Since When Did IPAs Become Dunks?

 

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First it was Jordans…

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Then it was iPhones…

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And now, it’s craft beer. (This was a line for Pliny the Younger just days ago at Haven Gastropub in Orange, CA)

Does beer really justify such hype? Obviously some beers are better than others, and some breweries release only handfuls of kegs of their product in a given month, quarter, season or even year. But should establishments take part in propagating such fanaticism for a product that most will only possess for a few minutes before consuming entirely, leaving you empty handed after a mere fraction of the time you just spent standing out in the cold waiting for the keg to be tapped? I don’t think so, and my reason is the product experience.

Take the two examples from earlier: Nike Air Jordans and Apple iPhones. The lines and camps that people occupy for what could be days at a time are a means to an end that takes place outside the walls of the establishment selling the product. When you get that pair of Jordans they’re yours to wear, display, inspire envy on Instagram, or do with whatever you please. They will long outlast the time you forfeited to be the flyest kid North of Grove St. Beer though, at the end of the day, is a comestible. Something you imbibe, enjoy for the moments you taste the hops and grains while dissecting the beer’s complexity.¬†Then your digestive system gets to work almost immediately, making that beer just a tale of hoppiness past. With this in mind, you should be able to savor those moments. Enjoy the beer, and the things that can help make beer great: good friends, a pleasant conversation, a silent moment of beer reverence, whatever brings you pleasure when it comes to enjoying any fine food or drink. So why then, would you want to cultivate an environment where “standing room only” begins to sound like an understatement as you try to weasel your way through the huddled masses for a $9 pint that you clutch like a running back on the goal line, because there are a mass of other burly beer dorks with the exact same aspirations?

The craft beer movement is something extremely significant, and I think we lose sight of that from time to time as we’re trying to just keep up with who’s doing the best sour, how many infusions you’ve done with your porter, or how many points that new IPA received on Beer Advocate. Craft beer has revitalized the sense of American heritage and pride in a wholly American product. At a time where both the national and global economic climate continue to depress and frustrate us, craft beer has renewed that “American Dream” we all used to talk about so much. The pubs, bars, and restaurants that recognize and carry craft beer should be doing so because they believe in a quality product that compliments their own efforts towards providing better offerings for their community.

Why choose hype then? Sure, it gets people talking when you have a line around the block outside your bar at 10AM. It’s a great feeling to see all of your Foursquare check-ins and Twitter mentions when people are excited to get their hands on a sought after product at your establishment. Is that why we got into this in the first place though? The modern technology age has bred a population that craves being the “first” at something, or short of that, at least “cool” enough to see or have the next best thing before anyone else. Unfortunately that line of thinking has infected proprietors and operators, so they feel they have to hold “launch events” for beers, when they know by doing so they’ll never be able to meet their crafted demand, and therefore create a scene.

When you buy a pint of beer, you’re buying the time you’re going to spend drinking that beer as well. For my money bringing the feeling of an outlet mall on Black Friday to my favorite bar isn’t worth it.