Craft beer can be a confusing and, at times, damnable world, filled with the spectres of hipsters past, ridiculous definitions and the ever-present concern that you’re somehow doing it wrong.
I say, no longer! I will be Virgil to your Dante and show you the path of the true beer enthusiast.
In a savage, wild, gloomy forest, I have found you gone astray. The sun shines but it’s dark. Warmth is a familiar memory but never present. A heavy weight burdens your back, as acrid fog swirls around while you trudge through the seven woods of mass produced golden lager.
Dante, I offer that out there, there is something better. With eyes cast downward, you can hear faint screams carried on the breeze. Lo, a tap handle! Do you dare shed your weight?
Freed, it will be difficult to navigate the path ahead of you. The ferocious wind seeks to blow you down and the rain makes each muddy footstep a gamble but we must persevere, Dante.
Though the world around appears to comprise naught but bananas, passionfruit and barley, this is only an illusion. If you stray from the path, you will discover that the flora has been frozen; the sleet is relentless.
There are many like you here. They mill and lay around, confused as lost sheep. Unlike you, they lack a guide. Many will remain here for eternity, gnawing at pints and imagining their superiority over the imprisoned purgatorians. Is this freedom, Dante?
We must continue, lest we be trapped.
Though we have walked far and sacrificed much, we have but begun our journey, Dante. Passing downwards, ever downwards, the air grows heavy and the insects multiply.
Here in the mangroves, the forsaken fight each other on the surface for trinkets and badges, while the vanquished become sullen, lie gurgling beneath the surface, withdrawn into a black sulkiness which can find no joy in God or man or the universe.*
Acronyms of three letters were their guiding light. But as the sun illuminates, so it blinds. They seek bigger, better, bolder. In their search, they have lost their way and fallen into the swamp. Unable to see, they cannot remove themselves from the fetid stew of beer geekiness.
No, Dante, you cannot help them. We must row across. Through virtue alone will any of these wretches resume the path downwards, ever downwards.
We have marched far and now a vertical cliff face presents itself. Dante, I must be frank, we have moved beyond mere “craft beer”.
This is a place whose inhabitants’ palates are excited by only the most obscure and disagreeable of beers, at double strength and released in small batches. Hibiscus-coloured Flanders red ale, crayfish-infused saison and balsamic Baltic porter are their raison d’être. Bartenders unfamiliar with these styles are their bête noire and given a savage eye-rolling. The mere suggestion of buying a beer with wide distribution causes these people to have convulsions.
Pity them. Trapped in a narrow flaming tomb, they are unable to escape and unable to help the others. They are the craft wankers.
So very few make it out.
Yea, the suffering that you have witnessed is caused by desire. While their suffering will cause them to mature, like an overflowing kettle. But as the boiled over wort must be discarded, so must their desires be shed.
I see the this newfound understanding has a struck a chord. Your transformation into a Beerisattva is nearing completion.
Discussions of brewery size are tedious. What matters is the process.
Marketing and labels are irrelevant. What matters is in the bottle.
Imperial IPA is a rubbish style. What matters is balance.
This is beer enlightenment. Go in peace.
*Not to destroy your suspension of disbelief but this is a direct quote from Wikipedia.