On the Beer Barrel!

I don’t usually use this blog to promote my personal opinion too much. I take a more positive stance in that I applaud every effort to make the Dutch brewing world more interesting. One article however has made me climb on my soapbox (or beer barrel) for a few hundred words.

My beef is with an article that was published on the otherwise excellent blog dossierhop.nl. And I mean that, they often share my stories and they do good work. Opinioned, yes, but that’s what a blog can be for. And a good opinion should challenge your belief in how you think the world is like.

One of their contributors however seems to live in a retirement home for the elderly autistics, scared of everything new. The beer world is a fluid world and we should be grateful that the beer world in Holland is developing as it is. His article reads like someone who was once at the forefront, but now hates that he isn’t the only one anymore.

It is about the article ‘Top 5 – tenenkrommende bierontwikkelingen’. In English: a Top 5 of excruciating developments in beer. Here is my retort. And it’s a blog people, not the editorial of the New York Times so take it lightly.

‘And another pilsner’

This is about the release of a new Grolsch beer called Kornuit. OK, granted this beer tastes like nothing and the matching commercial on TV is even worse. A tough bearded guy is one of the main brewers apparently. My gut tells me he goes to bed after drinking an Emelisse White Label Coal Ila and not his own beer. And I have seen brewers dear readers, though highly skilled in the craft of brewing, Brad Pitts they are not. Anyway, back to mister grumpy old man. Is it really that bad that bigger breweries try new things? Let them, spend your 90 cents or whatever it is on a bottle and then never buy it again. We both know we will not find this beer in ten years. But the bigger brewers might see the danger lurking behind them in all the new brewers coming out with way more interesting stuff. Do they finally realize they might have reached the limit? Again, the beer tastes like water that has gone bad, but remember the days we only had 6 decent pilsners? Now we can choose and as a consumer I applaud that.

uiltje2‘The Tap-Takeover’

Yes, Mr. Anal has a problem with this too. I say, please rise and applaud the bar owners brave to open a few taps for a (starting) brewer. This is a great way for a brewer to share his beer with people and come in contact with them; most of all with people who might otherwise not come into contact with specialty beer. We shouldn’t forget that most people still don’t know where to find that really special beer. But here is what I think is the crux in his lament: he is probably afraid that one thing of that he was once one of the few to might actually reach the masses.

And who cares if the bar owner makes some money? Seems a win-win situation to me. Well, if it’s good that is what is bound to happen. Me, I hope Menno Olivier and Kees Bubbermans become millionaires and that their beer will be served right alongside Heineken and Carlsberg. I know your ‘special thing’ will become a little more known, but shouldn’t that be a feather in your ass? That means you were one of the first! You saw the Beatles in Hamburg! You were one of the 97 people in Vera Groningen watching Nirvana! (to the author: the Beatles and Nirvana were popular music combos from after the war).

‘The Bockbeerfestival’

Yes, there might be too many. But that’s economics. If there is a demand there will be supply. I know people who don’t go to other festivals might only go to these, but it’s a start. I’d rather have an IRS or IPA festival but are these festivals really that bad? Again, that is what happens when things are going good! I know it was probably really special that you were one of the first and I wish I could have been there. But the world changes. Don’t you get more people at your Wednesday afternoon bingo games when the prices were upped from a deck of cards to tape decks? (I think a portable CD player might be too complicated with more than 6 buttons).

13-11-a‘Collaboration Brews’

Yes, what an awful thing if two good brewers try something great… Me, I am glad that our brewers consider it a craft, something that through interaction with other people in the craft might lead to even better things. This positive collaboration leads to more knowledge and therefore better and more interesting beers. Fill in any collaboration, even one time, in history that worked and there are many. Even better that these collaborations are cross-cultural. It shows once more that beer is a product that is enjoyed in a lot of places across this wonderful globe. But I am guessing our geriatric blogger here didn’t play well with others during those harsh post-war rebuilding years.

‘Single Hop Series’

If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. For me and other beer lovers it’s a perfect way to learn about how different hops work. But maybe someone should wake him from his mid-morning nap and tell him a few more hops have been developed in the last decades. It is series like this that make us more intelligent consumers, and isn’t that better than just drinking Amstel every night? Again, new isn’t always bad.

Social media

And one more things, the author often remarks on the use of social media to showcase the things we mentioned here. Unfortunately the old media is still highjacked by the big corporations with money to spend. A commercial will cost time and local newspapers don’t reach enough people anymore. With social media for almost no cost brewers can get their beers known among the lovers. Again this might chip away somewhat from his ‘special’ status but we did reach the 21st century some time ago. I hope he got the irony of posting his old man ramblings on a blog…

It is great to see that some of the newer brewers are relatively young and they will use the tools they grew up with. This generation just wants to learn and get better at their craft and everything here will help them on their quest. So please brewers of Holland, embrace the 21st century and keep evolving. Don’t listen to the ‘things used to be so much better’ crowd or those who actually think less of you if you don’t have your own brewing installation. Keep making those beautiful beers and keep experimenting, you are in the middle of a revolution in craft beer that is like no other in our history! I for one am happy to be a small part of it.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by John Clarke on 14/11/2013 at 12:00 am

    What a strange article. All of the things he hates are just the things that are making the Dutch beer scene so good right now. I see some of the comments are quite rude – and I can see why.


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