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 replies on “Yes, But Which Words Do You Like?”
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 🙂
What annoys me is when people like the aforementioned Brewdog automatically associate ‘craft beer’ with keg beer. Craft can be cask too, yo!
How about Indie Beers? @como_zac wrote an interesting piece on his blog – Building International Coalitions Through Beer and Pavement, called “By Definition”. He draws a comparison between ‘craft’ breweries and Indie record labels (with reference to Simon Johnson’s Craft Beer Manifesto). http://beerandpavement.com/2012/02/08/by-definition/
Just checked the comments on that post – it seems you are already aware of it 🙂
The words don’t bother me as I interpret them my way anyway. I do not like smiley faces though they should be outlawed.
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
sorry pubman79 🙁
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.
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…
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.
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.
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?
Volume challenged breweries.