Yes, But Which Words Do You Like?

Word cloud from our blog

We’re get­ting kind of irri­tat­ed at peo­ple telling us which beer-relat­ed words and phras­es they hate, or that they con­sid­er ‘mean­ing­less’. Craft beer, real ale, pas­sion, con­ver­sion, rev­o­lu­tion, craft keg, hop­py, malty… yes, all of those can be annoy­ing, but, hon­est­ly, if we only use words that don’t irri­tate any­one, what are we left with? “Point­ing and grunt­ing”, as Mar­tyn ‘Zythophile’ Cor­nell once put it.

We’d like to see more peo­ple sug­gest­ing new descrip­tors, even if they get shot down. Even bet­ter, we’d like peo­ple just to use lan­guage they do like, with­out apol­o­gy.

For exam­ple, we liked Zak Avery’s phrase ‘vol­ume-pro­duced beers’ – less judge­men­tal than ‘macro’ or ‘indus­tri­al’, its mean­ing per­fect­ly clear, even though this was the first time we’d come across it.

Max ‘Pivni Filosof’ Bahn­son isn’t a fan of the phrase ‘craft beer’ but occa­sion­al­ly uses the quite snap­py phrase ‘alter­na­tive beers’ instead. We like it – it con­veys some­thing to us, but we’d be hard pressed to write a dic­tio­nary def­i­n­i­tion.

We were also tick­led by Mike McGuigan’s descrip­tor for on-brand, repet­i­tive mes­sag­ing from The Scot­tish Brew­ery, which is here­after to be known as Brew­dog­ma.

To have a mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tion, we need more words to play with, not few­er.

13 thoughts on “Yes, But Which Words Do You Like?”

  1. Good write, very good write.

    I think the prob­lem with cer­tain cer­tain beer relat­ed words or phras­es is that they have been worn thin by some peo­ple in the brew­ing indus­try and their fan­boys (or, since we are in these PC times, should I say fany­ouths?), Brew­dog are good exam­ple of that. These peo­ple have turned those phras­es in some­thing as mean­ing­ful as the slo­gans or the biki­ni clad bim­bos used by the multi­na­tion­al brew­ers.

    (And since we are on top­ic, oth­er words that have tired me already are “move­ment” when relat­ed to “craft beer” and “nat­ur­al beer”, so use them at your own risk).

    PS: Glad you like the “alter­na­tive beer” thing 🙂

  2. What annoys me is when peo­ple like the afore­men­tioned Brew­dog auto­mat­i­cal­ly asso­ciate ‘craft beer’ with keg beer. Craft can be cask too, yo!

  3. The words don’t both­er me as I inter­pret them my way any­way. I do not like smi­ley faces though they should be out­lawed.

  4. Good points well made, I too find it tire­some hav­ing to try using words so as not to offend the blog over­lords etc, after all every­one has dif­fer­ent lev­els of beer/tasting/brewing knowl­edge & depth of vocab­u­lary. Should that stop them writ­ing about their beer love, I think not good sirs…

    Cheers my fel­low craft move­ment blogerati ale rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies

    POWER TO THE PEOPLE! *Wolfie “The Keg” Smith

  5. PF – don’t think we’ve used ‘move­ment’, but we reserve the right to do so!

    Nate – cask con­di­tion­ing is a very ‘craft’ thing to do – a lot of has­sle, inef­fi­cient and very tra­di­tion­al, but done out of love, in most cas­es.

    Broad­ford­brew­er – ah-hah, yes, we do keep an eye on Zac’s stuff. The way peo­ple talk about music (pop/punk/indie) reminds us a lot of the beer con­ver­sa­tion. Maybe mainstream/industrial/macro beers could be called pop beers? There’s good pop, and plen­ty of bad indie. (Prob­lem being, of course, that ‘pop’ means some­thing else in the con­text of bev­er­ages…)

    Phil – yes, it’s reall weary­ing try­ing to have a con­ver­sa­tion and hav­ing the lan­guage you’re using become the issue rather than the point you’re mak­ing.

    1. Can we just define craft beer as beer that is made with pure love?

      I for­get who I was read­ing the oth­er day but some­one argued that although Thorn­bridge would quite hap­pi­ly class them­selves as a craft brew­ery, sure­ly they’re not as their new brew­ery is all dig­i­talised…

      1. Jesus no. I’m not even try­ing to make a liv­ing out of the beer I make and it’s at least half made from bloody mind­ed­ness as love. If you have a prof­it motive – like to eat food, pay rent etc – you can’t say that a pure love of beer is why you’re doing it.

  6. I have been kick­ing around “pop­u­lar beer” in my head for a few weeks as most that are pop­u­lar are in fact quite pop­u­lar. Not sure what the oppo­site is but it might fit with alter­na­tive beers.

  7. Write what you want. for some­one to go online and moan about terms used in beer lan­guage is a bit beyond the pale (no pun intend­ed) if you ask me. Plen­ty of peo­ple have moaned about gener­ics – ‘hop­py’ , ‘roasty’, but if your audi­ence is peo­ple that don’t know about beer and want to explore, there’s noth­ing wrong with that. once you start cen­sor­ing lan­guage like that, you’re one step away from Jil­ly Goold­en, and that’s not where us earthy beer drinkers want to be, right?

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