The editors at Slate used this photo to illustrate a provocative story headlined “Against Hoppy Beer: The craft beer industry’s love affair with hops is alienating people who don’t like bitter brews.” 1 In the picture, Jean-Pierre Van Roy is adding hops to a brew kettle at the Cantillon brewery in Brussels. The choice is amusing because Van Roy has aged the hops so they are not bitter.2
Back to the story. It’s good to call for balance in beer, and too bitter is too bitter. Although perhaps there could have been a little more, well, balance. Maybe more about why there’s more to “hoppy” than bitterness. I suggest you go look for yourself.
And consider the nut graph.
That’s when I realized that I had a problem. In fact, everyone I know in the craft beer industry has a problem: We’re so addicted to hops that we don’t even notice them anymore.
She’s not drinking with the same people I am.3
1 If you email the story the recipient gets this headline: Hops Enthusiasts Are Ruining Craft Beer for the Rest of Us. And if you save it the bookmark reads says: Hoppy beer is awful — or at least, its bitterness is ruining craft beer’s reputation. Somebody just couldn’t decide which snarky headline was best.
2 There are several practical reasons for this, and a conversation about them is exactly like the others the author pleads for at the end of her story.
3 Of course, I don’t consider myself a member of the craft beer industry. Observer, yes. Member, no. But I do drink with card carrying members.