Yeah, I have not posted in awhile. But here I am! Â There are just a few things on my mind and well… I have a soapbox, er, blog. Â So, getting down to it…
The first, really the big point is related to the title. Â Before Community Beer Works, there was Beer-O-Vision, the blog that Dan and I wrote at for a couple of years. Â I would not claim it was the world’s greatest beer blog, or even A Good Beer Blog, but I am proud of it nonetheless and I’d stand by every word we wrote. Â The thing is, when we wrote all that stuff–and made those videos–we were just a couple of guys who liked beer and wanted to talk about it. Â Once you get into the industry, things change a bit. Â For one thing, you become somewhat more attuned to the to’s and fro’s of the industry… I mean, we get The New Brewer now, so we are privy to a Â lot of Â “insider” (like anyone can’t get it; we know) information. Â But more than that, you start to realize you need to be a bit more circumspect. Â By which I mean, you can’t go around shitting where you eat.
So, it seems like a bit of a risk to jump into any of the controversies that roil the beer blogosphere. Â Sure, we’ve made some noise here and there about various news items- AB-InBev’s acquistion of Goose Island for example, or Dan’s lovely peice of satire on the trademarking of area codes (picked up by another blog, incidently). Â But we aren’t editorializing so much in those posts, we’re mainly poiting out some news and I suppose, gently mocking the Big Boys. Â Low hanging fruit, as they say. Â Still, thisparticular one has been on my mind a bit since it went down earlier last week, and I am going Â to add my two cents.
linky (I’m just not sophisticated enough to embed the video, but if you don’t watch it, the rest of what I write might still make sense… eh, probably better watch it. Or read this, anyway.)
I’ll let the clip set the stage and save myself some typing. Â I’ve had a number of Clown Shoes beers, and they are, to my tastes, fine. Â Not mind-blowing, but pretty tasty. Â The labels–or let’s be precise, two of them, anyway–are to my mind not very classy, but I wouldn’t sayoutright sexist or offensive. Â Also, not light-hearted or funny, really. Â But you know, that’s a matter of opinion. Â I think, though, the question is more one of where to put the balance of your interest: in the beers themselves, or in theÂ entiretyÂ of the beer, from price to label to the ethos of the company. Â Because really, at the end of the day, you don’t just buy a beer. Â You buy into a brand. Â Here’s two examples, pro and con.
Pro: I love Pretty Things. Â I just like everything about them, from their artwork, to the company’s story, to the individuals Dann and Martha, and yes, the beers themselves. Â Is every beer they make the best beer ever? Â Meh, it’s unknowable and Â irrelevant. Â When I drink them, they are. Â Because it is about more than just the liquid passing over my tongue and off-gassing into my nose. Â Sure that matters, but it’s not everything, because ultimately the experience happens in my brain, not my mouth. Â Once the liquid sets off certain patterns of electrical activity in my tongue and in my nose, all sorts of other things interact with that: memory, expectations, time of day, blood-sugar levels, the context in which I am drinking, &c. Â We beer enthusiasts are foolish in some sense to rate beer, to attempt to quantify the subjective. Â Four people drink the same beer, and four very distinct and ineffable conscious experiences ensue. Â That’s the nature of human experience, and so if one person tells me the beer is crap, I’m in some sense best off leaving it at that; for all I know, that beer makes her remember a bad time, a sad time, a lonely time, or heck: it just makes her gag a bit. Â How am I supposed to tell her she’s wrong?
Con: I don’t drink Blue Moon. Â It’s not because it’s garbage; quite the contrary: it’s not a bad example of a Belgian Wit, on the ocassion I have had some. Â Seems to hit the BJCP style guidelines at a 38+ anyway, if I’m going to get all judge-y on it. Â But even if it were the ne plus ultra of the style, better than Hoegaarden, better than Ommegang’s… I’m still not going to enjoy the beer exactly, because I know to whom my hard-earned money is going when I buy that beer–MolsonCoors–and I am not interested in supporting a company that 1) hardly needs my money anyway, thanks, and 2) will turn around and put my dollars towards causes I do not support, politically. Â I simply do not like that company, and so their beers willÂ necessarilyÂ taste a bit nasty to me, just as much as Pretty Things beers taste like teh awesome.
So, back to Clown Shoes andÂ tyingÂ this into CBW perhaps… I’m not going to boycott them, or rant about them from my bully pulpit, but I’m not probably going to buy more of their stuff than I have already, because I agree with Candice AlstrÃ¶mÂ down at Beer Advocate that they’re sort of tacky. Â I mean whatever, I’ve bought one of each of their beers so far and I’ll probably check out new ones as they become available to me; I’m curious and like I said above, the beers seem to taste alright to me. Â But I do think Craft Beer doesn’t really need to go there to sell beers to me anyway. Â To you? Â Don’t know. Â Have at ’em, really. Â Personally, I recommend either the Clementine (speaking of Belgian wits) or Hoppy Feet (a bit on the roasty side for the style, but pleasant). Â But CBW’s ethos perculdes this kind of marketing effort. Â Sure, we’re silly and ocassionally obtuse (does anyone understand “In C” but us? Even us?). Â But we’re not going to stray anywhere near the arena Clown Shoes is playing in; it’s just not our style. Â We hope that doesn’t, em… offend you.
Having blown 1,000 words on that, I only wanted to make my other points but quickly. Â So first–second?–I want to make a tip of the hat to our own Mr. Dan Conley, who not only celebrated his 6th wedding anniversary this weekend but also wrote a damn fine peice of satire last week that drew some attention in the beer blogosphere: nicely done, Dan. Â Sadly, we don’t in fact own 716, so you can continue to dial your relatives back here from Charlotte all you want, but we do hope that when you come back for a beef on weck, you stop by the brewery and buy yourself some beer or at least a t-shirt. Â Well, right now, definitely a t-shirt, since we don’t exactly make beer yet.
Secondly, did you hear we got out TTB approval? Â We’ll probably crow about it some more, because we’re really pretty over the moon about it, and we haven’t even all been in the same room yet to celebrate this milestone, but folks: There. Will. Be. Beer! Â Sure, we have more milestones ahead of us–the “brewery” is yet more of a warehouse with condensation on the floorÂ ofttimes. But nonetheless, getting through the Federal permitting process pretty much guarantees us to be in the “not if but when” stage now. Â W00t!
Ok, that’s all for now; Dan will be back on Thirsty Thursday with more coolness; see you then!
Thanks! I appreciate the number on the kart, there. 23 at Adventure Speedway was a doubles car, so I’ll have to wait until Neil is at least 3 years old and 36 inches tall before I get to rock it, sadly.
I don’t particularly find Clown Shoes to be offensive, or funny for that matter, but I wonder what their label would look like for Off-gassing Ale. Maybe they should go in a slightly different direction and go for a Garbage Pal Kids vibe.