The Brooklyn Brewery MASH, a 12-city tour with events highlighting what’s next in food, film, the arts, and beer, arrived in Boston earlier this month. Last night at Harpoon brewery’s taproom, veteran craft brewers (and new-blood Dann Paquette of Pretty Things) Steve Hindy of Brooklyn Brewery, Dan Kenary of Harpoon, Jim Koch of Sam Adams, and Will Meyers of the Cambridge Brewing Company had a frank discussion about their beginnings as brewers and the direction the industry is headed.
Moderator Daniel Bradford, President at All About Beer magazine, brought up the topic of modern beer journalism…basically stating that generally speaking, we know our stuff. And there are A LOT of us; everything from home-brewer bloggers to professional columnists and authors. With so many people throwing in their two cents, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes one giant pissing contest of whose beer critique has more merit over someone else’s. Bottom line is, we’re starting to take this shit way too seriously.
“Beer should always been an approachable, sociable drink. I don’t think it’s a good sign that there needs to be a sommelier for beer,” said Dan Kenary. “To me, beer is fun, it’s approachable. If we go down this snobby route, I have no interest in that. I think that’s a little bit of a risk that’s going on in the industry…I just see it a little too much.”
A little too much? When a local craft brewery comes out with the latest and greatest, lines practically circle the block like people swarmed the Apple store for the iPhone 6. There’s a growing sense of exclusivity, a “cool kids club”, and either you’re in the know, or you miss out.
“I think that with anything that becomes popular, there’s a bit of hipsterism, a bit of a cool factor,” said Will Meyers. CLEARLY.
“But there’s also a huge response from people who are drawn to something that’s authentic and has heart.”
Alright you got me, Meyers.
It’s great how much traction the craft beer industry has gotten over the years, and I hope it continues to grow in a collaborative, supportive way. That being said, the “I have more badges on Untappd, so I’m therefore more craft beer savvy than you” crap has got to stop. Proving how much more of a drunk you are than the guy next to you in the festival line makes you no cooler or “in the know.” Because at the end of the day, craft beer is just beer and we all like drinking (and writing about) it for mostly the same reasons.