Saturday, February 19, 2022

Beer Oversell

There was a marvelous column by Dave Barry in the 90s that discussed the ridiculous phrases used to describe wines in reviews, which included the line "...classical Burgundian aromas of earth, bark and mushrooms; dried leaves, cherries; subtle hints of spice and French oak''; and, of course, the flavor of "blackberry, allspice, cloves, vanilla with nuances of plums and toast." Nuances of toast has been a feature of my vocabulary since.

This has moved over to beer, and as much as I would like to promote local brands, and did actually like the Northwoods Brown Owl ESB, this is just not a New Hampshire approach to...well, to anything, not just craft beer. From the side of the can:

This beer diverges from a traditional Extra Special Bitters with the use of an isolated Kveik yeast strain that provides a unique maple character and is single hopped with an Australian varietal. Reminiscent of a fine cup of dark cherry tea sweetened with caramel and served with a slice of toasted brown bread*. Named after a fly that was first tied in Errol, NH, Brown Owl is a unique experiment in merging the old with the new.

*Brown bread is common and beloved by people older than fifty up here, usually canned, with a strong molasses flavoring.  As "strong molasses flavoring" is the kiss of death for anyone younger than 50 now, the bread is disappearing, no longer even on diner menus as an accompaniment to beans.

10 comments:

james said...

"Made from ingredients"

Dad said...

Just talked about Dave Barry yesterday on the job site. Tubthumping (is that really the name of the song?) came on the radio and I said to my 45 y/o Mormon employer, one of the finest people you'd ever want to meet, that Dave Barry thought the lyrics were "I got no job, but I'm an opera fan." He had no idea who Dave Barry was, but thought the lyrics were hilarious.

Dad said...

And, of course, "Help me, Rhonda! There's owls pukin' in my head!"

bs king said...

Under 50 here, and I adore brown bread and all molasses flavored things. I'm not saying your assertion is incorrect, but I would like to emphatically say my age group appears to be getting this one wrong.

Donna B. said...

That's hilarious.

I'm not much of a beer drinker, though there are occasions that simply call for beer. That's when I tell son-in-law to choose something he thinks I might like. He's never disappointed me and I'm not foolish enough to ask what his criteria are. It could very well be "some cheap shit light for my mother-in-law".

Dad said...

https://xkcd.com/1534/

Unknown said...

This is an area that most certainly has a lot of poseurs. But with skilled tasters that aren't poseurs, it can be downright creepy to see colleagues with completely different preferences and backgrounds independently use exactly the same terms from the wine-wheel or beer-wheel to describe the taste of samples from the same bottle.

Ann C. Noble merits a Wikipedia page for her work on sensory evaluation of consumer preferences in wine. Morten Meilgaard somehow doesn't for his very similar work in beer. In a previous career I was part of a pan-European project team where joked about two project principals using science-funding from their respective governments to spend 10 days in Napa Valley tasting wine under the supervision of Ann Noble. But her work is scientifically solid (e.g. it has been replicated independently) and we theorized that learning all the things one must control to do scientifically valid and unbiased tasting studies would aid us in designing studies where we were trying to measure perception of quality for other senses, such as the haptic feel of closing a car door. (Hint, it depends more on sound than on skin sensation, which is why many expensive European cars now have bass-augmented door-closing sounds coming from the car's "entertainment" system when you close a door.)

Douglas2


Assistant Village Idiot said...

WRT wines, I recall reading that 90% of all people, including those who write wine reviews, could not distinguish different varieties in a blind tasting. Some, including those drawing a salary for it, could not distinguish red from white.

Yet 10% could, and as you note, agreed with each other with some consistency. My brother-in-law Phillipe was from outside Paris and came here to work as a chemical engineer. He was a great lover of wine and food, and key fact his father had been a perfumer for Chanel. So I trusted his wine opinions entirely.

Grim said...

When you make it back to Asheville, perhaps we could try it out. There are a wealth of breweries these days. I can arrange a ride home.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Oh, I've got it right in my fridge. It's made here, I am only bemoaning how far we have come down in the world.