Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Shut up, Joe.

This is how not to write an opinion piece.

In the Wall Street Journal.

Sometimes a man has to admit something about himself that he really does not want to admit. That's the way I feel about craft beers. When the topic gets around to craft beers— which it inevitably does—I am left completely out in the cold. I have no idea what Tröeg's Mad Elf Ale tastes like. I couldn't tell Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA from Ommegang Rare Vos if my life depended on it. Is Golden Walrus Imperial Pilsner brewed in Delaware, Prague or Loch Ness? You got me.

That's 'humorist' Joe Queenan in a 9 November 2012 piece entitled Foaming at The Mouth About Craft Beer.

Queenan calls this craft beer palaver "kraftbierkulturkampf." That's clever. That's fair enough. I've had 'barristas' at coffee shops stare at me with blank faces when I've merely ordered a cup of coffee, without employing patois modifiers. But, then, Queenan writes this:
It doesn't help that I don't drink.

I switch now to addressing you directly, Mr. Queenan. Correct, it doesn't help that you don't drink. In fact, that's a whopping non-sequitur. You're using a (formerly?) internationally respected journal to rant without informed basis.

Here's how Alexander D. Mitchell IV —blogger at Beer In Baltimore— expressed his disdain:
I shall take this guy about as seriously as you should take a vegan's criticism of steakhouses, a non-smoker's critique about cigar smoking, a non-sports-follower's pronouncements about the Orioles/Redskins/Ravens/etc., or an illiterate person's dissertations on literature, all for the same reason.
(quoted, with permission, from Mr. Mitchell's Facebook page)

For your edification, Mr. Queenan, the difference between a beer snob and a beer lover, shall I say (or a coffee snob or foodie, for that matter), is that the first is a boor, while the latter is an appreciator of the beer and a student of the topic.

For your edification, Mr. Queenan, the business of craft beer is booming. Percentage-wise, it's far outpacing the growth of 'corporate' beer, and, in fact, is at a much healthier pace than that of the rest of the economy. Might that be a reason for the increase of 'craft-beer' talk, which vexes you so?

Write about what you know, sir; don't insult that which you don't investigate, or seemingly don't care to. If the guy on the stool next over is prating on about a beer, switch the subject. And, for heaven's sake, please spare us your sneering, misplaced reverse-snobbery.
I think craft-beer mania has replaced golf as something that conniving executives dreamed up.

Well, Mr. Queenan, craft beer is a poor choice of vocation for avarice. There are few wealthy craft brewers; I write of what I know. A better choice for "conniving executive" might be Mr. Carlos Brito, the man who runs AB-InBev, the maker of Budweiser —a beer he has cheapened— which is the very beer that you offer as anodyne.

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