Drunken Speculation

MR | Second Edition, February 2014 – Breakfast Beer Week

702px-Wassily_Kandinsky,_Improvisation_27,_Garden_of_Love_II,_1912._Exhibited_at_the_1913_Armory_ShowLast week on Drunken Speculation, I compared Dogfish Head to the taming of Oxhead and ammo pined for a beer we found in Manhattan.

It was a pretty godawful week for us, both at home and at work. Usually, we manage between the two of us and the blog goes on unaffected but we couldn’t quite get there. The biggest casualty was The Session post. I had originally intended to modify it to make it more my own but to do that takes lots of time and Plutarch’s work has withstood the ages, so the bar was set pretty high (which was not helped by beerisyourfriend also alternatively reviewing a Dogfish Head beer).

To make it up to you, dear reader, ammo is going all out this week with Breakfast Beer Week. Following in the footsteps of last year’s Crazy Cellar Clearout Week, the idea is to do food and beer matching with breakfast meals. It comes with all the usual Culinalery trimmings, including the recipe and beer matching notes. While I’m not a huge fan of starting the day with a beer, it is sometimes warranted and the awesome breakfasts coming up this week should give you some tips for the next time you have a brew with the first meal of the day. Stay tuned!

To the Tweet(s) of the Week:

(Luke elaborated on his position in the latest episode of his podcast – 140 characters is not enough to have a nuanced discussion)

Another week of intentional controversy for Brew Dog. I’m not 100% sure what to make of it, other than they’ve adopted an Underpants Gnome-esque business strategy of:

  1. Make beer
  2. Brand controversially
  3. ????
  4. Profit!

Brew Dog are riding the wave of anti-homophobic sentiment around the Winter Olympics and Russia’s persecution of gays to make a stand and, no doubt, a quid.

Brew Dog – Hello, My Name is Vladimir

The sick, twisted legislation brought about in Russia that prevents people from living their true lives is something we didn’t want to just sit back and not have an opinion on. Our core beliefs are freedom of expression, freedom of speech and a dogged (no pun intended) passion for doing what we love. Thus, we are donating 50% of the profits from this beer to charitable organisations that support like minded individuals wishing to express themselves freely without prejudice.

Some were in favour:

250 Beers – #NotForGays

The Scots say on their website “This beer is our first foray into controversy with a cause greater than our own”.

In a stern, middle-fingered salute aimed at Russian supremo, Vladimir Putin, BrewDog have released a beer to highlight his antiquated views on same-sex relationships. As a genius piece of marketing craftiness the 8.2% double IPAHello, My Name Is Vladimir includes Limonnik berries which are supposed to assist performance in the bedroom.

Others not so much:

Unfocused Brewing – Sod off, Valdimir #NotForGayRights

The marketing blitz is just taking an obvious – & hardly new – gag about Putin’s homo/hetero/macho posturing; using a hashtag that’s not really ironic enough (just makes me think of Yorkie bars “Not for Girls” campaign); and throwing in a bit of “we’re doing this for charidee, so splash your cash”.

Well, you’re not. You’re doing this for profit.

I hope the irony of telling Brew Dog to sod off about this particular beer is not lost.

I suppose I can get on board with profits being given to charities, although it would make more sense if the charities were actually named. At the same time, I can’t help but feel that this is a publicity stunt for Brew Dog’s benefit (and bottom line) more than anything else. Using the suffering of people to sell your product is pretty crass, especially as the pink branding and ‘fruity’ taste of the beer are lazy stereotypes in themselves.

There are some people who it will offend and some for whom it won’t. It would be easy to succumb to the Nirvana fallacy and suggest that there’s an outcome that will satisfy everyone, but we seem to have passed the point where simple quality is sufficient to get a foothold in the beer marketplace. Now you’ve got to be kind of a dick about it too.

Irrespective, some good will come of this if the beer sells sufficiently well. I still don’t know if I’d buy it. On a somewhat related note, Why is the Gayest Sport in the World Stuck in the Closet?

In other news:

SBS Comment – Craft beer exists so guys who don’t drink wine still get to be pretentious

‘Listen, that beer you are drinking is like all commercial beers, they have no taste, its mass produced piss.’

This is a signal to the craft beer drinker’s friend to join the conversation and help lecture you. Crafties tend to travel in pairs or packs, knows as ‘Slabs’ across most of Australia and ‘Cases’ in NSW, and they are much like the SkyWhale –  a bunch of gassy tits that are full of hot air.

Judging by the comments, this didn’t go down too well. Contrary to popular opinion, beer is not serious business (unless it gets political) and not seeing the lighter side of this shit-stirring is antithetical to the supposed values of the beer community.

Australian Brews News – No Stone for Australia After All

After a week’s discussion, John Latta from ExperienceIT has announced that he won’t be able to bring Stone in, for now.

John advised:

…After discussions with folks on the Stone team and the green light being given that we would move forward, it came to light that internally some of their communication had broken down which had then flowed through to us. Stone is extremely embarrassed as such an internal communication gaff of this sort has never happened before…

The Beer Nut – Beer Among the Berbers

Inside it feels more like a down-at-heel canteen or café than an hotel bar, however lacking in swank said hotel may be. The furniture is shabby and mismatched, the lighting severe and the walls in serious need of a coat or two of paint. Threadbare curtains are kept drawn lest the decent citizens outside be scandalised by what goes on within. There’s a distinct feel of speakeasy about the clientèle: a few young chancers here to catch the TV football results, and an ever-changing group of elderly gents, coming and going, exchanging gossip and tutting at the general ways of the world.

Beervana – When Naming Goes Awry (Follow-up)

This whole thing is pretty mystifying.  I applaud Hop Valley for the apology, but the whole business about saying the name never existed is odd.  If you click through those links, you’ll see a lot of evidence for it.  And if it never existed, why is Hop Valley apologizing, exactly?  And what’s a street name?

The Australian – Grog culture means no culture at all

During the export boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s, we saw a wave of vineyard planting: thousands of hectares of the wrong grapes were planted in the wrong places. Now, in the middle of a cider boom, we have an army of wannabe cider moguls clambering onto the apple and pear bandwagon, dollar signs flashing in their eyes: quickly fermenting cheap apple juice concentrate, water and sugar and banging out a new brand every couple of weeks, every one almost indistinguishable from the last – and equally bland.

Other highlights:

Anything I missed?

5 comments

  1. Hey – I elaborated on my tweet on our latest podcast.

    Would love to get your thoughts on our discussion if you have a chance to listen. It’s up on my site now.

    • I haven’t gotten through the whole podcast yet but did listen to the Brew Dog bit on my lunch break. It sounds like you and I largely agree to the point that some of the talking points were scarily similar to what I wrote.

      Ultimately, I’m not inclined to buy any Brew Dog beers (I’ve only bought a can of Punk IPA in the past) because of their shoddy marketing (UnEquity for Punks, etc). In such a crowded marketplace, it helps to have any reason to make purchasing decisions easier.

      Also, will add a link to your podcast above.

  2. My decision to have the guy in that Sessions post reviewing a Dogfish Head beer was so totally an attempt to pander to my US readers by including a beer they’d recognise. I’m so shameless when it comes to getting web hits.

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