Slate: "Against Hoppy Beer"

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by stevegoz, May 16, 2013.

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  1. stevegoz

    stevegoz Disciple (308) May 5, 2008 Illinois

  2. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,024) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    I admit to all the truth in the article, I am a hop head to the max, and 3 of every 4 beers I brew is some sort of homage to the wondrous flavors of modern American hops. That said, when I start to brew professionally, our plan is to feature a traditionally brewed Altbier as our signature.

    BTW I don't agree that craft could, or should try to, get Light American Adjunct Lager fans into craft. IMHO these folks are not waiting for some much tastier and less hoppy-than-an-IPA beer to come around, they are waiting for the one beer they like to pound to come around on sale for cheap.
  3. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,917) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Agreed. Price is definitely a factor. Plus, the people I know will actually get the evening started with a SABL or Guinness, but then spend the rest of the night with their lite beer; they say the flavor starts to overpower them and they get too 'bloated' (whatever that means). And there are plenty of 'non-IPA' beers for them to drink if they were to totally cross over, but they (and many like them) are very happy doing what they do. Let's just concentrate on keeping the beer enthusiasts satisfied by making quality beers of all styles and sizes, and whatever will be will be.
  4. williamjbauer

    williamjbauer Initiate (0) Jan 17, 2012 Colorado

    Exploration of hops is certainly a phase in the beer scene and as brewmasters get bored they are exploring other components of the beer such as novel yeast, bacteria, barrel aging, unique ingredients, specialty malts, water quality. Perhaps we might see the "terroir" or malts coming into play more as it does in Europe.
  5. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,917) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    "And unfortunately hops are a quick way for beginning brewers to disguise flaws in their beer, by using the hops’ strong flavor to overcome any possible off tastes. Do you regret throwing those juniper twigs in the boil? Did you forget to sterilize a piece of equipment and are now fretting about bacteria? Quick! Hops to the rescue!"

    Dear freakin' lord! Why won't this strawman die already?!! Hops do not, and can not, hide flaws- the beauty of these beers is the purity of the hop character. Anything 'off' is immediately detectable.
    BrettHead, fmccormi, klaybie and 25 others like this.
  6. harperman69

    harperman69 Initiate (0) Feb 11, 2009 Tennessee

    It's like Jim Koch wrote the article.
  7. lhteacher

    lhteacher Initiate (81) Jan 20, 2013 Massachusetts

    "Russian River’s Pliny the Younger, one of the most sought-after beers in the world, has three times as many hops as the brewery’s standard IPA; the hops are added on eight separate occasions during the brewing process."

    Um...Yeah, hops are hurting craft popularity--clearly.
    nickfl, Roguer and CurtFromHershey like this.
  8. Brew33

    Brew33 Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2007 Ohio

    This is a lazy, poorly written article.

    While there may be some valid points here, they're covered in a bunch of fluff and garbage.
  9. Ericness

    Ericness Initiate (130) Nov 21, 2012 Massachusetts

    Sorry, but I can't help it...BITTER BEER FACE!!!
    jcb7472, saucy626 and Haydn-Juby like this.
  10. mark14580

    mark14580 Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2011 New York

    I really could give a fuck about "winning over some bud light fans." More beer for me.
  11. Stugotzo

    Stugotzo Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2012 Florida

    What the author is forgetting is that craft brewing is a business. If it wasn't a business, it would be home brewing. The craft brewers he lists are some of the most wildly successful breweries in the business. Why? Because they sell what their customers want. Simple, really.
    BrettHead, fmccormi, 5thOhio and 5 others like this.
  12. mark14580

    mark14580 Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2011 New York

    Also, I'll add that craft breweries brewed beer that they like, not bland stuff for the masses. WonderBread is the best selling bread in the US but I'll take the artisan baguette from my local bakery any day. Screw brewing beer for the masses.
  13. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Along with what was already covered, he confused electric football with foosball.

