Ok ok ok… I dont hate beer reviews, in fact I like knowing what people enjoy and I like people recommending beer to me. But there is a limit and we have hit that limit without a doubt. We clearly live in a world where pedanticness=credibility and that is just plain wrong. We also live in a world where a lot of people drink craft beer but don’t know much about it… and thats ok, as long as you don’t try to shove content down my throat telling me about how good that 3 month old pale ale with galaxy dry hops is (its not good, it tastes of little, and I don’t care what you think).
First lets start positive…
How to do it right:
Have an angle… Craft beer, especially in Canada, is very regional and in many cases is confined to a town. Which means it doesn’t matter how well you compare the malt profile to a specific biscuit from the the former Yugoslavia. It means sweet F all to anyone but those people living in that town, all 5 craft beer drinkers from 100 Mile house hanging out at Jackson’s Social Club And Brew House (I googled that because seriously no one has heard of it). Seriously it doesn’t matter if you are the Robert Frost of beer reviews, you are boring as hell.
That means how the beer tastes isn’t interesting enough on its own because I cannot get it. How do you make it more interesting?
Have an angle… and tell me what that angle is… Its not enough to have an angle, state it, or at the very least it should be clear what your angle is from your writing. What makes your blog about reviews interesting? Why do you happen to have an affinity for porters but hate all pale ales? If its not clear to me, I don’t care what you have to say…
Some People do this well… The Beer Rater for example clearly states his angle and I can situate his reviews in relation to myself, see here:
As you can see The Beer Rater has clearly defined what he is doing, now you have a point of reference from which to decide how seriously you can take their opinion.
A lot of people do this quite well, off the top of my head I would mention BarleyMowat.com who explains his rating system, Mikescraftbeer.com who simply gives you a quick run down of the flavour profile allowing you to decide if you like it or not and many others.
What not to do…
Talk about beer and expect everyone to be at the same level as you…
Here’s the thing a lot of beer writers and reviewers know about beer, but few know exactly the same amount about beer. They talk and talk and talk ad nauseum about noses, flavours, profiles and balance but they don’t think about their readers and viewers. They don’t realize that people aren’t coming to know what the beer tastes like:
“Because if you know anything about beer, you know a beer brewed in Port Moody and consumed a month later in Edmonton tastes a helluva a lot different than one consumed in Kelowna from the discount bin 8 months after brewing.”
Not to mention, y’know, everyones palates are different and have biases. Rather than give interesting angles or perspective many reviewers these days simply try to cover up the lack of interest with slick production values which is cool, i guess, if you like video production…
These guys seem like nice people they have a lot of cool videos that i check out regularly and recommend you do to, but beer reviews, man they are hard to do in an interesting way… For example, he goes back and forth on calling an ESB an Extra STRONG Bitter and an Extra SPECIAL Bitter (its the latter). Then he goes onto say he doesn’t know much about styles, and then for some reason he expects the viewer to take him seriously? I mean what is the angle here? How is the video adding interest? It might be interesting if he said I know little about this beer and I recommend it to people in the same boat. But nah, … My favourite part is how he says he likes Arrowhead beer because they brew with the local water… as if brewers are importing water or using Dasani or something… C’mon.
That said cool beer wall, nice video production… solid beard. I’m sorry for being a jerk and hope we can be friends in the future. Check out these guys other videos, like this one: