I've come across a quite fun article in Spanish penned by one Patricio Tapia, a wine writer from Chile. Like, unfortunately, many of his colleagues, Tapia seems to know as much about the world beer as I do about the early childhood of Immanuel Kant, and to care even less. To be fair, though, it is also possible that the ignorance he flaunts in the article is nothing but a pose, a satire to the stereotype to better drive his message. Either way, it's evident that this bloke is not familiar wit some of the people I know, nor he reads much of what I read, otherwise, he wouldn't be saying thinks like ”To write the most perfect and enthusiastic 'tasting notes' of a beer, for words are enough 'It is really cold!'. However, if we ignore the temperature bit, four or five words could be more than enough for a good tasting note of anything, so I believe this paragraph would be a better example of what I want to say.
”Does anyone care about how to properly serve beer? Has anyone, ever, complained because a friend opened a bottle the wrong way? Has anyone complained because the glasses weren't the right ones? Has anyone, ever, stood up to complain because the intense flavour of a roast couldn't be paired with the lightness of the beer at hand?But back to what Tapia actually wants to tell us: that he would like if wine was consumed as naturally as beer is, without all that formality. This reminded me of something I read a few years ago in an interview with someone somehow related with a Spanish DOC, Rioja, if I remember correctly, who, lamenting shrinking sales, wanted, as an alternative to revert the trend, to find a way to make wine a more “casual” beverage, like beer.
That's the way things are now. Some people are starting to wonder whether wine hasn't become too sophisticated for its own good (something specialised writers have greatly contributed to), and others insist to wrap beer in a the mantle of sophistication that's been plagarised from wine. It could be said that this is nothing but a reaction to the dumbing down of beer, though I see it more like a marketing gimmick to justify often inflated prices and questionable added values that exploits the insecurities of many consumers, who don't want to be seen as someone who enjoys drinking “just beer”. How much further can this go?
I really that with beer will have the same problem as wine. On the one hand, because, and regardless of the discourse of certain business interests, there are many among us who know very well that expensive in no guarantee for better, and on the other, because beer as a lifestyle accessory is a fad that sooner or later will go away. When that happens, it will be the companies that gambled on that model the ones with a problem in their hands, the rest of us will keep on drinking what we want, good beer at fair price will never be in short supply.