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Monday beer links: The future of blogs and hops


Earlier this month, The Awl and The Hairpin — neither of them sites to turn to regularly for words about beer — announced they would shut down. Last week, Eater recapped the troubled state of food media — where we can find words about beer (but only if they stay in business). And over the weekend, Jeff Alworth reacted to a suggestion in The New Yorker that blogging is disappearing by suggesting “Beer blogs are far from dead; in fact, one could argue they’re more indispensable than ever.”

I try to spend zero time thinking about “is that a blog (or something else)?” when choosing what to link to here, leaning mostly on rss feeds and secondarily on Twitter. The raison d’être of the exercise the results in almost regular Monday posts here is point to collections of words, usually somehow related to beer, that are worth your time because they provide as sideways view. If one of them was a beer you might tilt that glass, see how the light catches what’s inside, survey the foam, and take another drink. But Alworth also inserted the suggestion that “Blogs will save us” in the midst of this Twitter exchange, which itself offers much to think about.

The latter is not a conversation I am inclined to wander back into — that it was 10 years ago the notion that “A critic’s job, nine-tenths of it, is to make way for the good by demolishing the bad” killed a bunch of bandwidth makes you wonder what has changed in those 10 years. I can fill out a BJCP scoresheet faster than the average bear and during the past 25 years I have written thousands of “drinking notes” for various magazines and books. I sometimes feel like I should apologize for every one, because I think there is far more value in explaining why beers taste like they do. There’s still plenty of room for controversy when it comes to why.

From Western Brewer - Jan. 15, 1880From Western Brewer, Jan. 15, 1880

Hop Vendors Swallow A Bitter Pill As They Confront An Oversaturated Market & Customers Who Can’t Pay.
This story from Tara Nunin landed just as the American Hop Convention was wrapping up. However, Brewers Association economist Bart Watson reported from the meeting that “In all – dealers/growers are less concerned than I expected” and “tone at Convention is much more optimistic than I would have bet 6 months ago.” I’ll comment more about this in the next issue of Hop Queries. And likely more still after the Craft Brewers Conference in the spring.


American Beers With a Pungent Whiff of Place.
Russian River Brewing close to raising $900,000 for wildfire victims.
Beer City’s first black, queer-owned brewery blames ‘white supremacy’ for shutdown.
This week in food and drink: What’s brewing in 2018.


Wine’s brewski moment: Canned wine is here, but can it avoid the down-market trap?
“As more players get into the canning game, spurred by encouraging Nielsen data, the risk is that the category can become overrun with bad examples. There are many already: candied rosé from House Wine; excessively buttery Chardonnay from Precept’s West Side brand; syrupy-sweet Moscato from Colorado’s Infinite Monkey Theorem.” An example of how and why to talk specifically about what is bad.

Wine Is a Terrible Investment Because It’s Never Really Liquid.
“Wine is much more democratic now, which means it’s made to be drunk when sold. Agricultural science has improved to the point at which winemakers no longer need to send product out into the world that is tight and flavorless, so they don’t.”


(From the lengthy exchange links above, but I didn’t want you to miss it.)

4 Responses to Monday beer links: The future of blogs and hops

  1. Alan January 29, 2018 at 6:38 am #

    I don’t understand ollllllllllio’s use of “or” as I know of no one in beer writing who us only one of the things he lists.

    [And, yes, I just hit the “L” button a lot.]

  2. Jeff Alworth January 29, 2018 at 11:15 am #

    As a historical note, years and years ago I made that “blogs will save us” comment largely in hyperbolic comedy. It’s hard to recall now, but there was a time when most people considered blogs to be the equivalent of a middle-schooler’s diary, and as a proud early adopter, I was always defending the medium. One of my friends made me the shirt, and it was for a time the under-the-title motto on Beervana. The reference was a deep cut for long-time readers.

    Thanks for linking—

  3. Martyn Cornell January 29, 2018 at 7:11 pm #

    Primarily I’m a beer drinker.

    All the rest is just blather, really.

  4. Gary Gillman January 29, 2018 at 10:45 pm #

    I started from the standpoint of the beer palate: explaining what I like and why, and trying to understand beer flavour from the 1700s to now. But it has lead in some interesting directions. To do this, I don’t need largely to critique brewers, but I am very chary to in any case, given the relativity of palate and changing definitions of what is acceptable in beer.

    A bland fruity sweet gueuze may please countless more citizens than it does beer critic. That critic may love a sour beer most citizens, and maybe even most beer critics, find undrinkable; who is right?

    For those inclined (social media account holder or journalist, there is no clear dividing line today) it is much better to explain what is available and characteristics than lay down absolute standards, as it can come back to haunt.

    More than anything, a Jackson pushed for variety.


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