Beer and Pavement

Is it possible to fully appreciate something in 35 seconds?

Posted in Beer by Zac on April 12, 2012

Daniel McCord (AKA The Dude[1]), owner of It’s a Fucking Beer! , does reviews like the one you see above. Basically, he shotguns a beer, but not just any beer. No, Daniel shotguns a fine craft beer, usually consumed over a long session, poured in the proper glass.

Some would call this “blasphemy.” How is he able to fully appreciate the subtle nuances of a finely crafted beer[2]? Does he even take time to smell the beer? Does he study the appearance or note the lacing? Is he really just promoting binge drinking[3]?

Personally, I think it’s great[4]. I’ve read Daniel’s blog enough to know that he gets craft beer. He has a different way to express that appreciation, but he gets it. So, I’m not worried that he’s somehow missing out. Even if he were, I don’t care how he drinks his beer. It seems to work for him.

What he’s doing is really throwing a giant bird in the faces of the craft beer elite[5]. It’s the punkest thing I’ve seen in craft beer[6] and I hope his liver continues to hold up as he makes his way through the influx of craft cans to hit the market in recent years[7]. Daniel is bridging the gap between those who just want to blow some steam on the weekends (or possibly week nights) and those who appreciate craft beer[8].

Still, the question remains whether or not it’s possible to properly appreciate a beer when consumed in this fashion. First, who’s to say there is only way to drink a beer? It seems that Daniel’s method is the most efficient I’ve seen and it’s greener than dirtying a glass or even drinking from a bottle[9].

From Daniel’s reaction, you can tell that he fully appreciates the nuances of the beer[10]. It’s not the most eloquent review of a beer (even by IaFB! standards), but you know that it’s a hop bomb with a solid malt backbone. What else do you really need to before trying the beer yourself?

I liken these shotgun beer reviews to basing an opinion on a band or album within 30 seconds of a first listen. I usually know right away whether I’ll like a record or band. It’s not that I have a keen sense or magical powers. It’s just that I’ve heard enough music over the years to know whether or not I’ll like something. Is it foolproof? No. Sometimes, I find out that I enjoy the band immensely after further inspection or vice versa. Still, a momentary impression is an impression. There’s validity to an opinion formed in seconds. Should it be placed above more thoughtful responses? Probably not, but that doesn’t change whether or not shotgunning a beer is an adequate way to judge a beer[11].

Notes:
1 
2 I don’t know that any one person is uniquely qualified to do this. Yes, some have been trained to recognize certain characteristics of beer, but that doesn’t mean that they’re more qualified to appreciate a beer.
3 Maybe, but why binge on high-end beers? He at least comments on the flavor of the beer, evaluating it in a way no frat boy would ever dare.
4 Will I shotgun a beer? Unlikely, but I’m glad someone is doing it.
5 I don’t know who that is, but I’m sure I can find them in my Google Reader if I looked hard enough. I’m not anti-elite, just anti-elitist.
6 And that includes BrewDog. I like BrewDog for the most part, but they do some things that make me cringe. For one, they claim to be punk. Well, as Dave Berman once proclaimed, “Punk rock died when the first kid said, “Punk’s not dead! Punk’s not dead!”” You can’t call yourself punk. You really can’t call yourself punk when there are hundreds of other breweries doing the same thing, often better. If BrewDog were American, they wouldn’t even register. Now, I like their beers, but it’s not that unique in the context of American craft beer, certainly not punk.
7 I’m in favor of all the new craft cans out there. However, this is not an excuse not to pour your beer into the proper glass. I know that I support Daniel in his shotgun reviews, but I still prefer a beer in a glass.
8 In other words, he’s taking back craft and artisinal beer from the bourgeois and giving it back to the working class.
9 Again, I prefer drinking from a glass. As I often ask those who turn down my offer to pour their beer into a glass, you wouldn’t smell a rose through a straw, would you? For the purposes of these reviews, shotgunning is a fine method. However, I’ll drink my beer from a glass, probably a tulip.
10 At first, I thought the booze had gone straight to his head, but his somewhat detailed explanation demonstrated that he enjoyed the full blast of hops which certainly obliterated his taste buds for the evening.
11 I recognize that I’ve waffled a bit between my own beer snobbishness and Daniel’s middle finger to the bourgeois beer connoisseur, but what I’m getting at is that there’s room for both in craft beer. Comment freely below.

2 Responses

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  1. a.m.d. said, on April 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Mmm. This post makes me thirsty.
    I have recently discovered Buckler (http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/81/5636) and I am a fan. Pregnant beer lovers, unite! With a squeeze of lemon it’s quite tasty.

    • Zac said, on April 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      If/when we have another, I’ll have to remember that. R doesn’t really care for beer except when she’s preggers.


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