Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Prissy Little Bastards

I always buy my beer supplies from a little brew store here in the 'Couv.  It is a nice little place and I have been going to it for years now.  I really only have one trouble with the place, it is run by fundamentalists.

Now, when I say fundamentalist, I am thinking about a mindset, not any particular theory or belief system. But a stern and tightly held belief that they are right.  The guys in the beer store are beer fundamentalists.  Beer has to be brewed this way.  No variation in methodology, Alles In Ordenung.

I go in and ask for their opinion on things.  Truth be told, I get some pretty sheen ideas from them.   But when I tell them my lackadaisical approach to beer-making, the silence gets cold and the sneers come out to trot.  That is too simple, the process needs X and Y and then you have to do this and then you need to get this.  You can't do that.  

I listen to their grave concerns.  They are usually dead serious and concerned with my immortal beer-making soul.  I don't know how to tell them that the making beer is not a remarkably difficult process.  There are Babylonian Tablets circa 4300 BC that outline the process.  They look suitably aghast and pitying at the same time.

You see, these folks have a shrine set up in their basements.  It is a monument to stainless steel and welding.  It is concrete and solid and made of high-tech materials and it worships the god of consistency.  You must know the nature of the output.  You must control all aspects of the process.

Biologicals like beer don't really work this way.  Yes, you can do this in some cases, but the results you get are pretty weak.  Consider Budweiser.  I will give it that you can drink a Budweiser today and it will take just like a can that opened with a church key back in 1972.  

You see, that is the nature of fundamentalists.  They need to be certain of the results.  They need to be in control of the process.  But you really can't do it and taste the richness and variability of life.  You can't fail and learn, you become stagnant.

I have blue ribbons up on my wall.  I have poured cases of beer down the drain.  Both of these are important to being a true human.

1 comment:

Mahtomedi said...

I always wondered if it was more than just climate that made France and Italy better winemakers than the Germans. Perhaps they could accept and appreciate the variables with grapes and winemaking better than the Krauts.

With beer, it's maybe easier to fall into a 'fundamentalist' mindset. Which seems to fit the German stereotype. They are kick-ass brewers though. And no doubt have added volumes of knowledge to the craft of brewing beer because of their insistance on precise procedures.

I'd agree that the surprise blue-ribbon batches would be more rewarding though. Maybe we aren't supposed to work towards 'perfecting' everything. Just live and be and do.