Yesterday morning, I began skimming The Social Medias over coffee when an article titled “Against Hoppy Beers - Hops Enthusiasts Are Ruining Craft Beer for the Rest of Us” appeared on my Twitter doorstep like so much flaming poop in a paper bag. I knew it was going to be trollbait when I saw that headline, but the bait was too strong. I read it. And as I did, my blood pressure rose, the sarcastic quips and exasperated rebuttals soon piling up in my mind.
Normally, I just forget about this sort of click-bait “journalism” after a few minutes. The article — by Adrienne So, appearing on Slate.com — was intended to get people’s attention, to get people talking, and it succeeded at that. Here I am, hours later, taking the time to write out this rebuttal. But this particular article bugged me more than most of the sloppy beer journalism that’s sloughed off by big mainstream publications, who typically assign wine writers to elaborate on beer styles they don’t even enjoy. Maybe these lazy articles are just building up over time — a crust of stale, uniformed laments. But in this case, from an author who says that she likes hoppy beers herself, it’s not just the laziness or ignorance of brewing techniques that bothers me: it’s the missed opportunities. Where there was an chance to open dialogue about why people like what they like, Adrienne So’s Slate piece instead enters a bizarre, misguided blame game. It starts right there in the title: Hops Enthusiasts Are Ruining Craft Beer for the Rest of Us. And so the message seems to be: You should feel bad for liking what you like so much, because not everyone likes it. Sadly, this is the common thread with many of these articles. Rather than admit their tastes are simply different from others, writers too often try to cast their preferences as some fault of the thing they don’t enjoy. If only IPAs tasted more like fermented grapes…
Let’s peel back each layer of why this is so ridiculous, one by one.
Brilliant. Everything that I wanted to say in my own blog post, but didn’t have time to write.