On one hand, we have an article about how silly state alcohol laws are and on the other hand, we have an article about how big beer companies use distributors to screw craft beer. Which should I write about?
Honestly, today I don’t want to write about either. I get kind of tired talking about all the things that beset craft beer. On one side, you have big beer companies and the distributors they use as their henchmen. On the other side, you have state laws that make no sense in one state and make even less sense when you compare them to other states. It can be depressing.
Today, I would rather just talk about the thing we love. The thing that brings us together. The beer.
I love discovering new things. I love stumbling across a new band, a new television show, a new movie, a new book, or a new beer that blows my mind. That is why I seek out new experiences in each of those genres. I think anyone who aspires to be a critic agrees. It may seem like critics look for excuses to eviscerate someone or something. However, I think most critics are like most people, they are looking to fall in love again. That is what happens when you find something that surprises and impresses you. It shows you all the possibilities again.
I want to return to that moment I first tasted Pete’s Wicked Ale after years of MGD, Milwaukee’s Best, and Olympia. I want to return to that moment I saw Living Colour debut on Arsenio Hall. Each of those times, I understood something different was possible. I understood things didn’t have to be as they are. The possibilities of the world opened to me.
I find that feeling very rare these days. It isn’t because I’m not trying new beer or discovering good beers and breweries. I find new beers and breweries that impress me often. However, I don’t find any beers that shake the foundations of my experience like Living Colour or Pete’s Wicked did.
That is why critics are so hard on the bad things they encounter. Actually, critics may be harder on the intentionally mediocre things that they encounter. At least some horrible and unsuccessful things are great swings by the talented or the untalented and overly confident that result in great misses. Too often, you get things that are aggressively mediocre. These things are so busy trying not to offend that they are barely worth commenting on.
That is the path to consistent return on investment. The thing is, though, the path to true success risks offending people. Craft beer didn’t get to this point by playing the same game as the big beer companies. However, that success has bred an idea that if you follow a preset path you too can become Wicked Weed. It wouldn’t be so bad if that kind of thinking didn’t result in so much bad and assertively unremarkable beer.