5 Apr 2009

Someone who should know better

Diggin once more in the depths of my archives I found a PDF of an Argentine e-magazine that I had downloaded some months ago. Lounges is a fashion & lifestyle mag, not the kind I like actually, and I wouldn't have bothered to download it if it hand't been for the topic of their special dedicated to beer (pdf in Spanish).

As a whole it is something pretty well done, perhaps the best I've seen in the Spanish speaking media. The magazine has a total of 129 pages full of articles and interviews of all kinds, some of them very interesting, specially for those who would like to know a bit more about beer.

One of the interviews caught my attention, the one made to Fernanda Orellano, Academic Director of Escuela Argentina de Sommeliers. Unfortunately, Ms Orellano managed to greatly dissapoint me already in her second question. There she misses the point really, really bad. Quoting from the Spanish original:
As consumers, how can we know if a beer is good?.
Orellano: "What I think the consumer should demand is consistency. Beer isn't like wine where differences between vintages are allowed. Beer must offer a taste and always keep it. Then, it's a matter of taste"
If it is all fine and dandy when wines come out different with every batch (because that is what a vintage is), why isn't it so with beer? After all, the process to make it is more complex than wine's. Moreover, to make wine only one ingredient is used, while beer is the result of mixing at least four ingredients of very different natures (one of which, malt, is not even a raw material!).

Differences between beer batches are not only allowed by the knowleadgable, but in many cases they are welcome and even expected. The consistency that Orellano mentions should refer only to quality. That is the thing that brewmasters all over the world work hard to acheive, a constant quality. The identity of the beer is also important, differences between batches are OK, as long as the beer keeps its personality, but that is also expected in wines.

The fact that most consumers expect their beer to be always the same is something that came out of the septic tank that are the minds of most macros. But even in macro beers a trained palate will be able to distinguish differences between batches.

The problem here is that Fermanda Orellano isn't an average consumer, she's someone who should know a lot better since she's in charge of training future sommeliers, and more so when one of the school's projects is to start giving courses in beer tasting. If she makes such a basic mistake as this, what others will those courses include?

Things like this make me sometimes ask if the craf beer revolution in Argentina and other countries isn't only a trend that many want to get on in order to make a quick buck before it passes. It is indeed something that many people do, including, apparently, Ms Orellano.

But it is not the magazine who's to blame. They are only putting "in paper" what they got from an interview that is part of a very possitive effort when it comes to spreading a beer culture.

Na Zdraví!

Choose your preferred Prague hotels and get free transport.

2 comments:

  1. Another wine snob with her nose in the air and her head in the sand about bber perhaps?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Partly is that, I guess, but I think it's more about someone trying to catch on a growing trend without bothering to learn the least about it with the attutitude that, since nobody knows anything about beer, all you need is to drop a few technical words and exotic names and nobody will notice.

    ReplyDelete