    A foosball table wouldnt randomly shake hops into the boil over 60 minutes.
    Roguer and Reneejane like this.
  14. meatballj626j

    meatballj626j Initiate (0) May 7, 2009 Georgia

    Beer is made by boiling grain to turn its starches into sugar, which is later converted to alcohol by yeast. While the grain is boiling, brewers add hops to tone down the mixture’s sweetness—

    Case in point that is a pretty lazy and severely incorrect description of how beer is made.
  15. coreyfmcdonald

    coreyfmcdonald Initiate (0) Nov 13, 2008 Georgia

    I'm not sure how you can say this. Adding pretty much any flavor to beer can hide any flaws that beer might have. You hop a beer to 100 IBUs and dry hop the crap out of it and you'll at least partially hide some of the flaws in the beer that would be more easily detectable at 5-10 IBUs.
  16. Brew33

    Brew33 Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2007 Ohio

    Yeah combining the boil and the mash was one of the things that jumped out at me....
  17. coreyfmcdonald

    coreyfmcdonald Initiate (0) Nov 13, 2008 Georgia

    Many non-hoppy beer styles have become exponentially more popular in the craft beer scene over the past few years in the US. The hop stigma is still there and is readily apparent in this thread, but people are starting to realize there are other great flavors in beer. Chocolate and roast forward Imperial Stouts, sour lambic styles (among others), and most recently refreshing and complex Saisons. These are just a few of many.

    The breweries that I have been most excited about seem to be working through their recipes to find which yeast strain, which hop character, and which malt bill all go well together to create a new and interesting beer. I feel like this is happening much more recently, where a few years ago it was more (although not completely) about adding more hops and more alcohol. I mean, how many Imperial Witbiers do brewers need to make to realize it's a terrible idea.

    I think all of this is an indication that craft beer in the US is maturing. The maturity level in Europe has led to so many great styles there, many of which American brewers seem to struggle with. Hopefully it does the same in the US.
  18. Siriusfisherman

    Siriusfisherman Champion (896) Aug 23, 2011 Vermont
    Society Trader

    I really hope that people don't take this article seriously, it is just a hipster who knows nothing about how beer is made, acting like she has the answer. Super-hoppy beers are not the only thing people find off-putting. At the end of the article the writer eludes to Sours, like a Bud Light fan would like that anymore than an IPA. Perhaps I will give my BMC friend a Rodenbach Grand Cru, and some Ten FIDY next time, rather than shocking him with to much hops. You cannot say something like, 'beer is made by boiling grain' and then expect someone to take your input on brewing technique seriously.
    BrettHead, 5thOhio and Beezee like this.
  19. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,917) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Diacetyl, medicinal flavors, dms, etc.- you'd be surprised at how apparent these flaws are when they are present, no matter the style or concentration. It may take the better part of a glass to become obvious, but it can't hide for long. Ultimately, though, the question goes to intent- and that's just how the author presented it- and it's an old canard that's been used for quite a while to denigrate American-style hoppy beers; that the hops are just being used to cover up supposed flaws. I'm quite tired of it, honestly.

    This is something I can totally get behind- the scene that I am experiencing, and the one the author presented are two different places going in two different directions.
  20. sarcastro

    sarcastro Aspirant (298) Sep 20, 2006 Michigan

    It is like someone took one of the many whiny, "too many IPAs on the shelves and in bars" BA posts and made it into an article.
  21. HawkIPA

    HawkIPA Initiate (0) May 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    IMO, price is an illusory complaint. Most connoisseurs of BMC light adjunct lagers that I know drink a few or several at a time--you kind of have to or else you're just drinking seltzer water for the hell of it. A six pack of Bud Light is about $7. Lagunitas SUCKS was available near me for $11. For four extra dollars, you get more flavorful, higher ABV beer that will take longer to go through.
  22. Icarus

    Icarus Initiate (0) Oct 6, 2012 Minnesota

    What a crappy article, get a clue.

    High IBU's does not necessarily make the beer bitter, in fact I enjoy many high IBU beers that are not bitter they have a great malt backbone to balance out the flavor.

    Edit: Let Bud Light fans keep drinking their piss water, that's more "real" beer for me.
    2beerdogs and AndyP612 like this.
  23. hopsbreath

    hopsbreath Zealot (505) Aug 28, 2009 Florida

    Her first mistake was going to Hopworks...
  24. jomobono

    jomobono Aspirant (245) Mar 12, 2012 Massachusetts

    Why Slate would let anyone with very little beer experience write about beer is beyond me. So many flaws in this article.
  25. chefkevlar

    chefkevlar Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2010 South Carolina

    "One guy I know from Tennessee didn't like this one specific beer he tried in Oregon so hops are ruining craft beer." That's a bit of a stretch to make that correlation.
  26. Haydn-Juby

    Haydn-Juby Initiate (0) Dec 30, 2012 Vermont

    The craft beer market is not really about accommodating BMC drinkers, IMO. Its about making well crafted beers that supply the drinker with a unique and flavorful experience that are enjoyable to a select few that are willing to appreciate something different.

