14 Apr 2008

Beerevangelism

This entry in Boak & Bailey has generated an interesting debate and gave me some food for thought.
I agree with what Bailey says, for those who are interested in beer it is not enough to sit and enjoy it, but we also feel the need of share our passion with the rest of the world and trying to rescue lost souls.

In a comment Boak seems to give the term Beerevangelism some negative meaning. Which in a way is understandable.

Evangelism, evangelists, evangelise are words that have acquired an almost nefarious meaning. We associate them with some characters of dubious reputation who preach intolerance on cable channels while lining their pockets with the money of their audience, or with the forceful conversion of the native peoples of America. However, the word comes from the Greek and means good news, and evangelists were those who spread them.

Regardless of what each of us might think of the Christian gospels, I am proud of being a Beerevangelist. I don't see anything wrong in spreading the gospel of good beer.

But we should not become beerfundamentalists while doing that. Which is, I think, what Boak was actually meaning. A beerfundamentalist is that who believes that whatever wasn't brewed by naked monks chanting Gregorian psalms backwards under a full moon, or something akin, is not worth drinking and damn anyone who thinks the opposite.

Come on! We can, rightly so, bitch a lot about InBev, Heineken or SAB-Miller. But you can't deny that Hoegaarden, Paulaner Hefeweissen or Pilsner Urquell aren't pretty drinkable beers.

However, the big brewing groups don't need our money (they have enough), nor our support (they don't care). That is why we mostly support and promote those craft or industrial brewers who still make beer with passion and love. They are the ones who deserve are support and money. Without them, the big multinationals wouldn't have any motivation to keep on brewing the good beers they can still make, and we would all be doomed to a hell of mass produced mediocre brews.

In my own Beerevangelising campaign I have set myself a number of, very loose, rules.

- Is not an idiot that who likes, for example, Gambrinus 10°. First of all, because it's about personal tastes, I know perfectly reasonable people who like Celine Dion and would love to go to one of her concerts; I've got nothing against it, as long as they don't try to impose their tastes. Secondly, most cases are people who are victims of marketing, and haven't had the chance to taste anything better. I will always try to change, or open, their minds, to motivate them to try something new. These people are like most of us, we also started by drinking what it was available in our area, in my case, Quilmes. Each time I manage to have someone change their Staropramen for some real Czech beer, is a victory. There are of course people who refuse to see the light. They are lost souls and it is their problem. They are simply not worth my time because there are lots more whose beer souls are willing to be saved.

- The most important thing is what is in the glass. Ingredients (noble ones), styles, processes, type of fermentation might all be very interesting information, but they can also be overwhelming for those who are just starting to explore the world of good beer. In fact, I don't really thing they are necessary in order to be able to discern whether we are drinking a good beer or not.

- Purity laws or provenance don't guarantee quality. A beer won't be good just because is craft, Czech, Belgian or German, as it won't be bad just because it's industrial, Argentine, American or Brazilian. They are so because they were well or badly brewed, that's it.

- The best beer in the world does not exist. Some say that is the beer we drink with friends, others that it is the next beer I'm going to drink. Nice figures of speech, but in itself, there is no such thing as THE best beer in the world. And I don't care what experts or awards say. This doesn't mean, however, that I must stop looking for it.

I really like this idea of Beerevangelism. Here I promise to keep on spreading the gospel of good beer. I hope I'll be joined by more of you.

Choose your preferred Prague hotels and get free transport.

3 comments:

  1. I think Hoegaarden is *very* drinkable... (whispers) it might be in my top ten...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Okay, there may not be a 'best beer in the world' but there is a worst one! American Budweiser! That stuff is poison, and will continue to preach this whenever I can. LOL.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bailey,
    Your secret is safe with us. BTW, I also enjoy the occasional pint of Pilsner Urquell or Budvar.

    Beader,
    I know a few that will give "The King of Piss" a good run for its money, but I'm not willing to blind taste them....

    ReplyDelete