Beer is Art

3_dancersLast week’s post looked at a recent comparison of IPAs and some of it’s “surprising” results. In it, I made the point that beer is subjective. When it comes down to it, beer is art. I heard Garrett Oliver speak at a conference and the point that stuck with me is the artful nature of beer. I can’t quote him, but the essence of the speech was brewers pour their heart, soul and talent into their beer, and it’s not cool to dump on someone’s passion.

Art can be interpreted differently by every person that experiences it. Your emotions, assumptions and memories affect how you see art, or, how you taste beer. Also, your health, physiology and habits, like smoking, have a lot to do with how you smell and taste things. I did a blind tasting with a cold and couldn’t smell or taste a thing. We had to identify styles and off-flavors, and I only got about 30% correct. My brain knew what to look for but my sensory receptors were all jacked up.

starry_nightYes, brewing is a science. But the finished product isn’t something you can easily quantify. ABV, SRM and IBUs don’t really tell you anything about how the beer is going to taste. There is no measure of deliciousness and there really is bad beer on the market. You’ve probably tasted beer that is technically flawed. With the explosion of small breweries, it’s more common than it should be.

But a beer could be perfect and you still won’t like it. That’s fine. Just don’t tell everyone it sucks because you hate it. RJ Rockers Son of a Peach is a good example. It sells well. We went through kegs quickly when I worked at Craft Brewed (the shop is featured in Beer Advocate #100). It’s a fine beer. Not a thing wrong with it, except it’s Peach. I’m not a Peach guy. I don’t care for the beer, and that’s OK. Everyone else loves it, so who am I to tell them they’re wrong?

Beer is art. And when it comes to art, to each his (or her) own.

(RJ Rocker, if you’re reading this, I hope you understand. I’m a big fan of your Witty Twister.)