I don’t really like beer reviews. I find most of them unhelpful and many of them rather pretentious. I recently read a review on Beer Advocate that suggested star fruit notes were present in the aroma of a beer. Really? Star fruit? Couldn’t think of anything more obscure? I seem to recall trying star fruit sometime when I was on vacation in Hawaii, but I can’t even remember what it looked like, much less tasted like (turns out it looks like a star). Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Beer Advocate very much for its wealth of information (BeerFly is great for traveling). I look up almost every beer I try on BA, but usually to get a general sense of the beer and learn more about the brewery. In fact, I am about to dive into a Tin Whistle Black Widow and happened to come across this excerpt in a recent review:
The initial sweetness soon becomes backed by a sourness that is not as easy to look past as it was on the nose. Dark pumpernickel-ish breadiness balances the sweetness (as does a touch of sour). The bitterness is low to nil. The chocolate is in the way of cocoa powder. The dark fruitiness is of plum and dates, in a mild sort of way. There’s some “wet cardboard” that is not too interfering. This has some potential if the maltiness were bigger, I suppose.
I’ll have to watch out for the pumpernickel and wet cardboard then. I mean, do people really find this kind of stuff in tasting beer? I’m sure there are a few odd ducks out there with super palates, but I really feel like there is a lot of BS being thrown around in the average BA beer review. It is for this reason that I got a real kick out of this Beer Review Generator I found while blog surfing. With a few clicks, you too can have your very own beer review. To be honest, I can’t really distinguish the generated reviews from the typical serious reviews I read online, which I find sad. Here is one of my generated reviews:
Pours an opalescent amber with a soft, pillowy head. Heavy lacing. Intense flowery aroma, with overtones of rosewater and orange. Lovely boozy flavor, punctuated with strawberry and chocolate. Creamy mouthfeel and long finish.
Not bad, eh? Now I must say that I do love tasting different beers and comparing perceived flavor notes. Discussing the characteristics and subtleties of a beer can be great fun, but you lose me when it gets to picking out specific undertones like rosewater, star fruit, pumpernickel, and wet cardboard with certainty. You are probably losing a lot of people really, and likely not helping put forward the craft beer movement. Beer isn’t wine, why try and elevate our prized brew to the same levels of snobbery and exclusivity?