Friday, December 7, 2012

Session 70: In the Words of Chuck D

It is my firm suspicion that “hype” is one of the middle stages of beer geek development, quite possibly the longest, somewhere between “sanctimonious” and “jaded.” Actually, it may be coterminous with the first one. In fact, many people may never get beyond the “hype” stage—I like to think of it as the equivalent to the anal stage in human development. C’mon, you all remember that point where you absolutely had to try some fancy-pants beer, no matter what the cost. And for that reason alone, it is also the most over-exploited stage by the brewing industry, mainly because, well, the other stages are not so financially lucrative. Sure, both the earlier and later stages can contain the impetus towards or the residual impulses of the “hype” stage, but neither is nearly so rampant with a complete lack of impulse control.

Then there is the fine line between “hype” and “quality.” The overwhelming and ubiquitous nature of “hype” tends to stand in the way of attempts at both subjective and objective discussions regarding beer. You know, whichever one you favor. And where do beers that earn a name based on exclusivity and scarcity fit in? I get Dark Lord as a product, and even a day-long event, but I don’t find Dark Lord that exciting. I know, I know, the heresy. Rather, our favorite moments are when we get to discover something interesting on our own—when we choose something off the shelf and take it home, and get to determine from that experience whether the beer has any merit on its own. Like our recent experience with Epic’s Utah Sage, or even our recent visit to Flat 12 Bierwerks in Indianapolis. Both were a product of our interest in discovering beer on our own terms. Sure, no one can completely escape the colossal juggernaut of “hype” created by beer advertising and social media. But it tends to leave you alone the more you ignore it.

The Session is a monthly first Friday beer blogging event; this month is hosted by David J. Bascombe at Good Morning... Drink and blog, y’all.


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