before how naked all the other bottles in my fridge appear.

American craft brewers do not have a monopoly on high-minded seriousness.  Cloudwater Brew Co is a start up brewery in Manchester, England, and when it opens in early 2015 it only plans to brew beers based on seasonal ingredients, which means it does not plan on having a core group of year-round beers.  The selfish audacity of a brewery not offering a year-round IPA and blond ale.  I'll let Cloudwater better explain its mission:  
We are only going to produce seasonal beer, with four distinct line ups each year.  Each season will see us work towards getting the very best out of local or seasonally available ingredients, hops that are fresh to the marketplace or that give us just the flavours we feel fit the most, and traditional styles and modern experiments that accord to our lifestyle at that time.  Some beers may never be made again, whilst others may appear season after season, having been tweaked into shape (a spring IPA will likely be quite different to an autumn IPA for example).
Jeez, does Cloudwater think it is in Portland, Oregon or something?  The rub with these two examples is that while I poke fun at the two brewers, I seek out Ruhstaller beers because the ones I have tried have been good, and Cloudwater's mission sounds interesting and I want to try its beers.  I will gladly put up with a brewery's narcissism if it creates good beer.   There are nearly 100 breweries in San Diego County so differentiation will be one part of success, and if it involves some pretentious thinking, that's alright as long as the beers deliver.

1 comment:

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