Beer Lovers, a pub in Cartagena, Colombia – part of a worldwide phenomenon.
“Historians love chapter breaks. COVID-19 will come to be seen as a chapter break.”
– Robert Kaplan, American foreign-policy expert
“All history is contemporary history.”
– Benedetto Croce, Italian philosopher, historian
Context is everything, so I think there is value in reading these two blog posts in the same sitting. I’ll wait.
How will we understand the craft era? – from Jeff Alworth at Beervana.
An expedition into craft beer – from Sarah in Dublin, a Nashville native in Ireland.
The first is a sweeping overview, so let’s start with the second. Sarah signed up for the National Homebrew Club of Ireland’s BJCP Tasting Course and wrote about the first of six classes. The result is a delightful, breezy read from somebody who enjoys drinking beer.
Exhibit A: “I also found myself being influenced by what someone else was saying they could sense. Is this more caramel or raisin? I’m not sure. . . Oh, well, he said caramel, so obviously I can totally get that now. Of course, it all makes so much sense. What fool would say raisin? Amateurs.”
Exhibit B: “I’m going to go ahead and be honest with you. I am overwhelmed at how many categories and subcategories there are of beer. The mind boggles. How will I ever remember all of this? I am happy to learn about the history of beer styles and how to decipher tasting notes, but the thought of me actually being able to identify a beer style blindly is beyond my comprehension.”
Jeff’s post looks back to 1977. He doesn’t point to Michael Jackson, but that is the year Jackson’s “The World Beer Guide” was published. In it, Jackson lists 23 “classic beer-styles.” Five years later, in his first “Pocket Guide to Beer” he included only 20 “types of beers.”
And Jeff writes, “In 1977, beer played a stable role in the US, one most Americans would describe in similar terms. The beverage itself was easily definable. In the following decades, our perceptions changed, fueled by an evolution of the beverage itself and the people who made it. . . . Beer once meant something straw-colored and fizzy and now it means something slightly darker, less fizzy, and probably hoppy. Once it was common and unremarkable, and now it is accused of being twee and over-elaborate.”
If we are going to “use 2020-’21 as a convenient place to divide the ‘craft era’ with whatever we’re about to inherit” who is in charge of coming up with a title for the next chapter?