Saturday, September 6, 2008

When Beer Information becomes Dis-Information!


Let me start by saying, "I don't proclaim to be all-knowledgeable about everything beer." That said, I do know quite a bit. If I don't know something, I'll either research it or not make a comment or state that I can't find the answer. I welcome corrections and commentary, positive or negative. My ego will not be tarnished if I'm proved wrong, if I'm corrected or if someone adds some useful info. If you want to say, "I'm full of shit," you better be able to back your statement.

After being blasted by a local hack blogger, that the extent of my beer appreciation is correcting others beer and brewing facts; I've decided to share some of my thoughts in regard to self proclaimed "Beer Experts" in the Media and blogosphere.

I believe that some of these guys and gals have their feet solidly planted in beer knowledge, but I find some to be nothing more writing hacks who want to pontificate their local beer/current events and throw out lackluster beer knowledge and other dis-information.

I feel the general public wants the facts, whether it be in great length or cut and dry. Non Bias reviews would be a nice start! Again, there are some beer writers who can be Non-Bias even if they have just received a Media Junket to Belgian or Germany for a tasting tour sponsored by a local brewery. This is an old beef that has been covered at nauseum....

It's about honesty! Where have I heard that?? Breweries are no different than the corporate world..... They want to BUY positive reviews! It comes down to values and self respect. (We know big corps don't always have THAT!) Writers may choose to sell their soul and dignity for some beer and some bucks, others have more integrity.

The same can be said for sharing beer and brewing information vs. dis-information!

I read quite a few Beer Blogs daily. Some are absolute crap, written by guys who probably switches back and forth between Coors light and dabble in some gateway Micros..... I find them comical, but fun to read! Others are at different levels of home brewing or beer appreciation. Most are lone gunman of blogs and kind of like to write about what their drinking and whatever brewing knowledge they have or stumble upon. These guys are not a problem to me, they are learning and having a good time. They mean no harm.


The problem starts when you get blog and media writers who are trying to be beer/brewing educators and beer reviewers. As I said, some are very knowledgeable, but some are just pulling their own chains. Others have potential and some are just idiots who pander in self righteous dis-information to inflate their fragile egos. ;-}

Between self indulgent and profitable beer reviews; Presumptuous beer style descriptions and fallacious beer brewing knowledge. One could gain more truthful information in reading a letter to the Penthouse Forum..... :-O Which may relate to the mental aptitude and rational behind of some of these writers satisfaction, who seem to being enjoying a more self pleasuring result of writing ambiguous crap that doesn't make sense, yet the public believes.... i.e., RHETORIC!

**Please note: When reading blogs, you may see some responses or Comments from Brewery owners and/or brewers. They may be adding some insightful information which is very valuable or they could be just persuading you to buy their products. Remember, it is a business. ;-} Not all Brewery owners know much about brewing and not are all brewers are fully educated in all things beer. This doesn't mean they're producing an inferior product! It's brewing, not brain surgery! I've argued with some brewers beer knowledge too.... They usually will realize fairly quickly those who know what they're talking about and those who are blowing smoke up their ass.... but, some don't! :-O

So..... What's my credentials to pontificate beer knowledge?


Lets' just say, I've been involved in the Brewing and Home brewing sectors for over 20 years. Involved with Organizing Beer festivals and judging in beer competitions, professional and Home brewing. I have many friends who are brewers and/or brewery owners. I understand the camaraderie, as well as, as the cut throat competition within the brewing world. I could go on, but considering what I've read in some blogs, I think my brewing knowledge and experiences easily wins out........ Unless multiple free "media only" beer tasting counts as actual judging and not just drinking. ;-}


These semi-pro and professional media and blog writers have an audience that awaits knowledge, yet some continue to feed their audience half truths and/or Bullshit beer and brewing antidotes. The fact that they "write" does mean they have great knowledge and can't learn SOMETHING from others or some research. Remember the old saying, "You can't believe everything you read?" Unfortunately, I find a lot of people in society don't remember that phrase. We live in a world that insists on instant gratification... It's easier to be held by the hand or believe here-say rather than use any gray matter! So, people will believe ANYTHING they read, as long as it's seems consistent..... or to their liking. ;-}

My recent blogger conflict is a window into the hack and schlocky dis-information that is being pandered. Filled with unresearched Beer style descriptions which are given out with such authority and audacity that the reader must believe it to be true. Erroneous descriptions of Flanders/Oud Bruins in comparison to the Flanders Red styles. Not only were the descriptions of each style incomplete, but the comparible conclusions were farcical and asinine.

