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Friday, March 10, 2017

Call it for what it is.

This keeps happening. The newest entry in the roll call of ‘craft’ folly is a brewery in Massachusetts ...

set to release its new Belgian-style ale featuring an unexpected ingredient: Cap'n Crunch Berries breakfast cereal. The craft beer industry is no stranger to flavor innovation: many others have borrowed from breakfast food favorites to come up with new beer recipes. Stouts, for example, have been used as a cereal beer base in multiple brew concoctions such as Black Bottle Brewery's Count Chocula milk stout or Big Time Brewing Company's Breakfast Cereal Killer Stout. However, for [XXX] Brewing, a lighter beer was a more natural flavor choice to pair with the fruity cereal.
Beverage Daily (9 March 2017)

No, this is not a Belgian-style ale. Like an evidence-empty Trumpian tweet, that’s a specious claim of Belgian provenance when none such exists.

No, this is not innovation. A brewer uses her toolkit to suggest flavors and aromas. That's called skill, and art, and, yes, craft-manship. But this thing —like a cartoon character's trompe-l'œil, pulling away a frame to reveal that a landscape painting is actually the landscape itself— this Cap'n Crunch junk-food ‘beer’ is a reductive forgery, devoid of innovation.

No, this is not ‘craft’ beer. What it is, is:
Corn Flour, Sugar, Oats Flour, Sugar Brown, Coconut Oil, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Soybeans Oil Partially Hydrogenated, Flavors Natural & Artificial, Strawberries Juice Concentrate, Malic Acid, Maltodextrin, Corn Starch Modified, Niacinamide Vitamin B3, Iron Reduced, Zinc Oxide, Yellow 5, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride HCl, BHT, Preservative, Riboflavin Vitamin B2, Folic Acid Vitamin B9

What is a ‘craft’ beer? I don't have a facile definition. And neither does the [U.S.] Brewers Association, which only defines ‘craft’ brewery, not ‘craft’ beer.

But I do recognize a ‘craft’ beer when I see it. And this is not a ‘craft’ beer.

No; call it for what it is. Gimmick. Pandering. Crap.

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  • Another example, from an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (2 March 2017) entitled, “How Girl Scout cookies and craft beer pairings became the next big thing.
    One thing you have to give craft breweries credit for is the creativity in the way they imagine flavors and bring those to fruition in their beers. You have craft brewers who are doing everything from loading their tanks and conditioning their beer with donuts to one in Oregon that sealed the tank with blueberry muffins to add the flavor to the beer. There is boundless creativity within the world of craft brewing itself and that is one of the primary drivers that makes this whole thing interesting.
    —Jamie Bogner (editorial director for Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine)

    “Creativity in the way ‘craft’ breweries imagine flavors and bring those to fruition” might be one thing. But, no, far from deserving credit are ‘brewers’ who toss donuts and blueberry muffins into brewery tanks: that act is a puerile farce, bereft of real imagination or brewster’s skill. And, by the way, pairing Girl Scout cookies with beer might be a lark, but it is NOT, by any stretch of a writer's imagination, the “next big thing.”
  • Or this example: "To swindle, cheat, hoodwink, or hoax." Craft?. Or this 'craft' beer bar silliness: here.
  • Nutritional(?) information for Cap'n Crunch Berries from Food Facts.com.

  • For more from YFGF:

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