From beer author Andy Crouch comes this glorious rant on so-called collaboration beers —produced by two breweries in tandem— in which he drills down to what constitutes the quintessence of good (and poor) brew-craft.
Beyond the eventual overkill of the subject —it seems as if a handful of breweries have collaborated with breweries from nearly every country—I can’t quite get past the confusing and disjointed resulting beers. When it comes to beer, I prefer focus, precision, and clarity of concept. I love it when a brewer sets out a defined, clear path and then executes with both style and grace, leaving the drinker with a crystalline understanding of the craftsman’s vision and an easy path to appreciating whether they achieved it.
If genius is said to be the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple, then muddling the elemental with excess adornments convolutes the beauty of the thing you first sought to appreciate. When it comes to beer, I’m more impressed with the brewer who can tease great flavor from fewer ingredients than one who requires a half-dozen hops, malts, and yeast strains to achieve a complicated mess.
I couldn't have said it better myself, because I didn't. Crouch did. Read the entire essay, "Death to Beer Cocktails" —on beer cocktails, collaborations, and beer styles— at his blog: Andy Crouch's BeerScribe.com.
The piece was originally published in BeerAdvocate Magazine.