The Session #70 – The Hyping of the Beer

To publicize or promote, especially by extravasession_logo_all_text_300gant, inflated, or misleading claims.

That’s what I found to describe “hype”.  This month’s beer blogging topic is all about the hyping of beer.   Here are some examples that I thought of regarding beer hype.

  • Budweiser – “king of beers”. Utter marketing hype. No one believes this. Not even the family.
  • Coors – “rocky mountain water.” Whatever.

This kind of hype has nothing to do with the beer; it’s all marketing, of course. Crafters are all about the beer and not the marketing. Does the craft beer world still get beer hype (sounds icky, like a communicable disease)? I guess.

  • Bigfoot from Sierra Nevada is often touted as the “greatest American barley wine.”  It’s Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale with even more hops.  This is like saying Arnold Schwarzenegger is the greatest action hero because he has the most muscles.  Honestly couldn’t taste anything but Cascade.
  • Anything from Dogfish Head. Granted, Calgione is a good brewer and his story is textbook for brewers looking to start their own brewery. I dig it; he’s cool and his beers are usually unique. But, seriously, this guy could package his own urine and somehow it would become “the greatest imperial blahblahblah with just a hint of … Earthiness.”  Whereas Sierra Nevada and others seem to just infuse hops into anything, Dogfish seems to triple the malt content of any recipe and toss in something weird from the attic.

There may be other examples, but I live just to the left of the middle of nowhere so I don’t hear of (or get to drink) a huge amount of beers.

Does hype affect our perception? Sure. In fact, if I try a beer that’s been touted as ’the best whatever’ and I just don’t appreciate it , then I feel like an idiot, like I must have missed something.

But then I also feel like an idiot when someone asks why a certain beer I’m drinking is so wonderful and all I can say is, “well, uh, New Belgium (or whoever) makes it.”  I’m doing that right now with Shiner beers. They won medals, I’m drinking up. Well, that and they are from Texas and I’ve got this thing for Texas and frontier history at the moment.

So, anyway,  beer is art, which in turn is a glimpse into the soul.  This glimpse resonates differently in each person. Thus, I don’t think there is any reason to state that any beer is “the best ever.” Everyone experiences it in a different way.

A beer can be cited as a proper example of a style. That makes sense. “This is what a brown ale should taste like,” that kind of thing.  If a properly certified and reputable critic of beer points that out I suppose listening to that particular brand of hype can be forgiven. Then again, that’s what happened with the Shiner beers I am drinking.

I must be missing something, but, whatever, they’re from Texas.

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