    If BMC drinkers don't like hops fine that's why they drink BMC and not craft. Doesn't mean they can't try something new but there is no problem if someone prefers BMC over super hoppy beers.The goal of drinking craft is not to convert someone but to enjoy beer.
  27. leedorham

    leedorham Initiate (0) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    She'll come around. They all do.
  28. Providence

    Providence Crusader (739) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    Well said.

    And here I am wishing my homebrewed Kolsch tasted better, I should have dry hopped it with 8 oz.!
    2beerdogs, dennho and TongoRad like this.
  29. palmdalethriller

    palmdalethriller Initiate (0) Dec 26, 2007 California

    I totally get what you're saying, and completely agree - HOWEVER, I'd wager that not all beer drinkers share the sensitivity of your palate. You've been drinking good beer for a long time, others haven't and I'd wager there's a good portion of them that scream "MMMM! DELICIOUS!" at a bitter, diacetyl-ridden* beer at that new brewpub around the corner that you might politely send back and ask for something else.

    Brewers absolutely use hops to strengthen an otherwise mediocre beer (maybe not deliberately, but it happens). Perhaps for an experienced beer drinker such as yourself, that beer remains mediocre - but for the novice who is only looking for hops hops hops, that beer jumps up a couple notches.

    * I don't mind a little diacetyl in certain IPAs. An overwhelming amount of it is certainly disturbing (and I dig that some people just can't take the taste of it at all), but I think that little bit of butter or butterscotch can do some nice things with a crisp bitterness... sometimes.

    Edit: I shouldn't say I "completely" agree as I did earlier. I mostly agree, obviously, as I did bring up some points of contention.
    2beerdogs likes this.
  30. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Initiate (0) Feb 6, 2013 Minnesota

    It's Slate.
    5thOhio and harperman69 like this.
  31. palmdalethriller

    palmdalethriller Initiate (0) Dec 26, 2007 California

    I'm so glad I come on these forums to be reminded that Jim Koch and Samuel Adams don't know what they're talking about. I keep forgetting that every time I drink their beer or think back about how he has been in the beer business since before I was walking or when I remember that his family has been brewing beer for generation after generation after generation.
  32. dougfur

    dougfur Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 New York

    Whoop-dee-doo. Many, many people like the taste of hops. Over time, said people have experimented with adding more and more hops to see they can increase this enjoyment. They have been successful. There are some people who do not like these beers.

    I propose that these people immediately stop drinking hoppy beers.

    Problem solved.
  33. dougfur

    dougfur Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 New York

    Did Ben and Jerry's "ruin" ice cream?
  34. devlishdamsel

    devlishdamsel Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2009 Washington

    I find it ironic that they used a picture of hops being added to a vat of Cantillon.
  35. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    I like the fact the author/editor used a pix of Cantillon adding hops...not exactly a beginning brewer trying to cover up off-flavors.

    The corrected article was actually not bad...I have a much bigger problem with pseudo tasting experts raving about mediocre lagers and diacetyl ladened beers that can't make it to the American market in drinkable condition.
    F2brewers likes this.
  36. BeerBuckeye

    BeerBuckeye Initiate (0) Oct 2, 2009 Ohio

    My favorite quote:

  37. broodog

    broodog Initiate (124) Jul 18, 2009 Illinois

    The article starts off with these words: "As a beer writer". I'll be damned if I can find another article she's written about beer.

    Slate gets the majority of their web traffic by writing contrarian and inflammatory viewpoints. This article is a prime example. It got a lot of people talking, even though the content is questionable at best.
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  38. BeerBuckeye

    BeerBuckeye Initiate (0) Oct 2, 2009 Ohio

    Here's some of her "other stuff"
    broodog likes this.
  39. spicoli00

    spicoli00 Defender (627) Jul 6, 2005 Indiana

    Fucking amateurs
  40. keysburg

    keysburg Initiate (0) Mar 28, 2012 Massachusetts

    Some of this is gold.

    From an article on Stouts and Porters:
    "A few moments spent perusing beer forums—a pastime undertaken usually by only the most masochistic of beer enthusiasts—reveals many different definitions for both porter and stout."
    "And if a stout were your best friend’s older brother, then a porter would be the neighborhood drug dealer, always lurking around the corner but never fully materializing. Most people can name a stout or two that they enjoy, but coming up with a short list of porters is always more difficult."


    And hey, reading about beer at work might make me alcoholic, but I don't think it makes me masochistic. Building a little anticipation is hardly masochistic.
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