A knowledgeable beer writer should know the difference between a Flanders Brown, Flanders Red and a Lambic. Other than the COLOR attributes... :-O

To help correct some of these inaccuracies; I added a link in the "Comment" sector to a more thorough beer style descriptor for which I expected no thanks or kudos. My goal is to give this self blatherskite writer a nudge to research before publicizing nonsensical beer info.

Instead, I receive
depreciatory remarks!

Maybe, I'm a little passe. I believe the general public deserves honest and integral information. If I don't understand a subject, I'll research it.... If I still don't understand, I may not comment. It would behoove me to write some nonsensical gibberish that's based on hear-say or sloppy research. One would be a fool to set oneself up to look incompetent and impudent.

How do we rectify? Well, this article might be a start. Honesty and integrity among beer writers and serious bloggers may help too... Readers! Speak your mind and your intolerance. Don't let some of these people bastardize the beer and brewing world.

Brewers and Brewery owners! Check the competency of your selected media personas before trusting them to give a honest review after sucking down all those free bee pints and give away bottles. I know when I brew, I appreciate an honest review from a capable evaluator rather than one who will give me an incompetent "positive stroking" and the ask for a refill. ;-}

For those blog and media writers who may fit this previous scenario.... Don't make a fool of yourself, as some of us are laughing. You could be disrespecting the brewers, breweries and the embodiment of beer! Try writing about what you do know and research what you don't. If you are not trained or experienced in reviewing or evaluating beer, please keep your descriptions simple and personal; i.e., "I like this or I don't." Beyond that, you may sound like you're describing a Chicken Mc Nugget, Hostess Fruit Pie, or a Burrito.

For those of you who could comment and help rectify some of this dis-information... Please do so! If you read some writer blathering on about how an Oktoberfest is a wonderful ALE or that they just tasted an authentic Hefe Weizen, but the words Cloves and Banana are not in the description...... Send that person an email, a letter or maybe a phone call and tell them they are wrong and sending out false information.

For those quality beer writers and bloggers out there.... Keep up the good work! You're an asset to the brewing world!

To the general public and those interested in learning more about beer and brewing...... I'm sorry you have to filter through some of this crap to get some decent information.





17 comments:

Ben, aka BadBen said...

Good post. But in what category would you place a Ned Flanders Brown?

Ben, aka BadBen said...

(Mashed with Simpson's Malt, of course).

dr wort said...

Ben,

Hyper-religious kook.... ;-}

Joking aside....

According to a December 03, 2007 post on John Foyston's "the Beer Here" blog.

Van Havig talked about his Ned Flanders beer. He talks about blending 5 different barrels of beer to create a balanced Ned Flanders.... I don't know how this fits into the name, Ned doesn't seem very balanced to me.... ;-}

He notes French and NW Belgian influences.

The barrels are described by the following:

!. Barrel was aged in a Bourbon Barrel cask. Named Duc de Bourbon.

2. A beer with Blackberries which he called Marie Antoinette.

3. A Brettanomyces fermented beer called Marquis de Sade.

4. A beer with Lactobacillus added was called Duc du Guise.


5. The last was a Dry Hopped beer called Henri of Navarre.

That's all I know. He gave no detailed recipes for any of the beers. No Grain bill, No hops used and no aging times.

It appears that Ned Flanders is more of a Frankenstein beer make up of different parts to create a singular balanced Belgian Style. I would not put it into any Belgian category with the exception of Experimental Belgian in style.

My question is.... What would a Homer Simpson beer taste like? I don't think Homer is that picky, so they could slap a DUFF label on any PBR and call it good... :-O

Anonymous said...

Is there really a "Ned" Flanders beer?

dr wort said...

Yes, there was..... ;-}

Beaverbeliever said...

