Helping Us in the End
Truly, there is something extra they get out of it. They not only revere beer: they respect the various processes by which they accrue and review beers. RateBeerian Papsø described his own reviews as clinical and surgical; BeerAdvocate Riley is the loquacious one. “I’ve written a review, I proofread it multiple times to check for spelling errors and to improve the flow of the words. I proofread at least once before I submit it and then several more times once it’s been entered.
When I first started, my reviews were short because I knew next to nothing about beer. Then, once I became better informed, they tended to get long and overly wordy. I like to think the best reviews have a poetic aspect to them. I’ve always loved poetry because I’ve always had a love for words.”
Here’s an excerpt from his nearly-500 word write-up of Surley’s 16 Grit Ale, his fave DIPA so far of ’09.
Terrifically turbid caramel-covered orange with juicy tangerine and mango highlights. The golden sandstone colored head oozes quality…. The foam is firmly creamy and sticky, leading to both persistence and an extensive array of fine lace… Each sniff results in billowing clouds of orange, pink grapefruit and passionfruit.
So while it is poetry for some, it is almost rigorous to others.
“What can I say? These folks are athletes,” said Buchanan. “My expectations have been wildly exceeded. When we started RateBeer, we figured someone who drank 100 beers and logged the experience for each one was going to be an anomaly.”
One of the hundreds of anomalies, Papsøadded, “It can be tedious and boring to taste 200 German lagers in a weekend. But this is a sport and beer hunting is pretty addictive.”
It’s what separates the men from the boys. Most of us consider craft beer devotion one of our many hobbies or interests. The Alströms state that BeerAdvocate.com serves about 10 million page views per month and welcomes upwards of 400 new members daily. But that’s nothing compared to Forsgren and his ski pals whose database is “transferred to a UNIX-system where a shellscript auto-generates all the files before they’re transferred to our web space located at Stockholm University.” Perhaps he overshot beer geek and landed at beer nerd.
There are countless beer blogs beyond these sites. Take Hedonist Beer Jive (hedonistbeerjive.blogspot.com) by San Franciscan Jay Hinman. He began blogging in 2003, but had self-published a music fanzine starting in 1990, the same time he discovered Redhook. But it’s not his only blog. He also has Detailed Twang as his music geek outlet and First Principles as his, uh, libertarian political geek avenue. Is he a card-carrying beer geek? Sure. But it’s proudly not his all-consuming passion. He confessed, “Beer geeks are more fun than music geeks. The alcohol helps.”