I challenge both you and Jeff A. to a Beer Appreciation challenge. Each of you would receive 6 beers from a neutral judge from anywhere in the world, any style, and nothing more. Your goals: Describe what you are tasting, what type of hops, yeast strain, barrel aged, style descriptions, as much info as you have in your brains.. A neutral Poll and each of your answers (blind of course) can be placed on each of your blogs and John Foyston's neutral blog allowing beer blog fans to vote on who gives the most accurate descriptions. At the end, the beers will be revealed in both of your blogs, along with each of your descriptions and a ratebeer.com description.

Two Beer Bloggers enter, one beer blogger leaves as champion of Oregon blogging!!

I have to admit that I read your blog and I am at times a fan but I appreciate Jeff's blog for simplicity purposes. Your bitterness towards each other is uncalled for because your goals in bringing truth in beer knowledge can be achieved without egos, hurt feelings and a penchant for correcting errors in other blogs. I suggest posting supplemental blogs with the correct information rather than correcting in comments.

Instead of continuing to battle you could settle it like men with an old fashioned beer battle!!

Are you ready to get it on??

I posted the same comment on Jeff's blog. I hope to see an acceptance of this challenge in the form of a post.

Best Wishes,
A reader who has had enough of the mistakes and "TRUTH" and wants to read about beer without the commentary.

dr wort said...

BeaverBeliever...

BB: I challenge both you and Jeff A. to a Beer Appreciation challenge. Each of you would receive 6 beers from a neutral judge from anywhere in the world, any style, and nothing more.....

DW: I have No problem with this challenge! Is this a BLIND tasting of six beers? No labels, no style given for each beer?

Blind tasting is how some people study for the BJCP test. We used to do this in my old home brew club.

BB: Two Beer Bloggers enter, one beer blogger leaves as champion of Oregon blogging!!

DW: Beer evaluation is only one part of blogging about beer. There's also the brewing process, beer politics, beer styles and their profiles, ingredient identification and proper usage, etc.

Who can evaluate and dissect a beers aroma, flavor and finish is only one part of the big picture.

I'm still willing to do it for the fun of it!


BB: I have to admit that I read your blog and I am at times a fan but I appreciate Jeff's blog for simplicity purposes.

DW: It's a matter of what you're looking for.... ;-}

BB: Your bitterness towards each other is uncalled for because your goals in bringing truth in beer knowledge can be achieved without egos, hurt feelings and a penchant for correcting errors in other blogs. I suggest posting supplemental blogs with the correct information rather than correcting in comments.

DW: Here's a little secret... Dr Wort is a semi-alter ego. There's plenty of informative beer blogs out there, probably 100's. The concept of Dr Wort was to take a different angle to beer blogging. Some people may find me abrasive and confrontational, others like competitive and gritty debate. It's part of human nature to enjoy watching a good debate and the tension that goes along. It other words, I edge Jeff on to debate with me... Sometimes he wins and sometimes I do... ;-}

I have no bitterness and no hurt feelings toward Jeff. I've actually tried to meet with him so we can have a couple beers and have some laughs about the whole blog thing.

BB: Instead of continuing to battle you could settle it like men with an old fashioned beer battle!!

DW: An old fashion beer battle would be to sit down and see who can out drink each other.... ;-}

BB: Are you ready to get it on??

DW: What is this the World Wrestling Federation?

BB: I posted the same comment on Jeff's blog. I hope to see an acceptance of this challenge in the form of a post.

DW: Oh, yes, I read your entry on Jeff's sight. "Jeff, your knowledge and VERY easy win will take Dr Wort down a notch or two and shrink his ego."

Hmmmm... Not sounding very non Bias there Beaver Boy! Maybe, you'll send Jeff six beers with the labels on and pages of ratebeer and Beer Advocate descriptions.... ;-}

I don't trust your intentions with the previous statements. Did you think I was stupid enough not to read Jeff's invitation to this battle??

Wanna do this and make it fair? You send 2 blind beers to a location that's fair to both and I'll add four Blind Beers of my choice for Jeff and Jeff can send me four blind beers of his choice to the same location. We can hash out more details later.

So... I'm ready to rumble! I'm fairly sure that Jeff will not except the challenge.

BB: Best Wishes,
A reader who has had enough of the mistakes and "TRUTH" and wants to read about beer without the commentary.

DW: Does this mean you don't care if the commentary is valid? ;-}

Cheers!

Jeff Alworth said...

Doc Wort, this post seems to be directed squarely at me. Dunno if my assumption is right, since you failed to mention names (it's easier to have an open debate when we're all being open). You are entitled to your opinion and as you know, welcome to post your opinion at Beervana.

However, if this is directed at me, it is pretty badly misplaced: After being blasted by a local hack blogger... .

I've never blasted you. Your sharp tongue has created some blowback from other readers of my blog, but nowhere do I even criticize you. I know we've gotten into it in the past, but I have decided it's better for the vibe in the beer-o-sphere if I don't respond. (I may be a hack. That is a judgment for readers to render.)

beer-retard said...

Enjoyed this post even though my short attention span prevented me from reading the whole thing. I couldn't agree more about bloggers who do shoddy research and pass off bad information as fact. The people that do that also tend to use douchey, pretentious descriptors to describe beers.

I guess it makes sense that people who don't know what the hell they're talking about tend to hide behind big words and an elitist attitude. That's the trouble with the internet, any jackass can have a blog. Look no further than mine for proof.

Mark Mott said...

I too have to agree with Dr Wort on this one, shoddy research and brown nosing breweries is not my idea of being a "good" beer blogger, that is why I rarely read Crapvanna or whatever it is, but I will check it out and press him to do like a reader did and have an all out beer challange. Can't wait to see if he shows, and yes Jeff I mean you....

dr wort said...

Thanks Beer'Tard!

We've actually met before, when I lived in California and had a conversation.

You're right about "any jackass can have a blog." Mine is not that great either.... ;-}

At times, I find the Blog readers to be scarier than the Blog posters...

Cheers!

Jeff Alworth said...

Crapvanna. Thanks Mark.

Mark Mott said...

Thought you would find that amusing, like I said on your blog Jeff, Just stirring the pot for both of you. If nothing else, at least you got another reader out of all this. I plan to look at your blog daily now to see who has posted what!

Okay, beervana then, and Dr Wart, lol, just so you can see I will give you both greif!

dr wort said...

Lets'leave Bore-vanna and Dr. Dork alone.... ;-}

I find it funny enough that some readers think Dr Wort refers to a skin growth and don't even know that Wort (pronounced wert) is the German word for the unfermented beer mixture....

Not all of these readers are the sharpest tools in the shed.... If ya get my gist.... ;-}

You know, people who talk about beer styles as if they could be described as a paint color swatch... :-O

Aaron said...

Dear Doctor,

please kick some ass and take some names by fingering the "local hack blogger."

for all I know you are making a strawman argument.

Beaverbeliever said...

Dr Fart,
I intended for you to read the post on the 'vana blog. I was trying to stir the pot and get the blood boiling. If you have ever watched the WW(F)E, you would know that someone has to be the bad guy and someone has to be the good guy. (You like the second reference to the WWF? :P Kudos for your research skills in finding my "subtle" dig.

Re the Challenge: I have no dog in the fight, know neither you nor Jeff A, but if it makes you feel more comfortable, I do like the "you each pick four beers" idea and would suggest the beer challenge proceeds as such. I will gladly send two bottles to mix it up as well. I really just want entertainment in the challenge and to see who is the more skilled beer fan.

I do like you accepted the challenge with no hesitation. Ball is in Jeff A's court now!

CHEERS

dr wort said...

Oh boy! We've really have attracted the kooks!

OK...Here we go...

Aaron,

Noooo, it's not a strawman arguement and Noooo, I'm not going to name the blogger that bad mouthed me....

Maybe, you can ask around... Maybe, your can find some gossipy beer girls to figure it out...


Beaver-Boy,

OMFG! No! I've never watched the WWF or E! It's quite below my interest level.... I hear watching that brainless crap gets you one step closer to going to a tractor pull? ;-}

Yes, I'm a snob and not into gutteral blue collar entertainment.

In regard to your ever droning on about the frickin' beer challenge....

I said, I'm willing to do it....but, I also said it doesn't prove everything.

BTW, your boy, Jeff, isn't up to the challenge.... I think he knows me better than some.... ;-}

Maybe, you and I should get together and talk some beer talk. So far, all you've done is instigate a challenge, but haven't had anything to say about beer or brewing. Do you have any opinions or are ya waiting for Jeff to put them in his next blog..... :-O